Manpower development is a subsection of a larger human resource strategy. It goes hand-in-hand with HR objectives that focus on maximizing human capital potential to achieve strategic business goals. You might hear manpower development referred to as HR development. Regardless of the term, the intended outcome is the same. Manpower development is a continuous and often fluid process. The duties vary according to the current and future needs of the business.

HR Forecasting

Forecasting duties help HR determine future manpower development needs by creating estimations of both demand and supply. The first step is to forecast demand by estimating the number of employees required to achieve strategic business goals, determining which jobs will need to be filled and what skills employees will need. Demand forecasting techniques focus on analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. Specific duties, however, depend on factors such as the size of the business and whether or how much historical data is available. Supply forecasting attempts to match the knowledge, skills and abilities of current staff members to demand forecast estimations and in this way sets the stage for creating effective manpower development programs.

Strategy Development

After HR has demand and supply forecasts in hand, duties shift to focus on strategy development. There are multiple ways HR can approach the “what” of manpower development. In-house options may include a mix of restructuring, formal training and collaboration strategies. Deciding on a mix that best suits the business starts by identifying knowledge and skill gaps between where the business stands and where it needs to be. Duties then shift to identifying manpower-development strategy options and comparing available options against training requirements.

Manpower Development Action Items

Action items constitute the “how” of manpower development. While specific duties depend on the strategy HR decides best suits business needs, they can include restructuring, such as regrouping tasks and reorganizing work units to make better use of current employee’s skills and abilities. They can also include duties related to creating and implementing formal in-house training programs or informal programs such as on-the-job training through a mentorship or a cross-training program. If the business doesn’t have the resources to conduct formal, in-house training, duties can also include investigating training opportunities online or through local educational institutions.

Strategy and Program Evaluations

HR must regularly evaluate itself and the employees participating in training to assess whether manpower development programs are as effective as they can be. Duties include setting program and employee performance benchmarks, conducting performance and progress reviews, and collecting performance-related data. Changing economic conditions, business requirements and available training options mean strategies and action steps must remain fluid and continually open to change.