Human Resource Planning For A Competative Advantage

It’s well researched that an organisation’s success is largely dependent on the actions of the people within it. It follows then, an organisation with capable, committed, and forward-thinking employees is a force to be reckoned with. It also has a greater chance of staying ahead of its competitors. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why an organisation’s most valuable asset is its people.

In a globalised world with relentless competition and ever-increasing pressure to innovate while reducing costs, it’s never been more crucial to manage our assets as effectively as possible. Especially so for human assets, as wages are a business’ biggest expense.

In fact, strategic human resource planning is a proven competitive advantage.

So, if people are crucial to your business’ success, how do you attract, motivate and retain your best talent? Equally as important, how do we organise our people to maximise productivity and ensure we meet company goals? Finally, how do we make sure our employee practices run smoothly and remain compliant in an increasingly regulated business environment?

This is a daunting feat, but possible with a good plan.

More specifically, a good Human Resources Plan.


What is Human Resource Planning (HRP)?

Human Resource Planning is the process of determining how an organisation will meet business goals and customers needs through its people. It ensures the company has the right people with the right capabilities for the job while avoiding any shortage or surplus in capacity.

HR Planning covers all aspects of employee management, from hiring to training, and everything in between. More importantly, it gives a company the opportunity to properly address their IR employees’ concerns and make their job more satisfying.


Graphic of employee lifecycle designed by The Epiphany Group.PNG

A Human Resources Plan (HR plan) closely aligns with the overall business plan. However, the two are not the same thing. The HR plan aims to leverage human capital to respond to business challenges and achieve company goals. Therefore, it supports the business plan but doesn’t form part of it.

For an HR plan to be effective, the organisation needs to consider both internal and external factors. Organisations also need to analyse in-depth the business’ strengths and weaknesses. In other words:

1. What do your people do well, and what could they do better?

2. How do you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be?

3. What skills will you need, and how do you go about acquiring them?

4. Do you provide training for existing staff, or should you look to hire for new skills?


These are all important questions and should be considered within the context of the greater business environment in which the organisation operates.


Complying with Employment Laws through Policies and Procedures

Of course, the HR plan involves hiring decisions. However, it also involves developing many policies and procedures that are central to the functioning of a business. People are complex, and handling employee-related issues is complicated. Many businesses struggle when dealing with staff interpersonal issues. If sensitive matters are not dealt with quickly and decisively, they can develop into costly lawsuits that can be extremely disruptive.

Employers need to be aware of their compliance obligations around issues like bullying, harassment, diversity, inclusion, health and wellbeing. Therefore, the HR plan is put in place to maintain employee satisfaction and minimise employee-related disruptions to the business.

With so many variables, the HR plan should be constantly adjusted to respond to changes in the internal and external business environments. This ensures the HR plan remains relevant and hence positions the business well for success into the future.

Every business should prioritise their HR plan. In the words of billionaire resort magnate, Steve Wynn “Human Resource isn’t a thing we do, it’s the thing that runs our business”.


Our Six Top Tips for HR planning:


1. Determine your current talent pool

First thing’s first, it’s important to assess the skills and capabilities of your current staff. This will give you an accurate understanding of the manpower behind your organisation. If you don’t have a good idea of where you are now, it’s difficult to determine what’s needed to reach organisational goals.


2. Forecast HR requirements

It’s the HR department’s responsibility to make sure the organisation has the right people, in the right place, at the right time. The best way to achieve this is by carefully considering the future landscape of the organisation and pre-empting the needs in the coming months and years. Performing this step will help you to make a more educated decision when it comes to hiring new staff or training existing staff.


3. Integrate the HR plan with business strategy

As we’ve already established, the HR plan supports the business plan and overall strategy. The business strategy is important as it involves understanding the “why” for the business and establishes the goals for the future. As the HR plan involves all areas of the business, if the right talent is not positioned to achieve the organisational goals, the business plan will likely fail.


4. Create a strategy to meet the HR forecast

Once the HR forecast has been established, we need to determine how the organisation will meet the forecasted demand and supply of talent. The key areas of focus here are talent acquisition, retention and upskilling. Important factors to identify are the recruitment schedule, who will take charge of recruitment, what methods will be used and what the onboarding process will look like.


5. Set recruitment selection guidelines

It all starts with hiring the right person for the job. Selection guidelines should be carefully tailored to the vacant role, meaning potential candidates have the right experience and educational background and the interviewer asks the right questions.


6. Staff policies and procedures implementation

Management and staff need to be aware of the correct procedures to follow as matters arise during the course of business. For example, written documents such as human resources manuals and employee handbooks should be easily accessible for all relevant staff members. This encourages best practices throughout every department of the business and lowers the likelihood of legal issues arising due to a breach.


HR Planning is not a once a year set and forget exercise. It’s a critical part of an organisation’s success. HR Planning enables you to harness your organisation’s greatest asset and cost, and a key competitive advantage. How well you hire, onboard, manage and train your people greatly impacts your organisation’s ability to compete in the marketplace.