Any business activity is essentially conducted through organized efforts between multiple groups of individuals. All organizations need to have sufficient and necessary resources available to them at the right place at the right time to ensure that they deliver on the intended and defined organizational objectives. In this process manpower resource planning becomes a crucial business activity for organizations of all sizes, yet we see they are far from being successful.

Why Manpower Planning

World economic forum estimates that the impact of technological, demographic and socio-economic disruptions on business models will be felt in transformation to the employment landscape and skills requirements, resulting in substantial challenges for recruiting, training and managing talent. Several industries may find themselves in a scenario of positive employment demand for hard to recruit specialist occupations with simultaneous skills inability across many existing roles. The need to anticipate and address these issues of skill imbalance in a timely manner is an important function, if not done properly it may cause significant economic and social cost for businesses, individuals and economies.

Manpower resource planning hence becomes a very critical and important component of the overall business strategy for most businesses. More and more businesses are looking at ways to re-skill their existing employees while also identifying latent talent pools and also exploring opportunities for making their employer brand more attractive to potential hires. With new technology skills coming in short supply, many organizations are struggling to identify and attract individuals with the right skills thus emphasizing the need for a strategic manpower planning process to address these challenges.

Key Components of Manpower Planning

Firstly companies need to assess the current capacity in terms of quantity and quality. Developing a skill inventory and aligning employees to projects based on these skills would be a good starting point. Here the organization can get a sense of current and future projects and necessary skill sets required and also get a very clear sense of skill sets that are currently not available and the timeline in which they need to be acquired. This exercise of mapping existing employee competencies to projects will ensure that you are also optimizing the utilization of existing resources and are thus able to make decisions about what skills to hire and what skills to cross train. This also ensures that you are better able to leverage existing resources by allocating them to multiple concurrent activities.

While this step will allow you to prepare your demand forecast, its equally important that you link this with your supply forecast. Here your recruitment data from past can come to help you where you can analyze if you have hired skills required in future in the past and test some of the assumptions built into your project deliverables to determine their validity. Here you can re-calibrate the timelines required to hire new resources with identified skill sets and even decide on specific sourcing and hiring actions that you need to thus plan to attract and hire relevant talent.

Once you have mapped employees and their competencies you can also determine dependencies between various activities to ensure that everyone is aware of what they have to do and by when. This will ensure that you are always on top of the resource utilization and hiring related actions. By mapping the employees competencies with project deliverables you can thus track actual time utilized by the resource on the project against the budgeted time thus giving you a clear visibility on the productivity and utilization of resources. This information can then be used to further calibrate future talent development and hiring actions.

Continuous review and evaluation of your data and assumptions will ensure that your manpower planning is always current and is changing as per changing business realities. An effective and efficient manpower planning process allows you to make decisions based on data and this becomes a very important and critical aspect of your ability to derive strategic value from this activity.

Benefits of Manpower Planning

Manpower planning is a systematic and integrated organizational process designed to proactively plan for talent supply and avoid shortage or over supply. For this process to work effectively and efficiently HR needs to be aware of the cyclical nature of their business and the organizational commitment to its future plans. By making the manpower planning work HR and business leaders can ensure there are no surprises to the employees and also to the businesses ability to execute on existing and future projects. Any surprises in the talent supply side have a long term negative effect on various aspects of organizational processes and may even hamper the overall company brand image and perception amongst its customers and employees alike.

An ill designed or executed manpower planning process can mean the organization will suffer from decreased productivity, ineffective and costly recruitment and high employee turnover.

In order to thrive in the competitive global environments businesses need to put manpower planning as a key component of their growth strategy. Companies can no longer remain passive consumers of readymade human capital. They need a new mindset to meet their talent needs based on both short and long term business objectives.