WHAT IS PERSONNEL PLANNING? Personnel planning is an important development in human resourcesmanagement. It has spread rapidly to nearly every size organization in almostevery kind of business. The primary function of Personnel planning is to analyze and evaluate the humanresources available in the organization, and to determine how to obtain the kinds ofpersonnel needed to staff positions ranging from assembly line workers to chiefexecutives. Smaller companies put Personnel planning in the human resource orpersonnel department. Some of the largest corporations have established separatedepartments for this function.WHAT ARE THE PURPOSES OF PERSONNEL PLANNING? Personnel planning aims to reduce waste in employing people, lessen uncertaintyabout current Personnel levels and future needs, and eliminate mistakes in staffing. Its purposes also include avoiding worker and skills shortages, stopping theprofit-eroding effects of being over- or understaffed, preparing succession plansand shaping the optimum future work force by hiring the right managers, technicalspecialists and skilled workers in appropriate numbers.WHAT ARE THE TRENDS THAT IMPACT PERSONNEL PLANNING? A Personnel planner seeking to identify trends in human resource managementshould include the following variables: 1. The state of the economy. The larger the companys sphere of operations, the broader the spectrum of economic activity to consider. 2. Demographics. The age and sex groupings of the population and what may happen to them in the future. 3. Employee losses or turnover. How will retirements, deaths, promotions and resignations
affect the current number of individuals employed at every level? 4. New skill requirements. What new skills will be needed due to new technology markets or products? 5. Obsolescence of current skills and its effects. 6. The status and direction of materials prices. 7. The availability of materials--can they be cut off by uncontrollable events? 8. Technological changes. 9. Social changes. What effects do upgrading of educational backgrounds have on the willingness of people to take menial or other types of lower level jobs? 10. Labor costs. In which direction and how far will they go? What are the alternatives?HOW DOES A COMPANY ORGANIZE FOR PERSONNEL PLANNING? While Personnel planning does not require formation of an independentdepartment in most companies, it does require a manager or executive responsiblefor studying trends and for identifying and calculating Personnel requirements.The responsible person, who may have other duties in the company, must knowcompany policy and be acquainted with its long-range objectives. He or sheshould understand whats involved in training and career development, and shouldbe able to design career programs to improve basic capabilities, developprofessional competence and teach new skills. The Personnel planner must organize in the following areas: - Maintenance of a good data base of the organizations human resources.
- Acquisition, retention and career development of the companys high talent people, such as engineers, scientists, and key managers and executives. - Supervision of the design of various training programs. - Surveys of current economic and social conditions and their trends.WHERE DOES THE PERSONNEL PLANNER FIT INTO ANORGANIZATION? Companies with fewer than 100 employees usually assign the Personnel planningfunction as an additional duty to a specific executive, such as general manager,production manager or the personnel manager. Large companies employ aPersonnel-planning specialist and may create a separate department for thefunction. The position of the planner is not as important as the qualifications of theindividual. The task is advisory and investigative. Whoever runs the planningoperation is a staff rather than line person and will not issue direct orders to othermanagers.WHERE DOES PERSONNEL PLANNING BEGIN? Personnel planning begins with a clear understanding of the current Personnelsituation in the company. The first step is an analysis of current Personnel--numbers, skills and skill levels. The second is the creation of a skills inventory.HOW DO EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO PERSONNELPLANNING? Employment applications, when properly constructed, can help build a databasefor Personnel planning. Research starts with employment applications. The moredetailed the application, the more information the planner can gather.
From the employment application form, the Personnel planner can compilecertain information such as: 1. Number of secondary school graduates 2. Number of college graduates 3. Disciplines studied at colleges and types of degrees earned 4. Listings of prior work experiences 5. Listings of types of work desiredWHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN AN INVENTORY OFSKILLS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN A COMPANY? A well-designed skills inventory includes much information not directly relatedto on-the-job skills and performance. Include many kinds of information for thestart-up of Personnel planning. Your organization may grow, shrink or havechanging needs. Its easier to gather information at the beginning rather than to re-work it at a later date. Include the following data in your skills inventory: Name, address, telephone number Date of birth Current position Skill level Years (months) with company Education Marital status Dependents and their ages Salary history Seminars and training completed Disciplinary actions Date of retirement
Future assignments Future assignments (company planned) (employee preferences) Willingness to relocate Language abilities Restrictions on assignments Hobbies Published works Patents obtained Special qualifications Unusual combinations of high-level skills For each group of employees, gather as much information in your skillsinventory as possible. Some companies supplement the information gathered fromthe employment application by asking employees to fill out comprehensivepersonal history files after theyve been on the job for awhile. Add new items asthey seem necessary. Be sure to keep the inventory up-to-date as changes aremade. And in all cases maintain only that information permitted by federal andstate law.WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO DEVELOP HUMAN RESOURCE DATA FORFUTURE PERSONNEL NEEDS? Organizing the data requires a certain amount of cross-filing and tabulating. In asmall organization, this can be done manually, though a personal computer willserve to make organizing, updating and accessing data easier. Large companies use their central data processing systems to store humanresource data and write programs to accomplish tasks the Personnel plannerdesires. Among the data processing capabilities the planner should have areabilities to sort data relating to the length of service, pay grade, educational level,disciplinary background, marital status, and number of dependents. Otherclassifications are possible, especially when the data is gathered and stored bycomputer. The Human Resources Data Sequence Checklist (7-01) graphicallydepicts the data gathering and organization sequence.
HOW CAN OCCUPATIONAL CODES BE DEVELOPED TO HELP ORGANIZEAND ACCESS EMPLOYEE INFORMATION? An occupational code, which is a numerical designation for each type of job,focuses on the qualities of each individual and permits planners to see at a glancenot only the skills of each individual, but the level of competence and other data. Most planners do not need the precise designations of an occupational code thatthe government has devised, though you can use such a system if available.Usually, a simple alphabetical list of skills will serve the purpose of listingindividuals with the same qualifications under one heading. For instance, a partial listing might look like this: - Assembler, electrical - Assembler, mechanical - Machinist - Mechanic, fork lift - Operator, drill press - Operator, milling machine List the names of each person possessing a skill on the appropriate skill card, orstore on a computer. List those with combinations of skills, too.WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF TURNOVER ON PERSONNEL PLANNING? Turnover creates unnecessary expense and reduces efficiency. Productivitydrops. When a planner identifies high turnover in a specific department, thequality of training and supervision in that department should be looked into. As apart of the human resources function, the planner would contribute to the decisionon what steps should be taken to remedy the turnover situation, such as training,pay and incentive improvements, and the like. The human resources managerwould then go to management with the problem of turnover and make thecombined recommendations.
Its also important to determine exactly why workers, supervisors or managersleave. Every departing employee should have an exit interview and your companyshould maintain a record of the reasons for leaving. You should ask individualswho quit to fill out an Exit Interview Attitude Survey. Plans to reduce turnover are an important part of a Personnel planners job. Thesuccess in the task of reducing turnover goes a long way to insuring that acompany has the right number of persons with the right skills to fulfill thecompanys needs and make it a successful organization.WHAT USES DO PERSONNEL PLANNERS MAKE OF TURNOVERFIGURES? Planners use turnover figures to pinpoint departments where turnover isoccurring and to discover its causes. For instance, the planner may find that poorsupervision is an important cause of turnover. If so, he or she can take steps tohave something done about the quality of supervision in the affected area. Age is also a factor in turnover. Older employees tend to be more stable thanyoung workers. Overqualified employees are very unstable and entry levelworkers are likely to quit soon after they are hired. Among executives, a high turnover rate among the younger ones often indicatesthat something is wrong with the way the company manages its careeradvancements. Personnel planners should bring these matters to the attention oftop management with recommendations for corrective actions.HOW DO CHANGES SUCH AS AUTOMATION AND COMPUTERIZATIONAFFECT PERSONNEL PLANNING? When planners examine company records, they should learn whether theintroduction of new machines, methods or materials have altered the numbers ofpeople with certain skills. Such information is important for forecasting futurerequirements. If the introduction of a computer-controlled machine, for example, results in theelimination of machine operators, these skills should be eliminated from the
inventory of needed skills. They should be replaced, of course, with those neededto run the computer-controlled machines and with specialists skilled in electronicmaintenance. As planners uncover such changes and trends, they can concentrate on the newskills needed and no longer consider those that are not. Turnover figures alsoaffect training programs. The planner examines them to find out how well orpoorly such programs are serving the companys objectives.WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PERSONNEL PLANNER IN CAREERPLANNING? The Personnel planner usually has a distinct advantage over other managers andexecutives when it comes to career matters. It is essential for successful executionof the job that the planner be very clear and up-to-date about the organizationsobjectives. The objective of career management from the companys viewpoint is to ensurethe availability of qualified successors for every important position. Managers andsupervisors want to get ahead, earn good salaries and gain new opportunities. Onlyrarely can these individuals clearly define what getting ahead means to them. The planner, though, knows what sort of person should be in a specific job, or asa backup for a specific person. Through skillful career guidance, the planner hasthe leverage to encourage supervisors and managers to prepare for advancement.HOW DOES THE PERSONNEL PLANNER PREPARE FOR FORECASTINGFUTURE PERSONNEL REQUIREMENTS? Practical Personnel forecasting should generally be limited to five years or less.Society and technology change too rapidly to permit accurate forecasting forlonger periods of time. The planner begins by studying the companys operational plan in detail todetermine its objectives regarding: - Capital investment in buildings and new machinery
- Proposed changes in product design - Proposed introductions of new products - Changes in materials to be used - Changes in sales volumes forecast In addition to these major influences on future Personnel requirements, theplanner considers turnover rates, retirements, internal promotions, and effects ofimproved supervision. He or she must also consider the learning curve, that is,how long it takes for qualified personnel to reach full output after any changeshave been made.HOW DOES THE PERSONNEL PLANNER ESTIMATE THE NUMBERS OFPEOPLE AND THE SKILLS THE COMPANY WILL NEED? Estimates of the companys economic activity, usually prepared in the marketingor budgeting area, form the basis for the planners calculations. He or she firstdetermines the relationship between how many and what kinds of people thecompany requires to produce the current volume of product. There is not a linear relationship between increases in volume and Personnelrequirements. An increase of 50 percent in annual production will not necessarilyrequire a 50 percent increase in managers. It might, though, require a 50 percentincrease in entry-level workers, depending upon their productivity levels. The Personnel Requirements Planning Form--Short Term, is used by planners toestimate the numbers of people and skills a company will need within the nextyear. The Personnel Requirements Planning Form--Long Term, is used for periodsbeyond one year. When using the worksheet, a planner discusses actual needs withvarious managers. He or she also gets input from top management. The plannerenters on the worksheet a consensus, tempered by personal knowledge andexperience, of everyones best estimates. Forecasting high-level personnel needs is directly related to the accuracy of thecompanys plans, particularly its long-range ones. The planner must makeallowances for promotable individuals within the company, as well as the need torecruit managers from outside.
Requirements for high-level personnel do not appear as quickly as for productionpeople. The business can grow substantially before it becomes necessary to createnew areas which require managers or new divisions or groups headed by generalmanagers. A planner must take these lags in the timing of personnel requirementsinto account.WHAT ROLE DOES THE PERSONNEL PLANNER PLAY IN SUCCESSIONPLANNING? Every company should have a succession plan that identifies a qualifiedsubordinate who is ready to replace each key manager or executive. While theplanner has no authority to select successors, he or she should, with the help of topmanagement, prepare a succession chart that does name subordinates who can stepup when a superior departs. The Succession Chart (7-05) should, of course, be kept strictly confidential.Advance publication is likely to demoralize managers who find themselves passedover. The names above each job title are the incumbents. The names below the lineare the prospective successors. A more complete chart would extend further toshow the succession at more levels, especially in a large company. To be useful,the succession chart must be kept up-to-date.HOW DOES PERSONNEL PLANNING HELP COPE WITH SKILLSHORTAGES? Rapid advances in technology cause serious mismatches between the jobs thatare available and the number of people with the necessary skills to fill those jobs.In addition, rising levels of education have brought with them rising expectationsamong employees at all levels. As a result, some workers will not accept trainingor positions that they believe are not beneficial to their careers. By analyzing tasks, the Personnel planner often finds that a company is notachieving maximum efficiency in its use of a certain type of talent. Some jobs areheld by individuals who have more advanced skills or training than is needed.Sometimes the task can be done by a lower-level worker, rather than, say, a
university educated employee. The planner should bring this situation to theattention of managers who have the authority to make the necessary changes andthus relieve what seems to be a skills shortage. Another approach which the planner might use would be to redesign jobs.Reducing boredom and monotony, and increasing comfort, often increasesproductivity. As a result, positions for which skills are in short supply may notrequire more personnel, as more productive and skilled individuals produce more. One company, faced with a shortage of skilled warehouse workers, builtautomated warehouses. That reduced the number of workers needed whileincreasing efficiency in the warehousing operation. Other options include findingmachines that can do the work; breaking down skilled jobs into less skilledcomponents; or modifying the product to eliminate the need for the skill that is inshort supply.WHAT IS INVOLVED IN ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL REGARDING APERSONNEL PROGRAM? The planner must monitor the system on a continuing basis to ensure that it getsresults. Your Personnel planner will benefit from clearly expressed interest in theprogram from top management. Such recognition gains cooperation throughoutthe organization. Whatever actions are taken in Personnel planning that affect the skills orexperiences of workers, office employees, supervisors or managers, must berecorded. All such data must be made part of each individuals personnel record.They must also be entered on the planners skills inventory. Only when this is donecan the planner know the nature and number of personnel and skills available. Regular reports from department heads play a part in administering the Personnelplanning program. Information the Personnel planner should receive on a regularbasis includes: - Absentee rate - Turnover rate - Hard-to-fill jobs
- Names of exceptional individuals and their skills - Requests for training programs - Individuals who have been trained in certain skills but are not working at the skill in which they are most proficient Monitoring the program allows the Personnel planner to compare what wasplanned with what is actually happening. Thus, monitoring provides an importantform of administrative control.