Top level executives are responsible for HR planning as it is one of the important factors influencing the success of an organization. The plans are usually prepared by the Human Resources division in consultation with other corporate heads. The responsibility and accountability for manpower aspects of various divisions is on their respective heads. They should undertake their own appraisals of future needs in such a way so as to provide a concrete basis for organization wide forecasting and planning. The Human Resources division must offer counsel and advice to various divisional heads and coordinate the various manpower estimates from time to time. Prof Geisler outlined the responsibilities of Human Resource Department in respect of HR planning thus;
1) Assist and counsel operating managers to plan and set objectives,
2) Collect and summarize manpower data keeping long run objectives and broad organizational interests in mind.
3) Monitor and measure performance against the plan and keep top management informed about it.
4) Provide proper research base of effective manpower and organizational planning.
The problems faced by human resource professionals while preparing or administering HR plans may be summarized thus:
Problems in HRP
Accuracy: Projecting manpower needs over a period of time is a risky one. It’s not possible to track the current and future trends correctly and convert the same into meaningful action guidelines. Factors such as absenteeism, labor turnover, seasonal trends in demand, competitive pressures technological changes and a host of other factors may turn the best of manpower plans not fashionable decorative pieces.
Support: Planning is generally undertaken to improve overall efficiency. In the name of cost cutting. This may ultimately help management weed out unwanted labor at various levels. The few efficient ones that survive such frequent onslaughts complain about increased workload . Support from management is equally missing on more than one occasion. They are unwilling to commit funds for building an appropriate human resource information system. The time and effort involved. With no tangible, immediate gains – often force them to look the other way
Numbers game: HRP, in the final analysis may suffer due to an excessive focus on the quantitative aspects. The quality side of the coin (consisting of employee motivation, morale, career prospects, training avenues etc) may be discounted thoroughly.
Effective Human Resource Planning:
A comprehensive survey of human resources planning practices in 45 companies covering a cross section of the manufacturing industry has indicated the scant attention that is being paid to human resources.
Human resource specialists have pointed out that fact the most Indian organizations do not have adequate records and information on human resources . Proper retrieval systems also are not available in most cases. The computerized personnel information systems unlike their counterparts in the western world do not play an important role in India. Even the current technologies and knowledge in respect of HR planning is not put to use optimally. Such practices, inevitably lead to ineffective HR planning.
To compound the problems further, there are unpredictable external influences on manpower planning such as changes in labor market conditions, technology market conditions, economic cycles, changes of social and economic values, political changes, etc. In such scenario it becomes difficult to forecast the personnel available with an organization at a future date. While vacancies caused by retirements can be predicted accurately other factors like resignations, turnover, deaths and competitive attractions are difficult to forecast. This problem becomes mainly acute in respect of important personnel (especially at the top level) because tier replacements cannot be arranged in a short span of time. At times, the top management support may not be available to the HR planning efforts .
Excerpts from HRM