Human Resource Planning

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Human Resource Planning
^ Brian J. Smith, John W. Boroski, and George E. Davis -

INTRODUCTION Human Resource (HR) planning is the formal process of linking business strategy with human resource practices. Approaches to human resource planning can be arrayed along a continuum ranging from an "add-on" to business strategy to a separate planning process (Figure 1). At one end of the continuum, HR planning is little more than a postscript to a business planning process. After engaging in an extensive business planning process in which business product, market, and technological directions are defined, questions about HR practices are raised. These questions deal with the structure, competencies, accountabilities, organization, and leadership required to make the strategy work. At this end of the continuum, HR issues are an afterthought to business strategy. They receive relatively little attention and become an appendage to business planning. In the extreme, line managers consider the HR questions as an afterthought to "real" planning efforts. At the other end of the continuum, HR planning is a distinct and separate planning process. The HR department not only initiates the effort for HR planning, but executes and administers the plan. In this case the HR plan is more a process for shaping priorities for the HR function than for the business. In extreme cases, HR plans are created with little or no awareness or input by line managers. While the outcome may be an elegant document, these isolated HR plans add little value to the business because they are separate from the business planning process. The real challenge of HR planning is to integrate business strategy and HR practices. In these initiatives, HR planning is an integral part of a business planning process. HR planning is engaged in by HR professionals working with line managers to ensure that the HR practices which can accomplish business strategy are identified. The outcomes of integrated HR plans are architectures or frameworks for how HR practices can be blended into business decisions to ensure results. Human Resource Management, Spring/Summer 1992, Vol. 31, Numbers 1 & 2 Pp. 81-93 © 1993 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. CCC 0090-4848/93/010081-13

AFTERTHOUGHT

INTEGRATION

ISOLATED

Focus on business planning with HR practices considered as an afterthought Line managers own the HR discussions with tangential involvement of HR professionals

Focus is on i synthesis of business and HR planning

Focus is on HR practices and how HR function can add value to the business HR professionals work on the plan and present it to lire managers

Line managers and HR professionals work as partners to ensure that an integrated HR planning process occurs Outcome is a plan which highlights HR practices which are priorities to accomplish business results

Outcome is a summary of HR practices required to accomplish business plans

Outcome is an agenda for the HR function including priority HR practices

Figure 1. Approaches to merging strategic and HR planning.

Obviously, the continuum in Figure 1 is an overstatement which highlights an integrated approach to HR planning; it calls for more models of and approaches to integrated HR planning. In this section, issues and processes necessary for doing integrated HR planning are reviewed. The following series of questions needs to be addressed to develop integrated HR plans: Who should be involved in HR planning processes, and how can they be encouraged to participate? • What are the steps or processes for integrated HR planning? What are the key concepts or integrating frameworks for accomplishing integrated HR planning? • What are the desired outcomes of an integrated HR planning process? What are the pitfalls and challenges of accomplishing integrated HR planning?

Two case studies, Colgate Palmoiive and Eastman Kodak, offer similar frameworks, but with different applications of those frameworks to integrated...
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