Different scholars have defined workforce planning in many different ways. One of the simplest definitions describe workforce planning as the process of acquiring the right numbers of persons who possess the right qualities and competencies to fill certain jobs in the required time. Workforce planning has been interchangeably used with some traditional terms like human resource planning and succession planning.
As businesses strategize their operations and plan on their future goals, many issues come up and workforce planning is one of them. It is a dynamic topic, and it responds to environmental changes in an organization, both internal and external. There are four major reasons why organizations conduct workforce planning:
- To determine the number of workers that the organization will require in a new location;
- To find ways of retaining highly skilled and talented personnel;
- To manage effectively and economically downsizing programs;
- To determine the source of the incoming generation of managers.
How to Assess Staffing Requirements
The Staffing requirements of all organizations keep on changing every time. Organizations that do not conduct proper workforce planning find themselves frequenly in short of skills to carry out their operations. They will not be able to serve all their customers simply because they lack sufficient staff with the right qualifications, skills, and experience to do so. However, proper workforce planning calls for estimation of present and future staffing requirements of the entire business, which must take into account that employees might retire, technology may change altering the methods of working, hence forcing the organization to look for new skills and more staff may just be required to match the business or operational needs.
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Impact of General Employment Environment
The general employment environment consists of all factors that affect workforce planning in an organization both from within or externally. Some of the internal factors include budgetary constraints which limit recruitment; business expansion, which calls for more manpower; and other normal factors like retirement, which implies that there must be a replacement. External factors to be considered in workforce planning include political and legal issues regarding employment, labor supply, existing or forecasted wage rate, and inflation just to mention a few. These factors may in one way or the other limit or promote an organization’s plan regarding its workforce requirements. Internal factors tend to be within the organization’s control and can be manipulated to some extent to match the plan, but external factors are not changeable, and the only option thee organization has is to adapt itself to them.
Recruitment and Selection
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The recruitment and selection process begins with an organization deciding whether it will fill a certain vacancy. Once this is decided, the human resource department must undertake the following steps to ensure that the position is taken up by the most suitable person and not just the applicant with the highest qualifications.
- The first step is job description. There is a need to describe the functions or activities to be performed in the job, the qualifications, and experience expected from candidates, and to whom they will answer.
- A recruitment request form is usually filled and taken for approval to the manager in charge HR department.
- Advertisements will then be placed in one or more places depending on the organization’s policies attracting as many candidates as possible to the organization.
- Once applications are received, candidates need to be reviewed to establish a list of those who qualify.
- Interviews will then be conducted to select the best candidate for the position. Most organizations prefer to conduct several interviews, including telephone interview, written interview, and face to face oral interview in order to select a competent candidate with the best personality.
- Finally, after selecting the best candidate, the hirers offer him/her employment usually through an appointment letter