Principles of Effective Workforce Planning

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand key contemporary labor market trends and their significance for workforce planning.
  • Be able to undertake talent planning and recruitment activities
  • Understand how to maximize employee retention.
  • Know how to manage dismissal, redundancy, and retirement effectively and lawfully.

Assessment Brief

You are required to provide written responses to each of the following six questions:

Question 1

Your organization is based in two different countries (the UK and another country of your choice). Write a short account which briefly assesses the labor market trends in each country. In your account, briefly explain the significance of tight and loose labor market conditions and how organizations position themselves strategically in competitive labor markets. (Assessment Criteria 1.1, 1.2, 1.3)

Question 2

Give a brief description of the role of government, employers and trade unions in ensuring future skills needs are met. (Assessment Criteria 1.4)

Question 3

Briefly describe the main principles of effective workforce planning and give some examples of any tools that may be used for this. (Assessment Criteria 2.1)

Question 4

Give a brief account of HR’s role in each of the following: developing basic succession and career development plans contributing to plans for downsizing an organization contributing to the development of job descriptions, person specifications, and competency frameworks. (Assessment Criteria 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)

Question 5

Explain some of the main legal requirements in relation to recruitment and selection and briefly assess the strengths and weaknesses of at least two different methods of recruitment and selection. Go on to explain briefly why people leave or remain with organizations and provide a brief summary of some of the costs associated with dysfunctional employee turnover. Provide a brief assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of at least two different approaches to retaining talent. (Assessment Criteria 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2)

Question 6

Provide a brief summary of the advice you would provide to your organization on good and lawful practice for managing dismissal, retirement, and redundancies. (Assessment Criteria 4.1)

Evidence to be Produced

Answers to each of the six questions of approximately, 3300 words in total (divided appropriately across the questions). You should relate academic concepts, theories and professional practice to the way organizations operate, in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles, and other publications and by using organizational examples for illustration. All reference sources should be acknowledged correctly and a bibliography provided where appropriate (these should be excluded from the word count).

Sample Paper Preview

Question 1

1.0 Contemporary Labor Market

1.1 Labor Market Trends

The labor market trends differ significantly between countries due to various elements such as labor laws, organizational structure, and population among other factors. The labor market trends between the UK and Northern Ireland are different. The rate of employment between 2016 and 2017 was highest in the UK and the lowest in Northern Ireland. However, the rates across the two regions have been increasing in the recent past. In contrast, the rate of unemployment between the two countries is different.

The North East part of the UK experienced the highest unemployment rate between late 2016 to late 2017 while the lowest in the South East UK (Blundell, Bozio, and Laroque, 2013). Unemployment in Northern Ireland has been significantly high in the recent past. The number of self-employed individuals in the UK is high especially in London. In contrast, although self-employment is common in Northern Ireland, it is not as prevalent as it is in the UK. Employment by gender in the UK is another important labor trend and men have higher rates of employment than women. In contrast, Northern Ireland has the lowest employment rate for both men and women.
1.2 Strategic Positioning in a Competitive labor market
Presenting an organization as an “Employer of Choice” is one of the strategies used by organizations to position themselves in a competitive labor market. This strategy involves the effort by an organization to build an exceptional brand identity in terms of value plan that distinguishes it from its competitors (App, Merk, and Büttgen, 2012). This can be established by developing various awards given to the effort and process involved in different levels of achievement. Another strategy that can be used is the employment value proposition. It enables an organization to attract, motivate, and retain employees. In a competitive labor market, talented employees are scarce; therefore, it becomes important for an organization to invest in approaches that ensure retention of the organizations’ best employees.
1.3 Tight and loose labor market
Tight labor market involves a market where many people are working and the rates of unemployment go down. One of the benefits of this type of market is its positive effect on the economy. In this market, people are making and spending money and this improves the economy due to taxes. It is also important because it reduces the number of people that need charity because businesses and individuals contribute to charity extensively. However, it has a negative effect on businesses and industries due to a shortage of labor since more people are working (Sparrow, Brewster, and Chung, 2016). Another form of market is a loose labor market in which jobs are scarce while organizations have a large number of available and potential workforces to hire for various positions. According to Sokro (2012), a loose labor market has a significant effect on the recruitment of employees. It influences the number of individuals applying for various job positions. It can also lead to a reduction in wages and salaries due to the high number of people in need of the same job. Moreover, it influences the manner in which human resource plans relate to the general business and recruitment strategy.

Question 2

2.0 Government, Employers, and Trade Unions

Learning and developing skills in the workplace is essential because it ensures high individual and organizational performance. Various stakeholders such as the government, employer, and trade unions have the responsibility of ensuring that employees have the right skill. The government plays a major role in increasing the level of skills of the workforce besides other aspects, which help in improving efficiency and economic affluence. Understanding the current and future needs influence sustainable and effective succession and talent planning in an organization. One of the ways that the government can ensure that future skills are met is developing training programs based on the required skills in the market. The programs should deliver both quality and quantity training needed in the labor market. It should work closely with the relevant stakeholders in setting the standards of the skills needed and evaluating the outcome of the training programs. The government can also foster the needed skills through the development of effective policies to regulate the workplace such as ensuring there is gender quality. According to Rocha (2010), women are misrepresented in the workplace leading to poor skills and job insecurity. Therefore, having effective policies that balance both genders in the workplace by providing equal training and development opportunities can increase their skills and influence organizational performance and productivity and lead to economic prosperity. The employer is vital in ensuring that the employees have the right skills since they determine the future of the business/organization. One of the roles of employers in developing skills for future needs is providing information to the government regarding the required skills and the aspects that should be prioritized. This is important because employers are the ones that understand the skills needed to ensure high performance. Therefore, employers promote this by working closely with government representatives. It is their role to increase skills development opportunities in the workplace to enhance individual and organizational productivity. Moreover, the employer can ensure the achievement of future skills through advancing the learning supply such as developing higher training programs, apprenticeships, and general standards of occupation. Trade unions not only serve the purpose of bargaining on behalf of the employees but also engage in the development of employee skills for future needs. According to Findlay and Warhurst (2011), Unionlearn, which is part of the Trade Union Congress, spearheads learning at the workplace in the UK. Trade unions play a significant role in developing skills in the workplace by supporting employees to access learning and enhance the quality of learning opportunities. Unionlearn supports trade unions in their efforts to promote the development of skills among their members to meet the future requirements in the workplace. Trade unions promote learning skills in the workplace through appointing representatives who ensure that employees in each organization have access to educational opportunities. Daley (2012) notes that trade unions have the ability to reach a high number of employees than any other group; hence, they increase the chances of the workforce to attain the desired skills. The trade unions ensure that all employees have basic skills and also focuses on the development of technical and numeracy skills through continuous professional development and apprenticeships. They also ensure future skills in the workplace through training and development programs in organizations since the employers legally recognize their role in developing the skills. The unions’ representatives also ensure the development of future skills by conducting an evaluation of the learning needs of the employees’ learning needs, organize, and support the efforts of learning by organizations.

Question 3

3.0 Work Planning

3.1 Principles of Effective Workforce Planning
According to Keep (2015), workforce planning is an integral process of the human resource management that is formed by the strategy of an organization, which ensures the right number of manpower with effective skills in the right place and time to deliver the organizational short-term and long-term goals. This process is critical in an organization because having the right people with the required skills and at the right place enhances the effectiveness of the operations of an organization. Workforce planning involves two aspects that include hard and soft. Hard workforce planning involves numbers, which focuses on information management that help to understand the causes and effects of certain events. In contrast, soft workforce planning entails developing a strategic structure in which consideration of information occurs (Klotz, Motta Veiga, Buckley, and Gavin, 2013). This planning approach provides leaders with the opportunity to consider different possibilities before engaging in any circumstantial action. Workforce planning is effective when the management leadership management within the organization is high. It requires a calculated vision, mission, and strategic goals (Lievens and Sackett, 2012). Moreover, cooperative supportive attempts of the employees in all the major elements that include budget, strategic planning, and human resources. An organizational plan gives the organization a sense of direction and articulates quantifiable program objectives. The budget process is vital since it facilitates the organization with funding that helps it to attain the organizational goals. Human resources provide tools that identify the competencies required in the workforce and for recruitment, training, retaining, and development. According to Stahl, Björkman, et al (2012), organizational success is dependent on the aspect of having the right employees with the right skills at the right moment. As such, workforce planning provides the managers with the means of discovering the skills required in the workforce to sustain the business currently and in the future. Workforce planning also enables the organization to deal with issues that drive workforce change in a systematic manner. It increases the effectiveness of the managers and programs since it involves documenting of gap analysis, workforce analysis, workforce transition planning, and skill evaluation. The information offers documentation of the inputs, which constitute the general planning output. The information creates the legitimacy of any given workforce plan by illustrating the relationship between workforce planning and management of programs, organizational objectives, justification of budgets, and HR work planning (Sánchez, Marín, and Morales, 2015). Moreover, workforce planning provides the managers with strategic grounds for decision-making in human resource management founded on the ability to attain the program objectives. Predicting models that are based on the workforce enables managers to anticipate turnover. This is crucial since it allows them to conduct employee recruitment and development to enable the organization to move forward effectively. The approach of workforce planning is supported by various principles that enable the organization to achieve its goals. One of the major principles that guide workforce planning is a commitment, support, and participation. This entails all the members involved in the process, which include leaders, departmental managers, the workforce, support groups, communities, and families among other professionals. Another core principle of workforce planning is effective communication with all the people both internally and externally. It is a vital aspect of this process since it ensures a good connection between departments. Communication is a process that should be continuous throughout to allow constant collaboration between teams. Another important principle is strong leadership, support, and active participation in the process. Since workforce planning is an aspect that involves having the right people with the right skills at the right place, it is important to have effective leadership to ensure the achievement of the organizational goals. Workforce planning tools are essential in establishing an agile workforce, recognizing performance shortage, and close workforce gaps to achieve business objectives. Utilizing the appropriate tools of workforce planning enables an organization to deal with strategic workforce performance. One of the tools in workforce planning is defining the business objectives (Schneider, Günther, and Brandenburg, 2010). This involves identifying the vision, goals, mission, and motives and then developing a strategic plan to align with the objectives. Another tool is modeling the current workforce, which involves understanding the workforce based on capabilities, characteristics, and distribution to enable the development of strategies to close any gaps. Establishing direction for future workforce is another important workforce-planning tool used to create an effective workforce requirement for more talent. Another important tool is addressing workforce gaps that allow the business to eliminate inconsistency between one workforce and another.

Question 4

4.0 The Role of HR

4.1 Succession and Career Development Plans
An organization’s human resources department plays an essential role in the various aspects of the business. Succession planning is one of the areas that the HR is involved especially in the process of implementation. Succession planning concentrates on identifying and developing talent to fill critical positions in the organization. One of the roles that the HR play in the process of succession planning is recruiting highly qualified individuals for all the spots. The department also creates quality assessment programs to give feedback to the employees and the organization. Moreover, HR gives assistance in the process of maturation for the candidates of succession through helping in the organizing of training management programs for individuals. The HR also ensures suitable supervisors have conveyed effective evaluations on time and professionally, with a focus on aspects that needs growth and enhanced performance. The department is also tasked to develop and review employee retention strategies to ensure the organization remains objective. Further, the HR evaluates and proposes suitable compensation for the new candidates. It ensures that they are properly rewarded based on their job performance. Moreover, it is the role of the human resource department to create a reporting method to conduct appraisals for the upper management and the progress of the individual candidates of the boards.
4.2 Downsizing in Organizations
The human resource practitioners are vital in facilitating an organization to manage and resolve the issues that develop after a process of downsizing in an organization. One of the most important roles that HR can play in this process is communication. Communication management is a key aspect of the transition process. HR professionals have the responsibility to communicate after the layoff by explaining to the employees the various changes that take place and how it will influence the organization both positively and negatively. The HR department also ensures that communication is a continuous and comprehensive process. Another important role of HR during downsizing is evaluating the responses of the employees (Wilton, 2012). It is important for an organization that has downsized to evaluate the communication feedback in order to determine the need for any refinement at the organizational or individual level. The employer needs to listen to the employees that have survived the layoff process; hence, the HR is responsible to ensure there is a good transition following the various changes. The HR is also tasked with relocating the job responsibilities since a layoff entails giving job requirements a priority, analyze the existing workforce and the process should be done in a manner that the most critical jobs in the organization continue to get done. In this case, the HR conducts an analysis before the process to ensure that the good transition. Moreover, HR takes part in adjusting compensation and benefits. It is an important aspect to consider during the planning and implementation of downsizing. This is because employees may need additional benefits for taking on extra work among other factors. Another important role of the human resource is retaining, maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction.
4.3 Job Descriptions and Competency Frameworks
Effectively done competency frameworks can increase clarity within the expectations of performance and create a strong connection between individual and organizational performance (Schalk, Timmerman, and Van den Heuvel, 2013). When establishing and executing a competency framework, it is important to take care in order to balance detail with flexibility to evade an approach that is non-inclusive and excessively prescriptive. Competencies are the incorporated skills, knowledge, attributes, and judgments that individuals require to perform a job well. HR plays an important role in this process by defining the set of competencies for different tasks in the business. It describes to the workers the type of behaviors the organization regards and that it requires to achieve its goals. Moreover, HR can contribute to the development of job descriptions by identifying skill and the competency gaps in the organization. Involving the people doing work and engaging in good communication is the role of the HR, which contributes to the development of competencies framework.

Question 5         

5.0 Recruitment and Selection

5.1 Legal Requirements in Recruitment
Recruitment and selection are essential components of any organization since they enable the organization to achieve its objectives. Although the recruitment and selection process seems to be simple, many laws and regulations surround the process. There is no specific act that governs recruitment and selection, but there is a compilation of acts that deal with the employment issues, which have an influence on the aspects of pre-employment. One of the major legislation that governs this process is the Equality Act of 2010 (Cushway, 2014). During the process of recruitment and selection, the 2010 Equality Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against job candidates and existing employees based on race, age, sex, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, and gender reassignment. It also requires the organization’s advertisement to focus on the needed skills for the vacancy and use a language that does not discourage anyone from applying for the job. Moreover, employment law restricts the organization from asking for information about the applicant’s personal background such as marital status or age during the interview. The interview should be conducted based on the requirements of the job position.
5.2 Methods of Recruitment
It is important to adopt the best approach during the recruitment process to acquire the best candidates for the job. There are two major methods used in the process of recruitment, which include internal and external recruitment. According to Crowley-Henry (2013), internal recruitment is the process where the organization hires a member of the organization to fill the job position. In contrast, external recruitment involves the organization seeking to fill the job position(s) from outside the business. Some companies use one of the methods to recruit while others combine both since each of the methods have their strengths and weaknesses. One of the strengths of internal recruitment is quick decision-making. This is because the HR already has the information about the existing employees and transition is easy since the employee is familiar with the responsibilities of the new job. Internal recruitment is also effective because it is cost effective since it minimizes the costs involved in training, induction, and recruitment. Moreover, this method cultivates loyalty because the employees promoted for the new position feel valued and are likely to work hard to return the favor. However, this method has a number of shortcomings. It reduces the prospective of applicants since the number of applicants within the business is limited. Another weakness of this method is that internal employees do not bring new skills to the organization, which reduces innovation. External recruitment is essential due to its aspect of bringing fresh blood to the organization, which enables the business to gain new ideas. This approach is also advantageous because the new candidates are determined to learn new things, unlike existing employees who assume they know everything about the organization (Harrisr and Foster, 2010). Moreover, candidates obtained from external recruitment are more dynamic than internal candidates. However, one of the disadvantages of this method is that it is time-consuming and requires a lot of energy for HR to deal with all the candidates in the process of selection. Additionally, the method is expensive due to advertisements and the need to carry our interviews.
5.3 Reasons why People Remain and Leave in Organizations
The choice of people to leave or remain employed in an organization is contributed by many factors. One of the main assumptions that people make for people leaving their jobs is to seek better opportunities. However, people leave their workplaces due to what leadership, communication, and culture make or do not make in their work experiences. The relationship of employees with their supervisor is one of the major aspects that people evaluate their ability to remain in an organization. Productive and conducive patterns in the workplace motivate employees to remain in a job while intolerable patterns in the job compel employees to leave. According to a study on exit interviews by Kang, Gatling, and Kim (2015), a high number of employees attribute their choice to leave work to organizational culture, communication, and leadership. A number of people feel that the culture of the company does not suit their values. To prevent employees from leaving their jobs, the leadership should help the people to embrace partnerships in the process of establishing and sustaining culture. Poor recruitment and selection decisions by the employer and employee also contributed to the departure of people from their jobs (Rees and Rumbles, 2010). Dysfunctional turnover is a common aspect in organizations that involves intentional separation in the midst of high and average performers in the workplace. Dysfunctional turnover has various cost implications for the business. Training costs is one of the implications of this form of turnover since HR spends a high amount of money on training and development programs. They affect the productivity of the organizations because it takes time to get to speed after the high performing and average employees leave the workplace (Crowley-Henry, 2012).
5.4 Approaches of Talent Retention
Retention of talent is one of the challenges that employers face today; hence, the importance of identifying the best employee retention approaches to help retain the best employees in the organization. One of the approaches that can be effective in talent retention is training and development. This approach is advantageous because it helps employees to attain their objectives and develop a good understanding of the requirements for their jobs. However, the main disadvantage of this method that it is expensive. Another effective approach to retaining talented employees is instilling a positive organizational culture. A positive culture involves honesty, respect, attitude, and value and it is effective because it enables the company to keep food employees and attract new talent. Developing good compensation and benefits as a way of showing appreciation is another effective approach that motivates employees and influences their perception (Rees and Rumbles, 2010). However, this approach is disadvantageous since it can create conflict within the organization and lead to employee turnover.

Question 6

6.0 Organizational Lawful Practice

6.1 Management of Dismissals, Retirements and Redundancies
An organization or employer needs to be careful when making various decisions that involve employees. Dismissals, redundancies, and retirements are aspects that need considerate attention within the organization due to their implications. An employer/organization needs good and lawful practice to manage the three aspects effectively. When dismissing an employee, it is important to ensure it is fair to avoid unlawful discrimination. The organizations need to ensure that the reasons for dismissal do not lead to illegal discrimination. It is also essential to ensure that the procedures followed are not discriminative (Sparrow, Brewster, and Chung, 2016). An organization should also ensure that it does not illegitimately discriminate in the process of dismissing a disabled employee. It is wrong to treat a disabled person unfavorably due to something linked with their disability. The organization is obliged to make some rational changes if necessary to eliminate the barriers that the individual face in doing their work. Another important process to consider legal implications on an organization is when making redundancy. When selecting people for redundancy, the organization should consider the following aspects to ensure it does not discriminate unlawfully. It is important to follow the procedures and criteria for redundancy. It should identify the jobs from which to make redundancy (Sharma, 2017). Moreover, it is important to decide on the matrix factors and how the employees score against them such as training, length of service, qualifications, and record of absence. Consideration of the redundancy and age payments is also vital during the process. Managing retirement in another important element in an organization due to its impact on individual and organizational performance. However, it should be done in a considerate manner to avoid any legal implications. The organization should ensure that retirement meets all the legal tests for retirement. When managing retirement, it is important that the retirement policy is not discriminative. The policy should not target the individuals for retirement based on the protected characteristics (Aylott, 2014). The organization operates s lawfully when it has a normal age of retirement of 65 or over, or it uses 65 years as the default retirement age, or it uses the age below 65 years and it is reasonably supported. It is also critical to provide the employees with a notice for their expected time for retirement.

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