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Human resource planning – importance, goals, types

Published: · Last updated: · 14 min reading time

The success of a company stands and falls with its employees. A motivated staff is more critical than ever in demographic change and an increasing shortage of skilled workers. The main focus is on sensible and realistic personnel planning – for example, based on personnel planning software that facilitates personnel time recording. In the following, you will learn what personnel planning is, what goals it pursues, and what types.

What does personnel planning mean?

Personnel planning is an essential task of the human resources department. HR managers anticipate future staffing events to provide the workers needed in the company in the short, medium, and long term at the right place and at the right time. For this purpose, personnel requirements must always be kept in view – for example, with the help of personnel planning software. As a sub-task of human resources management and part of corporate planning, human resources planning occurs in several process stages: the determination of personnel requirements, the planning of personnel recruitment, personnel development, personnel deployment, and personnel release. For all these processes to succeed, comprehensive information about jobs, internal and external factors, and people must be included in the planning. This requires a well-developed personnel information system that complies with data protection regulations and requirements.

From procurement to distribution

Getting the numbers right is undoubtedly the goal of every company. To increase turnover and competitiveness, a valid and planned organization is needed. This also includes human resource planning, which plays a unique role in corporate planning. Taking into account the available resources and entrepreneurial interests, it keeps an eye on the organization of the staff. Personnel planning software can help, for example, by facilitating staff time recording.

Three keywords related to personnel are essential in personnel planning:

  • procurement,
  • administration
  • and distribution

Procurement is about finding enough employees for the open positions in the company. Administration refers to administrative tasks such as adjusting employment relationships or the drafting of employment contracts. Within the distribution framework, the available human resources must be allocated optimally.

Goals of personnel planning

As an essential part of corporate planning, human resource planning is of great value for the competitiveness of any company. After all, good employees make a not insignificant contribution to the efficiency and productivity of a company. Therefore, the goal of personnel planning is to cover the personnel requirements of a company as far as possible. This also includes personnel time recording, providing more transparency, and shortening runtimes. The overriding goal of personnel planning is to supply the right personnel at the right place and time. This leads to many secondary goals that must be considered and implemented. Most of these goals result from the individual needs of the departments. Accordingly, human resource planning concepts are usually developed with human resources, the respective department, and the company management. Thus, human resource planning can be an important sub-discipline of corporate planning.

From employee satisfaction to increased productivity

Human resource planning always aims to achieve an optimal staffing state that preserves both the goals of the company and the satisfaction of the employees. Since this target state is constantly changing, the measures of human resource planning must also be permanently adopted. In addition, many objectives of human resource planning are defined by the general corporate culture and management. How the planning measures are designed depends, for example, on whether a company relies on a loyal staff or a high turnover. The general corporate philosophy defines which basic strategy is pursued. The advantages of meaningful personnel planning are obvious: for example, the optimal allocation of employees to the right tasks can increase productivity in the company. Through continuous optimization, the ideal personnel target state can be achieved. For example, personnel planning software that facilitates staff time recording can help. As a result, individual employees work more efficiently and the entire company.

6 Types of Personnel Planning

In classical personnel planning, a distinction is made between six types: personnel requirement planning, personnel recruitment planning, personnel deployment planning, personnel adjustment planning, personnel development planning, and personnel cost planning.

1) Personnel requirements planning

Personnel requirements planning uses comprehensive analyses to determine the company’s target personnel situation. Future developments are also recorded.

2) Recruitment planning

Recruitment planning refers to covering deficits discovered in personnel requirements planning by procuring new specialists and executives. A distinction is made between external and internal recruitment: Internal recruitment has the advantage that it does not generate any further costs. Existing resources are merely relocated, which avoids lengthy recruiting processes. However, if there are not enough employees, external recruitment is necessary.

3) Staff scheduling

Personnel deployment planning deals with how existing personnel can be optimally deployed.

4) Personnel adjustment planning

Personnel adjustment planning decides how a surplus of personnel can be reduced in a socially acceptable manner.

5) Personnel development planning

Personnel development planning aims at the systematic qualification of employees through new tasks and efficient further training measures. Increased motivation and better qualifications help staff make a decisive contribution to the company’s success.

6) Personnel cost planning

Last but not least, personnel cost planning is responsible for determining which costs will be incurred through planned personnel measures. Based on personnel planning software that facilitates, for example, the recording of personnel time, all these processes can be implemented in a targeted and successful manner.

Human resource planning summary

Workforce planning as part of personnel planning

In personnel resource planning, also known as PEP for short, employees are assigned to specific areas to work. The positions to be filled, working hours, and work locations are determined for each employee. Personnel resource planning belongs to the site of human resource planning. The qualifications of the employees play a significant role in their assignment. The employees’ skills must meet the requirements of the position to be filled. Staff scheduling brings together the area and the staff resources that are needed. This determines whether the demand is sufficiently covered or whether new employees have to be recruited and personnel decisions made.

Types of staff planning

There are three types according to which staff scheduling can be classified:

1) Staff scheduling according to quality

Staff is assigned to jobs according to their knowledge, skills, and qualifications. Sometimes this also requires further training of the team. Qualitative staff planning aims to determine the need for appropriate training for the employee’s capabilities and future tasks in the new job.

2) Quantitative workforce planning

Quantitative staff planning ensures that the staffing needs for each position in the company are adequately covered. For this to be possible, the personnel requirements to be met are compared with the personnel available. It must be taken into account that new employees have to be hired and existing employees leave the company. From these decisions, further personnel measures can be taken.

3) Personnel scheduling under time aspects

There are many sectors where staffing needs depend on the season. For example, during peaks (e.g., in the harvest season in agriculture), higher demand for harvest workers. By scheduling personnel, such seasonal differences are taken into account and reacted to cover the personnel requirements.

What are the goals of staff scheduling?

Workforce planning has three objectives:

1) Determine staffing needs

Before decisions are made about staff, staff needs must first be determined. The company must take into account new hires and departures from the company and seasonal fluctuations and long-term absences due to illness, maternity leave, etc.

Recruit staff: New staff must be hired when employees leave the company; they are absent for a more extended period (maternity leave, illness, parental leave) to compensate for these types of absences. Therefore, personnel requirement planning is an important instrument, as well-qualified personnel must be considered and recruited at an early stage.

Laying off staff: When orders decline or a seasonal downturn is imminent, it may be necessary to lay off staff. Legal consequences and deadlines play a significant role in layoffs, and these must be taken into account early on in staffing needs planning.

Transferring employees: Employees in the company often undergo further training are then promoted and assigned other areas of responsibility. This can occur when a task area or position needs new tasks. This is where human resource planning can help, ensuring that the vacated position is filled. Care must be taken to ensure that staff has the appropriate qualifications and is available.

Use flexibly available staff: In the case of seasonal peaks in orders, during holiday periods, or for larger projects, the team must be available at short notice for a limited period so that these peaks can be absorbed. Here, too, staffing requirements planning comes to the rescue so that temporary needs can be met with quick and seasonal workers according to their qualifications.

2) Assign employees to the jobs that suit them

Especially in today’s highly technological times, companies need to retain qualified staff in the long term. To this end, employees must be shown prospects and offered opportunities for further training. Therefore additional training and qualification measures are an excellent way to ensure that employees remain satisfied and loyal. With personnel deployment and requirements planning, necessary means are available to plan such measures in the short, medium, and long term.

To fully utilize employees’ potential, their skills and strengths must be promoted.

People (and thus employees) need the feeling of cohesion, of being part of a team and working together to solve problems. This provides a great deal of motivation. Working together on a task or project and working towards a common goal creates a good feeling of solidarity among employees. If the scheduling is geared to team orientation, employees can be optimally divided into optimized teams for the customer or client.

3) Compare target planning with the actual situation:

Companies must ensure that their employees have sufficient breaks and free time and that the legal working hours are observed and not exceeded. To check this, target planning serves as an essential basis. Careful scheduling ensures that the legal conditions are adhered to.

What conditions must a personnel planning software fulfill?

With all the elaborate personnel planning, the software is indispensable. The software must therefore fulfill various criteria to be successful:

Reduce costs: The use of the software is initially always associated with expenses or effort for companies. The software has to be purchased or programmed, it has to be implemented, and employees have to be trained. The easier the software is to use, the faster the ROI (Return of Investment) is achieved, and the effort or use of the software pays off. Costs are saved in the long run. A healthy thought-out IT solution can save a lot of money:

  • The effort for planning is reduced to a minimum. In addition, the time required for planning activities is diminished immensely, which would otherwise be needed without software. This leads to higher productivity and positively affects time and money.
  • On the one hand, the (working) world is becoming more straightforward due to increasing digitalization, in which intelligent machines and clever IT solutions take away work. Still, on the other hand, it is also becoming more complex at the same time. Therefore, it is essential for employees if the daily work routine offers structure, planning security, and stability. Clear corporate communication and distribution of tasks thus ensured more effective results. This leads to positive financial development, as money is not lost.

Planning staffing needs: Staff must be deployed appropriately to meet the company’s needs. This is especially the case with seasonal fluctuations, flexible working environments, or events the company needs to react quickly. This is where personnel requirements planning provides valuable assistance. Increased sickness due to the season can also lead to increased staff absences. With the help of sophisticated human resources software, tendencies to such events from the past can be included and taken into account in current and future personnel requirement planning. This leads to better planning, which means that staff shortages are better absorbed.

Consider flexible working time models: People are increasingly working under calm conditions in more and more sectors. Either you are pursuing another job and your main job, or studying on the side. With personnel planning software, it is easier to react to these flexible fluctuations and thus to plan better.

Map several shift systems accordingly: In manufacturing companies, hospitals, the police, etc., multiple shifts where work is done in a 2- or 3-shift system are not uncommon. Good software must be able to map the different shift systems. If the shifts are stored in the software through templates, this helps with future planning. The functionality in the software that a change, once created, can be kept and updated every 2 or 3 weeks is a valuable and time-saving help for the planner. It is thus possible to plan for weeks, months, or a whole year through the software.

Manage holidays: In modern personnel planning software, employees can enter holidays directly and be approved or rejected by their respective supervisors. This leads to a significant simplification when supporting leave. Employees can view their colleagues’ registered holidays in the software and thus plan their holidays better so that there are no overlaps with colleagues. The supervisor quickly has an overview of the requested holidays of his employees and can check whether the employees’ holidays are possible or not.

Manage absences and absences: The planner has to reschedule at short notice in case of absences or absences. In the case of short-term absences, the software can help the planner quickly find a replacement for the absent employee.

What are the methods of staff scheduling?

Staff scheduling in a company can be organized using various methods. For this purpose, one orients oneself on trends, dependencies, opinions of experts, and important key figures. It should be noted that there is no THE method par excellence for personnel planning. However, four methods have proven their worth and are presented below:

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