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Workforce planning and talent management
Published on July 31, 2022 10 min
Other Talks in the Series: Key Concepts: Human Resources Management
My name is Professor Christine Cross and I work at the University of Limerick in Ireland. The topic of this presentation is Workforce Planning and Talent Management.
Do you know where you will be and what you will be doing in five years' time? For many of you, this will be a difficult question to answer. However, this is an issue facing most organisations. Their response will reveal a great deal about how their employees will need to be managed during that period. This is what we call workforce planning. Workforce planning is ensuring the right number of people with the necessary skills are employed in the right place at the right time to help deliver an organisation's short and long-term objectives. In many ways, the HR function is attempting to see into the future to help make decisions in the present day.
Workforce planning is an open-ended process. The planning process occurs in a continuous cycle and there are three key stages. The first is stocktaking and involves the identification of the factors that are likely to shape the operation of the firm. Two broad categories of factors are assessed. External factors and internal factors. There are lots of external factors that affect organisations and they can be very difficult to predict, such as the economic climate, the employment legislation and technological advancement. Internal factors are those organisational forces that impact the day-to-day running of the firm, such as the profile of the workforce. Are they young or are they aging? The conditions that people work in and team dynamics. Assessing the HR profile of the organisation is effectively taking a snapshot of the current staffing arrangements. The second stage of human resource planning requires forecasting both the supply of labour and the demand for labour. This is arguably the most difficult aspect of workforce planning. As the HR function is tasked with predicting how many employees will be required in the future, as regards forecasting the supply of labour, the organisation examines both internal and external sources. An important dimension of assessing the internal supply of labour is what the HR function describes as succession planning. This refers to the process through which a successor for a departing staff member can be found in a way that minimizes any disruption to the organisation. The third stage then is to develop action plans, implement the plans and assess them. When an imbalance occurs between the demand for and the supply of labour, the organisation is either faced with a labour shortage or a labour surplus. Where a shortage exists or is likely to happen, the firm has a number of options open to them, including recruitment, retraining or redeployment. A labour surplus typically requires the organisation to seek redundancies or to reduce the number of hours worked. Once the organisation has made their decision, the plans are set in motion. Given the turbulent nature of the contemporary business environment, plans need to be constantly monitored and adjusted. The final stage of workforce planning is the assessment stage, where the action plans are evaluated to determine the extent to which they have allowed the organisation to achieve its strategic goals.