As defined by Bulla and Scott in their seminal work, human resources (HR) planning is “the process for ensuring that human resource requirements of an organization are identified and plans are made for satisfying those requirements.” Defining HR planning is one thing; having the process run smoothly and efficiently is quite another. For HR planning, there are two approaches to responsibility: one is central planning, where the HR department or human resources manager takes responsibility for the entire division or organization; the other is distributed planning, where team heads or members do the planning for their groups within the organization.

The importance of HR Planning

In both cases, the function is not typically a C-level one because the process is usually bottom-up and not planned for a multi-year perspective. Yet make no mistake – the practice is highly important. Ideally, HR planning should serve as a link between human resources management and the overall strategic plan of an organization. Aging worker populations in most industrialized countries and growing demands for qualified workers (i.e., the so-called “skills gap”) have moved the importance of HR planning up in organizational practice, and this development is likely to increase further in the immediate years ahead. According to Gartner, rapid changes and business transformation initiatives require chief HR officers and HR leaders to invest in workforce planning technologies to optimize their workforce’s composition, cost, and productivity.

This blog series examines the five essential steps in strategic planning and workforce management, explains the technologies that can support those steps, and offers case histories that show how the adoption of planning technology can streamline workforce management with considerable benefits to the organization.

The Five Steps

There are five principal process steps to effective strategic planning for workforce management:


1. Leverage sales/financial planning to establish strategic HR goals

From our perspective, sales planning is the most important planning piece for a company. HR is the second. With sales planning, you as an organization determine the size of the company in the future. With HR planning, you determine how much to spend on the workforce based on the projected size and requirements of the organization.

This is fundamental: sales planning develops an estimate of how many people you need onboard to meet your needs moving forward. This year there are X employees. Based on sales planning, next year you’ll need Y. This is always the starting point for HR planning: establishing a baseline.

Finance and HR leaders can add strategic value to the corporate planning process and increase HR workforce planning effectiveness by extending collaboration and sharing additional data points between these plans. (Gartner)

How Jedox Technology supports the process

Across each of the five essential HR planning steps that are going to be discussed in this blog series, Jedox provides technology that speeds and streamlines the process steps.

Jedox provides sophisticated yet simple-to-use online calculations, as well as a “splashing” function that allows users to modify inputs and have them break down along the established structure. For example, ordinary input into a consolidated cell is not possible to prevent users from doing so unintentionally and thereby corrupting data. After all, consolidated data are the result of base element data. However, Jedox allows users to enter a value intentionally with the purpose of “splashing” – to split the value automatically among the subsequent base elements. So, say, if a total is decreased by 10 percent, each of the individual categories decreases accordingly.


This can be done by various factors (e.g., in a certain region or functional area, decreasing by 10 percent, while in another region decreasing less or more as desired). Further, having an OLAP database allows users to filter and view data from different perspectives, enabling a more sophisticated breakdown of strategic goals that is much better than having to use an overarching percentage. In this way, the goals may be applied more precisely.

(Next up in this blog series: How to prepare your HR planning cycle – and why HR planning parameters are more than just salaries!) 

You want to kick-start your HR planning with an easy to use, prebuilt planning model? Discover the Jedox Model for HR professionals and test-drive the application in the Jedox Marketplace (no download required):

Test-Drive HR Model

Author: Armin Kröck