Planning Your Manpower Needs
Your small enterprise has great potential to transform itself into one of those big successful corporations provided you are able to manage your business effectively and efficiently today while anticipating your expansion requirements for the future. Your company’s longevity and viability depends on your ability to maintain an appropriate number of employees with the right skills, knowledge, capabilities and attitude to support your envisioned growth.
To plan for the future, your company needs to ask the following questions:
- What are my company’s future business requirements?
- Given the identified future requirements, is there a need to recruit new employees or will training current employees be sufficient to support future growth?
- What knowledge, skills and capabilities should employees possess to perform effectively on the job?
- Will the benefits of HR planning exceed its cost?
Future business requirements
Determining your company’s path to growth requires you to visualize where your company is headed five to ten years from now. Do you see your business landscape changing and do these changes bring growth and market expansion opportunities? If so, you need to perform an analysis of the changes that your company will go through over the long term in order to identify how your company will benefit from those changes and which areas of your business will be most likely be affected. This analysis will help you determine the number and kind of people you will need for the future. If your current workforce is sufficient, you then ask the question - do my company and its members have the requisite competencies to achieve its purpose? If not, is further training and development of employees required to enable the company to respond to those changes. You must be able to maintain over the life of your business an appropriate manpower complement with the necessary and appropriate skills, knowledge, and capabilities to support your current business strategy and anticipated growth.
Need to recruit new employees
Planning for your workforce is clearly carried out in the context of your anticipated changing environment and business requirements. This will ensure that you hire new employees only when necessary and that you do not end up with a bloated and unproductive workforce. When your change analysis indicates that you already have the appropriate number of employees for your business requirements, you may opt to strategically train your current employees to equip them with the necessary skills, knowledge and capabilities needed over time. Recruiting for the future must take place only when there is a gap between your present and future manpower requirements.
Future knowledge, skills and capabilities
Whether you intend to recruit or simply train existing employees, you will need to identify which required competencies must be developed over the long term and to ensure that only skills, knowledge and capabilities, both at the individual and organizational levels, necessary to realize your company’s vision are acquired. This will require a corresponding change in the mindset of your company. You now need to view your employees as an important resource in your company. This entails not only making the corresponding investments and setting aside of funds to train and develop your employees but ensuring that your employees are paid and given due benefits. Motivated and highly skilled employees equate to superior company performance. Your employees are the single most important asset and add the most value to the organization.
Determining the number and quality of your present and future workforce will require you to revisit both your recruitment and selection criteria and your training strategy. Both recruitment and training activities entail costs. And as your company is small, you may not have sufficient resources to undertake extensive recruitment and training programs. Remember also that your HR activities are not embarked on in isolation. They must be aligned with and promote all other organizational initiatives including operations and marketing. Hence, you must ensure that your recruitment and training strategies are cost effective, and do not undermine your company’s operations and profitability.