HR Management··10 min read

Human Resource Planning: The Ultimate Guide

Human Resource Planning: The Ultimate Guide

Have you ever wondered how a company decides exactly how many people to hire, what skills they should have, and the best time for them to join?

That's where human resource planning comes into play.

Today, we'll explain what it is, why it's important, and how to do it.

As a bonus, we'll share some of the best tools to make HR planning easier.

What is human resources planning?

Strategic human resource planning involves a company figuring out:

  • how many people they need,
  • what skills they should have,
  • and when they should join the team.

They look at things such as company goals and what's happening in the market to decide.

Then, they fill any gaps by hiring new staff or training current workers. It's all about putting the right people in the right place at the right time to help the company grow.

Why is the HR planning process important?

human resource planning

The HR planning process is key for any business wanting to stay ahead.

Let's break down why you should pay attention to it.

Efficient forecasting

Forecasting is predicting what you'll need in terms of staff in the future.

The HR planning process helps you estimate how many employees you'll need to meet your business goals.

This way, you're never short-handed or overstaffed.

Resource allocation

Resource allocation is assigning the right resources, including human resources, where they are needed most.

Strategic human resource planning ensures that every department has the right number of qualified employees to operate properly.

Talent acquisition and retention

Finding and keeping talented employees is the way to any company’s success.

With a proper plan in place, HR professionals can understand the skills the company needs and develop strategies to attract and keep these skilled individuals.

Cost management

Managing costs cannot be overlooked.

Effective human resources planning can be useful when controlling costs.

This is done by hiring and training staff strategically, avoiding unnecessary expenses by retaining current employees, as well as planning for the future.

Adaptation to change

Change is constant in business.

The HR planning process lets your company adapt quickly by preparing in advance.

This might involve training existing employees to take on new roles or hiring new talent to meet evolving business demands.

The human resource planning process step by step

Now that you know how big of a piece in the puzzle human resource planning is, let's get down to something more practical.

We've prepared a 7-step guide on how to plan human resources in your company:

Environmental analysis

In this initial step, you take a broad look at the outside factors that could influence your workforce.

Key areas include:

  • Economic conditions: These refer to the overall health of the economy where your business operates. Are jobs plentiful, or is unemployment high? Economic swings can affect how easy or hard it is to recruit and retain employees.
  • Technological changes: Technology impacts how industries operate. Staying updated on technological advancements helps you anticipate the skills your workforce needs to stay competitive.
  • Legal issues: This involves understanding employment laws and regulations. Laws may dictate everything from hiring practices to benefits and can vary by region. Keeping on top of legal changes makes your business comply with the law and avoid costly penalties.

Internal analysis

Next, you should do a detailed examination of your current workforce:

  • Skills assessment: Start by cataloging the skills that each employee brings to the table. Are there emerging technologies or new market demands that your current staff can't meet due to a lack of necessary skills? Identifying these gaps early allows you to plan for targeted training or hiring.
  • Strengths and weaknesses: Evaluate the overall strengths and weaknesses of your workforce. Which departments excel and which ones struggle? Understanding this can help you make strategic decisions, such as where to allocate resources or which areas might need restructuring.
  • Employee feedback: Gather input from your employees about their work environment, job satisfaction, and where they see room for improvement. This feedback will let you identify hidden issues that may not be immediately apparent from a top-down perspective.

Forecasting human resource demand

Moving forward, it's time to predict the future needs of your workforce in terms of both quantity and quality.

Here’s a quick how-to:

  • Project business growth: Start by estimating how much your company is expected to grow in the coming years. Will new markets or products require more staff? Understanding your business's trajectory helps you anticipate how many new employees you might need in the future.
  • Analyze skill requirements: Evaluate what skills will be necessary to meet your business goals. For example, if you're planning to adopt new technology, you might need employees with expertise in that area.
  • Consider turnover rates: It's also important to account for the natural turnover within your company. Employees may retire, resign, or move to other roles, which can affect your staffing levels. Thanks to forecasting these changes, you can plan recruitment and training more effectively.

As a result of forecasting human resource demand, you align your staffing strategy with your business objectives. This way, you have the right people with the right skills at the right time - no more inefficiencies and disruptions in your operations.

Identifying gaps

After forecasting your human resource demands, the next task is to identify any gaps between your future needs and what your current workforce offers.

This involves:

  • Skill gaps: Look for discrepancies between the skills your future projects will require and what your current employees possess. For instance, if your business is moving towards more digital solutions, but your team's tech skills are lacking, that's a gap that needs addressing.
  • Staffing levels: Assess if your current staff numbers will meet future demands. If you're planning to expand operations or launch new products, you might find that you currently don't have enough hands on deck.

Tip: Use detailed skills matrixes and workforce analytics tools to systematically evaluate and document these gaps. This will provide a clear visual representation of where enhancements are necessary.

Developing action plans

Once you've identified the gaps, it’s time to develop targeted action plans to bridge them.

Here's how you can do it:

  • Recruitment strategies: If you need more people or specific skills, create a recruitment plan targeting the kinds of talent that align with your future business needs. Consider which roles are critical and prioritize hiring for those positions.
  • Training programs: Develop training and development programs to upgrade the skills of your current employees. This not only helps close the skills gap but also boosts employee engagement and retention.
  • Workforce adjustment: Sometimes, aligning your workforce with business goals might mean making tough decisions like staff reductions or restructuring teams to better fit the company's strategic direction.

Tip: When developing action plans, consider using scenario planning to imagine various future states of your business. This approach can help you create flexible strategies that adapt to different possible outcomes.


Implementing your action plans is where strategy meets reality. You put into practice the recruitment, training, and retention strategies you've developed:

  • Hiring: Start by rolling out your recruitment strategy. Make your job postings clear and reflective of the exact skills and qualities you're looking for. Use both digital platforms and networking events to attract a wide but relevant audience.
  • Upskilling: Launch training initiatives that are specifically designed to address the skills gaps identified. Make these programs accessible and engaging to encourage active participation from your staff.
  • Retention strategies: Implement retention measures such as competitive compensation, career development opportunities, and a positive work environment to make your employees feel valued and motivated to stay.

Tip: Use project management tools to keep track of implementation processes. Regular check-ins and updates will keep every part of your plan on track and any issues will be addressed swiftly.

Evaluation and adjustment

After implementation, the last stage is to evaluate the success of your human resource strategies:

  • Monitor outcomes: Regularly review the outcomes of your recruitment efforts and training programs. Are your new hires meeting expectations? Are employees improving after training?
  • Feedback loops: Establish channels for employee feedback to gauge satisfaction and effectiveness from the ground up. This can provide insights that might not be visible through performance metrics alone.
  • Adjust strategies: Based on the evaluations, make necessary adjustments. If certain strategies aren't working, tweak them or try new approaches. The business environment is always changing, and your strategies should be flexible enough to adapt.

Consider setting up a dashboard that tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) related to HR activities. This can provide a real-time snapshot of how well your HR strategies are performing and quickly highlight areas needing adjustment.

The best tools for human resource planning

Alright, you know the ins and outs of the human resource planning process.

But do you know how you could supercharge it?

The answer lies in tools.

Check out these top solutions that are extremely useful when it comes to the workforce scheduling process:

Time tracking apps

human resource planning apps

What do they do:

Time tracking apps monitor how employees spend their work hours. This makes it easier to manage workloads and improve productivity.

Who should use them:

Any business that wants to enhance efficiency and make employees manage their time well should use these apps. They are especially useful for teams with remote or flexible work arrangements.

The best pick: Unrubble

the best human resource planning app

Are you looking for a solution to streamline your HR processes and boost productivity across your teams? Unrubble is here to revolutionize the way you manage time, and make your human resource planning more strategic than ever!

Precision time tracking: Unrubble's cutting-edge time tracking features let you capture every second of billable time with ease and accuracy. From the seamless mobile time clock with face recognition to real-time timesheets, managing your team's hours has never been easier.

Smart scheduling: Say goodbye to the chaos of manual scheduling. With Unrubble, scheduling is not just made easy - it's made smart. Automatically generate schedules, send instant updates, and make changes on the go.

PTO tracker: Planning time off doesn't need to be a headache. Unrubble's PTO tracker simplifies how you handle vacations, WFH days, and business trips.

Employee Self-Service App: Motivate your employees with a tool that speaks directly to them. Our app allows staff to manage their time, request days off, and check their schedules anytime, anywhere.

Optimize your human resource strategy: Unrubble not only helps with the hiring process and tracking skilled employees but also aligns with your strategic human resource planning. Our tools integrate smoothly into your existing systems, supporting your strategic human resource plan and boosting overall efficiency.

hr planning

Don't just track time, manage it like a pro with Unrubble. Start unrubbling for free today and experience a boost in productivity and collaboration that will propel your business forward.

Human resource information systems (HRIS)

What do they do:

HRIS manage employee data and automate HR processes such as payroll, benefits administration, and compliance. They make operations smoother and reduce administrative burdens.

Who should use them:

HR professionals looking to improve strategic human resource planning and reduce time spent on administrative tasks should use HRIS. They're suitable for all sizes of organizations.

Good picks:

BambooHR, Zoho People, and Gusto are well-regarded for their robust features and ease of use.

Workforce planning software

hr planning tool

What do they do:

This software assists in predicting future staffing needs, planning for employee development, and managing risks related to workforce changes. It supports strategic human resource planning.

Who should use them:

Businesses that want to align their workforce strategy with company goals should use this software. It's ideal for HR professionals responsible for long-term planning.

Good picks:

Workday, SAP SuccessFactors, and Oracle HCM Cloud offer tools for successful workforce planning.

Talent management software

What do they do:

Talent management software helps with hiring, onboarding, performance management, and succession planning. It simplifies processes to retain and develop talented employees.

Who should use them:

Organizations looking to nurture and retain top talent through effective employee retention strategies should adopt this software. It's essential for HR teams focused on employee growth and satisfaction.

Good picks:

LinkedIn Talent, Cornerstone OnDemand, and TalentLMS are known for their extensive features that support talent acquisition and development.

Skills assessment and gap analysis tools

hr planning software

What do they do:

These tools evaluate the skills of current employees and identify gaps that could impact organizational goals. This data is needed for targeted training and recruitment.

Who should use them:

HR professionals and managers aiming to improve team capabilities and address skill shortages should use these tools. They're particularly valuable for companies undergoing technological upgrades or strategic shifts.

Good picks:

Skillsurvey, GapJumpers, and Thomas International offer precise assessment capabilities to help optimize your workforce according to strategic needs.

Wrapping up

So, there you have it - the nuts and bolts of human resource planning, all laid out.

It’s not just filling chairs - it's plotting a course for your company’s future.

With each step carefully planned, you’re setting the pace.

Whether it’s by using the power of the latest HR tools or mastering the art of strategic planning, the future of your workforce looks bright.

Your company’s next chapter starts now!

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