The Human Resources Plan documents and details the initiatives and tasks required to achieve the Human Resources Strategy. The Human Resources Strategy links into the Business Strategy, which outlines the long term direction and goals of the business.
Most businesses will schedule annual planning sessions and planning days for their business. A time is scheduled to review the business and set high level, short and long term goals to achieve business success. This information can also be used to determine how the Human Resources Strategy will support the business in achieving these goals. But, it is critical to also develop a Human Resources Plan as part of business goal setting and planning.
Human Resources needs to be a part of every aspect of a business; making it essential to include as part of business planning sessions.
Before the Human Resources Plan can be developed, a business needs a human resources strategy. There are a number of essential steps in the set up of a human resource strategy so it aligns with the business strategy and links in with the business’ goals.
The steps involved are;
- have a clear direction for the business, outlined in the Business Strategy
- have a clear Business Plan that documents the initiatives and tasks required to achieve the above business strategy
- understand the human resources values of the business,
- audit of the Human Resource function across the five categories of the employee lifecycle, and
- Develop a Human Resources Strategy that addresses the long term people requirements of the business to support the business strategy and plan
The final step in the process is to develop the Human Resources Plan, which documents and details the initiatives and tasks required, across each of the employee lifecycle categories, to in return, achieve the Human Resources Strategy, and links into the overall business strategy and goals.
Develop a Human Resources Plan
Once a business has its human resources strategy, the business needs to develop and document a human resources plan.
To develop a plan the business needs to start by breaking down the initiatives and tasks outlined in the human resources strategy and includes timeframes, budget and allocate responsibilities. Some of the areas to include in a plan are:
- An overview of the current business and plans for the future
- An outline of the human resources strategy
- Detailed action planning of the human resources strategy
- Consideration of the organisational implications
- Outline possible contingencies
By including each of these items in its Human Resources Plan a business will be able to achieve the Human Resources Strategy and goals of the business.
An overview of the current business and plans for the future
To be able to plan for the future direction of a business it is important to understand where the business is currently at. This section of the human resources plan will provide a summary of the ideal customer and an assessment of the industry, taking into account any emerging trends or advancements and legislative changes. It will include some high level financial data and demographics around the current employees as well as identifying some short and long term goals of the business.
An outline of your human resources strategy
A human resources strategy addresses a business’s long term people requirements needed to achieve the business strategy and plan.This section of the plan will provide high level information about the human resources objectives. This may include, review branding with a goal to promote your unique conditions of employment, growth or expansion of a product, service, location, or building the capabilities of current and future workforce through targeted training.
The section will also provide some details around what capabilities the business currently has and what the business needs to be able to meet the business objectives. This will also include an outline of what types of roles the business needs based on the type of capabilities. It should take into account what roles the business currently has, what roles might be required and if a business needs to increase or decrease how many people in these roles.
Once the business needs and the types of capabilities and roles required to support the future direction are determined, the business can assess if current employees meet the requirements of the business now and into the future. This may result in some training requirements, recruitment or even redeployment of some employees.
Detailed action planning of the human resources strategy
To develop a Human Resources Plan, the business needs to break down the initiatives and tasks outlined in the human resources strategy.
In this detailed action planning section, list each activity and then assign time frames including milestones and completion dates, outline budget requirements (if any) and allocate responsibilities to individuals or teams. It can also be helpful to identify what indicator or result will need to be met before this activity is considered a success.
For example, the strategy might be that the business wants to be an employer of choice. The plan and activities associated might be to gather information; research competitors, assess the business and gather information on options, workshop ideas; ask employees and stakeholders for input, vote on the options and come up with the final list and communicate; draft the content, determine who to communicate with internally and externally and how to communicate it – company website, job advertisement or company handbook. This is just the start of the process, but provides a sense of what is required.
Consider the organisational implications
With any proposed changes as a result of the Human Resources Plan, there will be organisational implications. In this section of the plan a business should assess each stage of the plan to see how it will affect the business, and list them down. This includes going through financial data to determine if plans can be covered by existing funds or if additional finances are required. Consideration will also need to be given to current resources to determine if there is enough to cover requirements, including technology; phones and computers, plant and equipment; vehicles and machinery and possibly a new office building or location to accommodate additional desks. Also there might be a requirement to upskill or cross skill employees to meet the change in requirements.
Outline possible contingencies
The next step after a business has outlined any implications is to outline possible contingencies to support the business objectives if things don’t go to plan. What if you are unable to obtain the necessary funds, is there the opportunity to introduce additional income streams, reassess cost structures of products and services, increase the number of clients or apply for external grants and loans. What if a business is unable to obtain the necessary resources, is there the opportunity to look into outsourcing or contractors for a period of time to test out a new concept or until there is traction and the idea starts paying for itself. What if a business is unable to provide training to all of its employees, is there the ability to have a phased roll out or a soft launch in the interim.
Human Resources is a part of your business
In conclusion it is important to align business goals with the business Human Resources strategy and plan, to help the business achieve success. While Human Resources requires having the right policies and forms in place, Human Resources is more than that. It also needs to be a part of every aspect of a business to support each stage.
Planning human resources should be an ongoing business activity. As the market conditions and a business change, it will need to revisit many of the ideas and strategies outlined in its plan. By referring to the plan regularly, it will ensure that a business keeps heading in the right direction.
Contact Small Business Society for help in setting up your Human Resources strategy and your Human Resources plan.
The information provided in this document is for your guidance only and is general in nature. It does not constitute as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek legal advice where required.
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About Kate Tongue
Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.
She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.
Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.
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