A company requires both physical and human resources for its operations. The human resource is the greatest asset that an organization can have; without it no business transaction can take place. It ensures that the business is run in the right way, and thus determines the current as well as the future state of the business. Great leaders or managers are the ones that are able to combine available strengths and weakness for the good of the organization. How well the human resource is sourced, developed, and retained in the organization is the work of management (Smith & Mazin, 2004). Human resource development involves various continuous steps for its success. These continuous activities will always start with human resource planning, this will take an analysis of the current needs of the organization as well as the future needs in terms of the numbers and the expertise required. To have a winning team, organizations should put in place elaborate programs for hiring, training, retaining, and redeployment of its staffs. This report will analyze the ways that an organization could plan for its human resources; it will briefly talk about other aspects of human resources development. We will also consider how Mezirow’s theory affects the planning of human resource development.
Human Resource Planning
The need for human resources planning may not be readily accepted. However, an organization that does not plan for its human resources may find that it is not meeting either its personnel requirement or its overall goals effectively. For example, a manufacturing company may hope to increase productivity with new automated equipment, but if the company does not start to hire and train employees to operate the equipment before installation, the equipment may remain idle for weeks or even months (Bowen & Schneider, 1988).
Human resource planning (HRP) is an attempt to forecast how many and what kind of employees will be required in future and to what extent this demand is likely to be met. It involves the comparison of an organization’s current human resource with likely future needs and consequently, the establishment of programs for hiring, training, redeploying and possibly discarding employees (Werner and DeSimone, 2006).
HRP may be defined as that practice that assists in attaining sufficient human resources with the sole aim of accomplishing organizational ends. HRP helps ensure that there is the right number of employees at the right time, at the right place, and the right cost.
Steps in Human Resources Planning
- First determine/establish an organization’s objectives. An objective is an end result that an organization is aiming at. This could be, for example to increase sales by 10%, increase production or reduce costs by a given percentage and so on. Most objectives cover products, markets, and methods.
- Derive the demand for labour required to achieve the stated objective. This is done through projection of demand. Some of the methods used include regression analysis and correlation analysis.
- Compare the demand for and supply of human resources, that is, both internal and external supply.
- Lastly, establish programs for hiring, training, recruitment, redeploying, and possibly discarding employees depending on the results obtained above. That is, where the demand is greater than the supply, recruitment or hiring programs should be established (Milkovich & Phillips, 1986).
Characteristics of Human Resources Planning
Human resource planning is future oriented. It involves looking forward or forecasting the future needs of an organization to meet a given objective in terms of human resources.
HRP is a continuous process because the demand for and supply of human resources frequently change. HRP is dynamic and hence there is need to review and revise the plan. HRP has both quantitative and qualitative aspects. Quantitative means the right number of employees and qualitative means employees with the right skills.
The basic purpose of HRP is to make an optimum utilization of organization’s current and future human resources. This maximizes the investment in human resources. It is necessary to relate future human resources to future needs of the organization (Dyer 1982). HRP involves the study of manpower environment that influences the demand for manpower and its supply. In addition, it involves the study of manpower utilization.
Human resources planning could be long term or short term. Long term plans cover a long period of time and could be five years or more on the basis of trends in the economy, labour markets, and production. These reflect management thinking on the organization structure, business environment, and personnel policies. Short term manpower plans cover time periods ranging from one year to less than five years (Bana, 1988).
Objectives of Human Resources Planning
The main objectives are as follows:
- To ensure optimum utilization of human resources.
- To forecast future requirements for human resources.
- To integrate the human resources plan with the organization plan.
- To establish ideal management development programs.
- To meet growth and program expansion needs.
- To evaluate human resources (in terms of excess and scarcity)
- To predict the technological impact (on work and human resources).
- To determine levels of technology changes.
- To approximate human resources cost as well as workers housing wants (Niehaus, Schinnar, & Walter, 1987).
Importance of Human Resources Planning
Failure to plan for human resources is planning not to achieve organizational goals. Putting in mind that human resources are the most unique in the organization and are most important among other resources, it’s therefore essential to plan for them.
The following are the advantages that accrue to organizations that plan for their human resources (Davis & Associates, 1986).
HRP aids in proper utilization of human resources. Since it saves employees time, and with the right skills, this eliminates idleness. Idleness is a cost itself and therefore, idleness eliminated is a cost reduced.
Labour shortfalls and surpluses are avoided since HRP ensures that there is the right number of employees as the organization may require achieving its goals. Cases of corruption in form of “ghost workers” are rarely reported in organizations whose management undertakes HRP honestly and seriously. Careful consideration of the likely future human resources requirements could lead the firm to discover new and improved ways of managing human resources.
HRP helps the organization create and develop employee training and management succession programs. Training programs ensure that the right people are trained at minimum cost. Management succession programs eliminate unfair promotions. This programs therefore reduce both management and employee conflicts.
Through HRP, management is compelled to assess critically the strengths and weaknesses of its labour force and personnel policies. Collective actions are therefore taken to correct the weaknesses (Wenger, McDermott, et al.2002).
Duplication of efforts among employees can be avoided since HRP in a way ensures coordination, and integration of workers’ efforts.
Some of the problems of managing change may be foreseen and consequences mitigated. Consultations with affected groups and individuals may occur at an early stage in the change process, decisions can be undertaken unhurriedly and by considering all relevant options, rather than being taken in crisis situations. Through human resource planning, an organization is able to adhere to equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy through analysis of the different employees it has. The organization is able to identify areas in which it is biased in employing.
In general Human resource planning helps an organization achieve its overall short and long term goals (Thow, 2005).
Why it is Important for Organizations to Plan for Their Human Resources
There is need to plan for every resource in the organization. Human resources in particular should be given attention because of the following reasons;
- The current employment situation is changing frequently. Demand for and supply of human resources is dynamic. This calls for all organizations, big or small, to plan for their human resources.
- Technological changes call for competent and skilled employees. Organizations should therefore plan for recruitment and selection to ensure that their employees match the current technology.
Most organizations operate in a turbulent environment. This requires a change in an organization’s structure to fit into the environment. Other factors that call for HRP are: demographic changes, hiring costs, increased mobility and shortage of skills (Rigg, Stewart, et al 2007).
Guidelines for Making Human Resources Planning Effective
- The human resources plan should be made in the light of the overall organizational plan.
- Appropriate time horizon should be allowed. The plan should score a great percentage of top management support.
- A good information system should be maintained, that is, adequate database should be there to support the plan.
- Relevant groups should participate in laying down the plan to reduce resistance
- The costs of the plan should not exceed the benefits of the plan
Let us touch briefly on other elements of human developing that come after planning;
Selection and Recruitment
The recruitment and selection of appropriate staff are the foundation of any quality-conscious firm. In the past, professionals were recruited on the bases of technical criteria such as qualification, experience, and membership of appropriate association. Although these criteria are still important, technical skill are only a part of the overall service delivery, which also include functional criteria such as marketing and business skill and the ability to foster client relationship (Arvey & Faley, 1988). The customer centred firm should take into account all these criteria and consider recruitment as the first stage of retaining loyal, well-motivated and happy employees. Technological changes call for competent and skilled employees thus organizations should plan for recruitment and selection to ensure that their employees match the current technology. During the interview, the panel should ensure that they learn the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. This will assist them in making the final decision (Bowen & Schneider, 1988).
Training and Development
A professional employee, like any other member of staff, has a limited set of skills which require continual upgrading in the phase of changing market demands and technology. Only by updating these skills using well developed programs, can professional firms ensure that they equip their staffs with the skills needed to respond to future business expectation. The management should ensure that employees are well motivated; highly motivated employees are more productive (Swamson, 2009). The employee must be appraised appropriately to enable the human resources department to establish the areas that need to be improved. Those who have attained the expectations of the management should be rewarded accordingly.
As the employees meet the organization’s expectations, it is important for the organization to realize that the employees also have their targets that they want met. This is the stage that many employees think of looking for another job if the current job is not satisfactory. The human resource department must come up with measures that are aimed at retaining the employees. One of these ways is to make the working environment as comfortable as possible. Remuneration and reward of employees are other ways that can be used. By reward we mean that the efforts of the employee are recognized (Renckly and Renckly, 2003).
Mezirow’s Theory and the Human Resources
Mezirow, which is also referred to as Transformative Learning Theory is a presumption that is used to explain how adults learn and develop a different set of behaviour. According to the theory, the experiences that an adult has had in the past influence the kind of decisions that he is going to undertake. The past defines the attitude, the beliefs and the feeling that we have towards something (Mezirow, 1991). An organization is a set of adults who have had different experiences in the past. They have developed some attitudes as well as believe that can affect the way the organization is going to perform. The way you teach the employees, who are adults, on the current ways and business system will influence how effective the organization will be in adopting the changing environment. Let’s take a case of the invention of computers which replaced the tradition secretaries and clerks. This was in the initial stages in 1990’s. Today, it is almost impossible for an organization to run without computers. How does the human resource department introduce this technology to an organization which has undergone a loss of jobs in the past? The attitude that the employees will be having may hamper the automation (Taylor, 1998). The human resource now needs to understand Mezirow’s theory, of learning and develop appropriate approach. Organizational culture is the other way that beliefs and attitudes are developed. This is a set of belief that exists in an organization and determines how the employees interact with each other as well as how the workers respond to a certain situation. The culture like any other society defines issues and expected response to them. It is worth saying that the culture is not written down somewhere but it exists and controls the behaviour of the organization. There are some values that the organization holds, and for one to be seen as a “compliant” member of the larger group, you need to act in line with the expectation (Black 108). As individuals we have our personality that is different from others, the same happens with organization, they have an organizational personality that can be termed to as the organizational culture. As we grew we found ourselves with different personalities that were developed/ developing into us right from birth, they define who we are. The same happens with an organization. Right from the time it was established, there are some values, beliefs, behaviour and attitude that it initially took, as time goes the culture so adopted becomes part of the organization (Scort 151). A certain language is developed, signs and symbols start defining situation in the organization. As much as there is no set way of punishing those who don’t act in line, with the culture, it is self reinforcing. The culture after it has developed is very hard to change. The entire entity seems to have deep roots in the culture and anybody who goes against is seen as an outcast and don’t interact smoothly with the other colleagues. There are different issues of organizational culture and have different effects on the leadership of the organization as well as the conduct of the employee. Now we need the employees to learn a different set of beliefs, attitudes, and feelings (Cragg, Plotnikoff, Hugo & Casey, 2001).
Criticism of the Theory
The major critic of the theory is its assumption; the assumption that human beings are largely influenced by their past experiences. The theory does not look the other side of the coin that some human being embraces change and is willing to learn the new ways of doing things. Human beings are adjustable especially when the change is brought with the right approach. Some of the individuals are the elements of change and others are more than willing to test the invention made (Taylor, 1998). Today, the mobile technology is well adopted by the people in all sphere and the traditional wire phones are diminishing in demand. It is hard to imagine the world without the mobile phones.
The other critic of the theory is the belief that human behaviour is static. Human behaviour is dynamic and changes with time. This means that there are continued adjustments of the beliefs, attitudes, and feelings of human beings. This change is through a learning experience that is strong enough to change the behaviour of the individual in harmony. Generally I tend to agree with the criticizer’s who argue that what makes the difference is the approach that a learning exercise will take. The human resource must then be very tactful in developing the way they teach their employees new ways.
A successful human resources plan aids any organization in attaining its premeditated goals. An organization has to ensure that it has, at all times, the right number and quality of personnel necessary to attain its objectives. Organizations should put in place elaborate programs for hiring, training, and redeployment of its staff. However, a human resources plan can only succeed if it receives support from the top management.
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