The key elements of manpower planning
In a more formal sense, manpower planning is a process to assure that essential manpower will be available and ready, in both numbers and disciplines, as and when it is needed. One definition of manpower planning runs:
"Manpower planning is the process by which management prepares to have the needed types and numbers of people in the right places, at the right time, in order to fulfill both corporate and individual objectives."
Manpower planning, then, is necessary for every company that expects normal growth, rapid expansion, diversification of product lines or even cutbacks.
The primary purpose of manpower planning, as with any other aspect of planning, is to prepare for the future by reducing its uncertainty. It has as a basic goal the reduction of the uncertainty that relates to the acquisition, placement and development of employees for future needs.
How much more sensible to attack the problem before it gets out of bounds than simply to continue to react as emergencies arise? When future needs are not anticipated, the results are delays in recruiting people, desperation placements, inadequately trained workers and the filling of positions without properly considering what qualifications are required, nor what training might be necessary.
Manpower planning, in basic terms, is a systematic effort that comprises three key elements:
1. Workforce forecast: what kind and how many employees will be needed — and when.
2. Workforce inventory: what talents and abilities are already available to fill your critical, anticipated needs.
3. Placement programming: what outside recruiting schedules or inside assistance for promising and promotable employees is called for in order to meet the needs detailed by your search in terms of number 1. above.
Manpower planning, however, means more than matching estimated needs with corresponding recruitment drives. For better results it is advisable to develop talent ahead of the need, particularly for upper level positions. Better still is career development in which the capabilities and ambitions of employees are meshed with the goals of the company.
And finally, a by-product of manpower planning is the avoidance of the danger of obsolescence. In today's climate, where technology changes and even abolishes jobs, it's wise to be prepared to meet those changes with a skilled workforce.
Experience is a comb that life gives you after you lose your hair - Winston Churchill