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A strategic plan guides a school in successfully meeting its mission. Based on the strategic plan, a school can develop a human resource plan that will allow it to make management decisions in the present to support the future direction of the school.
The overall purpose of human resource management is to:
Human resource management identifies the future needs of the school after analyzing the school’s current human resources, the external labor market, and the future human resource environment in which the school will be operating. The analysis of issues external to the school, and developing scenarios about the future, are what distinguishes human resource management from operational planning.
The basic questions to be answered for strategic human resource management are:
Modern human resource planning concerns the forecasting of the organization’s human resource needs for the future and the planning required to meet those needs. It requires not only the establishment of objectives, but also the development and implementation of certain programs, such as staffing and training, to make sure people are present with the proper traits and skills when they are needed.
Human resource planning also involves the collection of data, which can be used to evaluate program effectiveness and give notice when revision is needed. One of the objectives of planning is to facilitate organizational effectiveness, so it must be integrated with the organization’s business objectives. Human resource planning continues to receive increased attention due to such factors as the development of new technology, changes in economic conditions, globalization, and a changing workforce.
THE PROCESS The strategic human resource planning process is comprised of the following four steps, each of which will be discussed in detail:
Assessing the current human resource capacity Based on the organization’s strategic plan, the first step is to assess the current human resource capacity of the organization. The knowledge, skills, and abilities of current employees need to be identified. This identification can be done by developing a skills inventory for each employee. It is important that the skills inventory go beyond the skills needed for the particular position. Instead, it should list all the skills each person has demonstrated. For example, community or volunteer activities may involve special skills that could be relevant to the organization. Education levels and certificates or additional training should also be included. Once a performance assessment has been completed, it can be reviewed to determine if the person is ready and willing to take on more responsibility and to look at the person’s current development plans.
Forecasting human resource requirements. The second step is to forecast human resource needs for the future based on the strategic goals of the organization. A realistic forecast of human resources involves the estimation of both supply and demand. Important questions that the forecasting should include are:
When forecasting the possible demand for human resources, it is also vital to assess the challenges the school will have in meeting its staffing needs based on the external environment. This assessment must focus on how the external environment may impact human resource needs. Modeling and forecasting can give management important information about the implications of different human resource strategies that can be used to support the goals of the organization.
Gap analysis the next step is to determine the gap between where the school wants to be in the future and where it is now. The gap analysis includes identifying the number of faculty/staff and the skills and abilities required in the future. It is important to look at all of the school’s human resource management practices to identify practices that could be improved or new practices needed to support the school’s capacity to move forward.
In order to bridge the gap between strategic haves and have-nots, an approach is needed that: connects the people needs to the business needs.
Developing human resource strategies to support school strategies There are five human resource strategies that a school may take advantage of in order to meet its needs for the future:
Restructuring strategies can encompass a number of tactics. For instance, employee reduction, either by termination or by attrition, may be undertaken. While termination style approaches can yield immediate results; it is important to remember that various can be associated with this approach, depending on applicable employment agreements. Attrition, on the other hand, is the process of not replacing employees when they leave. The viability of this approach is dependent upon the urgency with which employee reduction is needed. If this approach is chosen, jobs performed within the organization will have to be reorganized to ensure that all essential work of departing employees is covered. A careful assessment of the reorganized workloads of remaining personnel should be conducted, including an analysis of whether or not there are improved outcomes.
Sometimes existing faculty and staff may be willing to voluntarily reduce their hours, especially in situations that are merely temporary. Job sharing may be another option. The key to success is to ensure that the employees are satisfied with the arrangement and that it meets the needs of the organization. Excellent communication is a prerequisite for success.
Analysis may demonstrate that the organization has more resources in some areas of the school than others. This, in turn, would call for a redeployment of workers to areas with shortages. The training/development needs of the transferred individual need to be taken into account.
Training and development needs can be met in a variety of ways. One approach is for the school/university to pay for faculty/staff to upgrade their skills. This may involve sending individuals to take courses or certificates. Many training and development needs can be met through cost effective techniques.
Human capital separates training into two types: general training and specific training. General training is any training provided by an organization that another organization can use. Specific training is any training provided by one organization that is specific to that organization. In other words, it is training that would have little use in other organizations. This distinction is important because the first step in analyzing the strategic value of any training program lies in a determination of whether it is general or specific.
Before an organization deems a training program to be a strategic interest, it must determine whether or not the training is truly strategic. If an organization intends to make training a core component of its competitive strategy, it needs to provide performance improvement and competitive advantage. The strategic training investment decision model is a tool that can be used to analyze the strategic potential of a training program.
For strategic human resource planning, each time the school recruits it should be looking at the requirements from a strategic perspective keeping in mind that recruitment involves the creation of a pool of qualified applicants from a variety of sources.
Recruitment can be considered the way an employer initially collects information about potential job candidates. The choice of recruitment, in turn, affects the size, quality, and influx of applicants. When deciding upon a proper recruitment strategy to pursue, organizations seem to be faced with a trade off.
On the one hand, an organization may need to hire employees for a position as soon as possible. On the other hand, a speedy approach may not yield employees with the degree of quality the organization desires. Since the quality of an applicant’s match and the hiring speed will both be important to some organizations and not others, recruitment choices can thus be expected to differ by firm characteristics and desired skill levels.
Collaboration strategies: Finally, the strategic human resource planning process may lead to indirect strategies that go beyond the borders of the organization. This collaboration with another organization or organizations may provide for better success at dealing with a shortage of certain skills.
Types of collaboration could include:
Once the strategies for human resources in the school have been developed they should be documented in a human resource plan. This is a brief document which states the key assumptions and the resulting strategies along with who has responsibility for the strategies and the timelines for implementation.
When the human resource strategic plan is complete it must be properly implemented. The most effective and efficient plan in history can not only be useless if not implemented, it can also be useless if it is implemented improperly or without sufficient means to measure its performance after actual implementation.
The strategic human resource plan needs to be communicated throughout the organization. This communication should articulate the following:
It is difficult to communicate too much (but all too easy to communicate too little), especially when changes involve people.
Human resource plans need to be updated on a regular basis. We will need to establish the information necessary to evaluate the success of the new plan. Benchmarks need to be selected and measured over time to determine if the plan is successful in achieving the desired objectives.
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