What is human resource planning?

Human resource planning is the process of putting the right people in the right positions to meet your company’s goals.

Human resource planning is a valuable and necessary activity, but in our view, the problem is there’s no “go” flag. You don’t get a green light to get started—it’s a process you can start from Day One or begin at any time. That lack of a clear beginning means it may not ever get started! Thankfully for busy HR professionals, this fluidity is also the benefit of HR planning! There is no timeline you have to follow to get it right.

The point is, just get started.

You’ll never feel 100% prepared or ready–in fact, you may even feel like you’re chasing your tail—but don’t worry. As you continue through the HR planning process, you’ll begin to notice that your wins feel like intentional successes instead of mere good luck. Keep reading to find out more about what HR planning is, why it’s important, and what the HR planning process looks like.

What is human resource planning?

Officially, human resource planning (HRP) is “the continuous process of systematic planning to achieve optimum use of an organization’s most valuable asset—quality employees. Human resource planning ensures the best fit between employees and jobs while avoiding manpower shortages or surpluses.” (Investopedia)

HR planning is an indispensable practice for all organizations because it empowers businesses to proactively manage their HR function, anticipate future needs, and bridge skill gaps, ensuring organizations have the right people in the right positions at the right time.

With HR planning, your organization can have the optimal number of staff to make the most money for the company.

Benefits Of Human Resource Planning

Human resource planning benefits include the following:

The Human Resource Planning Process Circle

The Human Resource Planning Process Circle

The HR planning process is a loop—you’ll get to all parts in the cycle, but it may be easiest to begin with certain steps. Below we’ve identified each part of the circle, beginning with knowing your employees, which is where we recommend starting.

Know your company goals and objectives.

As you begin your human resource planning process, identify the company’s goals and objectives as well as what each department is trying to achieve. Some employers skip this step because they don’t have stated goals but we think this is a mistake.

From an HR perspective, it’s undoubtedly more effective to establish goals and then hire people who can execute them rather than the other way around.

Some examples of broad goals and objectives include enhancing operations, increasing company efficiency, expanding market share, and improving customer satisfaction. Once they’re listed and everyone is familiar with them, you can begin putting the right people in place, which leads to the next step.


We are striving to improve customer satisfaction, and we need a 24/7 call center to accomplish this goal.

Wish there was a way to reduce the burden and worries associated with HR management? Download this free guide to find out how a PEO can help.

Know your employees.

The purpose of human resource planning is to optimize the employees you have to help you reach your goals. To do this, you must know as much as you can about the people you already have working for you. This means you need to analyze your current human resource supply.


The call center has hired four part-time staff members. One is a high performer who has expressed interest in management.

The purpose of human resource planning is to optimize the employees you have to help you reach your goals. Click To Tweet

Identify current HR gaps & forecast future needs.

Once you’ve assessed your current employees, compare the people you have to the goals and objectives you identified to see what skills are missing and forecast your future needs. You may notice you have the employees you need currently, but pay attention to whether or not meeting current needs is enough to help you reach your goals.


The call center has only four part-time staff members to cover 10 hours, and HR has identified that this is a deficit—they need more people to reach their goal.

Create a plan to fill the gaps and execute.

Once you’ve identified any gaps, you can start putting the pieces together to reach your objectives. This often means increasing staffing, providing training, or changing roles for certain employees.


To fill the gaps, you could implement a recruitment plan to hire overnight staff, or offer training and development for the high achiever who is currently on staff.

If your four staff members all cover the same shift and don’t have the flexibility to change shifts, you could be overstaffed in this area, while still needing to grow your overnight team.

Review the effectiveness of your plan and begin again.

Once you’ve reached this point in the human resource planning process, review your plan and assess its effectiveness.

If it was successful, you can move toward working on a new objective; if not, begin again with the same goal, switching some of the variables to see if those changes help you meet your goal. Don’t feel dejected if you review your HR plan and find it’s not perfect—it will likely never be, which is why HR planning is an ongoing process!


Look at the changes made to identify whether or not they helped reach the goal of providing 24/7 service to your call center. Whether the answer is yes or no, the path you took will provide you a new goal to pursue.

Need help with HR resource planning?

Whether you’re new to the idea of HR resource planning or simply stuck on how to do it in a meaningful way for your organization, GenesisHR can help. With GenesisHR as your right-hand in HR planning, you’ll have a partner alongside you to help you through an ever-changing world of regulations and compliance, as well as a team of experts dedicated to helping your business thrive.

Contact us today to learn how human resource planning fits in with the comprehensive plan we provide our PEO clients, and how it may look for you.

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