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As you have learned from this chapter, human resource strategic planning involves understanding your company’s strategic plan and HR’s role in the organization. The planning aspect meets the needs of the strategic plan by knowing how many people should be hired, how many people are needed, and what kind of training they need to meet the goals of the organization. This section gives some tips on successful HR strategic planning.
Like many Fortune 500 companies throughout the world, IBM in India finds that picking the best prospects for job postings isn’t always easy. By using advanced analytics, however, it aims to connect the strategic plan, staffing needs, and the hiring process using a simple tool. The project was originally developed to assign people to projects internally at IBM, but IBM found this tool able to not only extract essential details like the number of years of experience but also make qualitative judgments, such as how good the person actually is for the job.Sridhar Chari, “IBM Automates Parsing of Resumes,” iStock Analyst, July 11, 2011, accessed July 11, 2011, http://www.istockanalyst.com/business/news/5283887/ibm-automates-parsing-of-resumes. This makes the software unique, as most résumé-scanning software programs can only search for specific keywords and are not able to assess the job fit or tie the criteria directly to the overall strategic plan. The project uses IBM India’s spoken web technology, in which the prospective employee answers a few questions, creating the equivalent of voice résumé. Then using these voice résumés, the hiring manager can easily search for those prospects who meet the needs of the organization and the objectives of the strategic plan.
Some of the challenges noted with this software include the recognition of language and dialect issues. However, the IBM human resources solution is still one of the most sophisticated of such tools to be developed. “Services is very people-intensive. Today, there is talk of a war for talent, but attracting the right kind of people is a challenge, yet unemployment is very high. Our solution applies sophisticated analytics to workforce management,” says Manish Gupta, director at IBM Research-India.Sridhar Chari, “IBM Automates Parsing of Resumes,” iStock Analyst, July 11, 2011, accessed July 11, 2011, http://www.istockanalyst.com/business/news/5283887/ibm-automates-parsing-of-resumes.
It is likely that this is only the beginning of the types of technology that allow HR professionals to tie their HR plans directly to a strategic plan with the touch of a few buttons.
Understanding the nature of the business is key to being successful in creating a strategic plan for HRM. Because every business is different, the needs of the business may change, depending on the economy, the season, and societal changes in our country. HR managers need to understand all these aspects of the business to better predict how many people are needed, what types of training are needed, and how to compensate people, for example. The strategic plan that the HR manager writes should address these issues. To address these issues, the HR manager should develop the departmental goals and HR plans based on the overall goals of the organization. In other words, HR should not operate alone but in tandem with the other parts of the organization. The HRM plan should reflect this.
The HRM department should operate in tandem with other departments to meet the needs of the organization.
Oftentimes a great strategic plan is written, taking lots of time, but isn’t actually put into practice for a variety of reasons, such as the following:
There is no point in developing a plan that isn’t going to be used. Developing the plan and then making changes as necessary are important to making it a valuable asset for the organization. A strategic plan should be a living document, in that it changes as organizational or external factors change. People can get too attached to a specific plan or way of doing things and then find it hard to change. The plan needs to change constantly or it won’t be of value.
A good strategic plan and HR plan should discuss the way “success” will be measured. For example, rather than writing, “Meet the hiring needs of the organization,” be more specific: “Based on sales forecasts from our sales department, hire ten people this quarter with the skills to meet our ten job openings.” This is a goal that is specific enough to be measured. These types of quantitative data also make it easier to show the relationship between HR and the organization, and better yet, to show how HR adds value to the bottom line. Likewise, if a company has a strategic objective to be a safe workplace, you might include a goal to “develop training to meet the needs of the organization.” While this is a great goal, how will this be measured? How will you know if you did what you were supposed to do? It might be difficult to measure this with such a general statement. On the other hand, a goal to “develop a safety training workshop and have all employees complete it by the end of the year” is specific and can be measured at the end to determine success.
What are some of your personal goals? Are these goals measureable?
It can be difficult to base an entire plan on forecasted numbers. As a result, an HRM department that is willing to change quickly to meet the needs of the organization proves its worthiness. Consider a sales forecast that called for fifteen new hires, but you find out months later the organization is having a hard time making payroll. Upon digging deeper, you find the sales forecasts were overexaggerated, and now you have fifteen people you don’t really need. By monitoring the changes constantly (usually done by asking lots of questions to other departments), you can be sure you are able to change your strategic plan as they come.
One of the major challenges in HRM, as we discuss in Chapter 1 "The Role of Human Resources", is having an awareness of what is happening from a legal perspective. Because most budgets are based on certain current laws, knowing when the law changes and how it will affect department budgets and planning (such as compensation planning) will create a more solid strategic plan. For example, if the minimum wage goes up in your state and you have minimum wage workers, reworking the budget and communicating this change to your accounting team is imperative in providing value to the organization. We will discuss various legislation throughout this book.