HR Toolkit

HR Planning

Operational HR Planning

All organizations engage in HR planning at an operational level - even those that do not have a strategic plan. At the operational level, good HR planning is in part based on thinking ahead about the organization.

At an operational level, organizations put HR management practices in place to support management and staff in achieving their day-to-day goals. Whether it's determining how many staff are needed to deliver services over the next year or how performance will be monitored, HR management practices and activities need to be planned to answer the question: "Where is our organization going and how will it get there?"

The HR Toolkit has detailed information that you can use to develop an operational plan for your human resources practices and activities. Topics include:

If your organization already has good HR management practices in place they should be reviewed on an ongoing basis, every two to three years, to ensure that they still meet organizational needs and comply with legislation.

At an operational level, organizations also need to be aware of the interdependencies between operational decisions and HR management practices. Decisions made on one aspect of human resources often have an impact on another aspect of HR management.


Related HR Management Standards:

Standard 3.3
All employees have a work plan and performance objectives that identify the tasks/activities and expected results for future performance.

Standard 6.1
The organization has a process for regularly reviewing staffing needs.



Operational objective: Expand the services offered over the next two years

Human resources requirement: Five new staff members

Operational decision: Hire recent graduates or others with little direct work experience to reduce hiring costs

Implications for HR management practices: The operational decision to hire new graduates will impact on practices such as:

  • Supervision - there will be a need for more supervision
  • On-the-job training - there will be a need for increased training


Operational objective: Reduce staffing costs

Human resources requirement: Reduce staff by two fulltime equivalents

Operational decision: The reduction in staff will be made by not renewing the contract for two term employees

Implications for HR management practices: The operational decision to not renew two contract positions will impact on issues and practice such as:

  • Staff morale - the work of contract employees will have to be assessed to determine which positions to terminate so that the impact on the clients and organization is minimized; support may be needed for the employees who remain
  • Job design - other positions will need to be reviewed to determine which staff, if any, have the knowledge and skills to take over the essential work of the positions that are being eliminated; changes to the duties for existing staff will need to be negotiated
  • Training - training will need to be provided to staff taking on new duties, if appropriate
  • Termination process and cost – the termination process will need to be planned to ensure that it complies with policies and legislation and there will likely be a cost for notice and severance pay


In the absence of a strategic plan your organization can still take a proactive approach to HR management. By developing good HR management practices and thinking ahead, you can create a good work environment where staff can be productive and focus on providing the best possible service.


Next Section: Succession Planning