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HR Management and Staff Resource Planning

Managing human resources (HRM) is an essential part of business administration and needs to be both effective and responsive and must optimise the use of Staff based on their skills and knowledge to achieve optimum efficiency.

Many HR systems concentrate on the administrative aspects of managing employees and external consultants. This concentrates on the contractual issues that arise and the necessary bureaucratic procedures behind issues such as pay, leave, ilness etc. However there are not many systems that plan the short and medium term use of human resources, and integrate into enterprise information systems.

Organisations that use Project Management system tend to plan on a project by project basis rather than for the organisation as a whole and in general Business Planning is generally interested in financial issues. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems exist to manage the planning requirements of larger companies, but these are usually geared to material requirements for production and human resources are seen as a cost to be attributed attributed to the corporate organisation. This could be because human resources does not fit easily into the logic of Supply Chain Management (SCM).

Human resource planning, staff rotas and shift planning focus on an area that all organisations must resolve. All companies use Human Resources but very few integrate the usage plans into their information systems. Unlike other resources the work force is made up of individual, unique elements with intelligence and flexibility. For long term requirements they can be planned alongside the other resources, by categorising them, giving them standard units of measure (man days, man hours) and costs and estimating the requirements. In the shorter term there are a number of other factors that step into the equation. The actual availability of the human resource can be affected by many factors. Apart from the obvious variables of availability, such as leave through illness, holiday, maternity and other reasons.

A Human Resource is not finite like other resources. It is finite in the sense that it will die or will will retire or even decide not to work any more. However it is not consumed in the production of other products, it is reusable and should improve with "use" rather than deteriorate. Pools of resources can be created to make the skill requirement readily available at a moments notice, anywhere in the world , so supply chain mechanism is not necessary. Contracts can be stipulated to make a person an employee, external consultant, part time, full time, temporary, so there are many variable factors.

A Human Resource is an intelligent being. It can be used in different capacities contemporarily. The measurement of its ability is relative, and cannot be measured with the same degree of accuracy as material resources, that have dimensions, structure and quality controls. One hour's work by one person may be 2 hour's work by another, and the result may or may not be the same.

A Human Resource can make decisions that can change the successive procedural requirements of a job. Apart from the issue of replanning the process this implies a contract of trust between the "employee" and "employer" and between members of a team to make it all work. This also raises security issues.

All these factors are part of the equation that makes Staff Resource Planning an important issue, in all sectors of the economy. With the shift in the Western World towards service industries and the possibilities created by Teleworking this type of planning is becoming crucial, as the main resource becomes human knowledge and competence. At the same time the shift of production to different parts of the world with different cultures means that the planning of staff as part of the traditional cycle is of paramount importance.

In short all enterprises and organisations, global or local, large or small need to optimise their use of human resources, which includes the integration of staff resource planning.

Good Staff Resource Planning should aim to optimise the use of an ubiquitous and costly resource in the company. The result should ensure:

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