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Human resource planning

Firms need a workforce to produce their goods and services, but the number of employees required will vary over time with changing demand patterns, which in turn are influenced by a dynamic external environment. The success of a firm will be influenced by their ability to plan their workforce requirements. However, it takes time to recruit and train the right people for the job, so firms need to forecast requirements. This forecasting is the basis of workforce planning (or human resource planning).

In most organisations, the responsibility for workforce planning lies with the personnel (human resources) department.

There are often seen to be two sides to human resource management - a soft side (motivation etc) and a hard side (the quantitative aspects of workforce or human resource planning). These are summarised in the table below:

Soft side Hard side
Organisational culture Analysing needs of employees
Motivation Predicting future workforce requirements
Employee support Measuring/quantifying labour turnover
Employer/employee relations