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HR Planning in the Pandemic

As we approach the 4th quarter of the year, many organizations are beginning their planning and budgeting processes for 2021. However, our world has changed as a result of COVID-19. We are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty. Businesses are reevaluating fundamental questions, such as:

  • What demand will exist for our products and services in the future? (revenue forecasts)

  • How should our products and services be created? (design, production, and/or manufacturing)

  • How should our products and services be sold and delivered to our customers? (sales & distribution)

  • What new regulations are we required to comply with? (legal & compliance)

  • How will we protect the health of our workforce? (safety)

  • How should we fund our business during a period of ambiguity? (finance)

Emerging answers to these questions will have huge impact on these organizations and the workforce. As a result, we find ourselves trying to predict the future – generally with much less certainty than what we enjoyed in the past.

Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

Human Resources (HR) planning should naturally flow down from broader business planning efforts in a cascading fashion. Questions that are often asked in HR planning processes include:

  • Are we staffed appropriately to meet future needs? (workforce planning)

  • Do our current workers have the right skills to meet our future needs? (training & development)

  • How and where will work be performed in the future? (facilities & technology tools)

  • How should our workers be paid? (compensation design & benchmarking)

  • Does our employment value proposition effectively attract and retain workers? (various)

The answers to these and many other questions will vary greatly based upon the plans, objectives, and environment of the business. Gartner Research provides some excellent examples and templates, but following is a simplified version:

Template Functional Planning Waterfall

For additional clarity, following is an example of numerous HR functional goals and initiatives that could potentially flow from a single over-arching business goal:

Example Functional Planning Waterfall

A planning process is an opportunity to evaluate your business and to forecast the future. Key business drivers may be in flux, but assumptions can still be made, and scenarios can still be stress-tested. It may be wise to build flexibility into budgets and staff plans by holding back some funds centrally. Operational plans can be simplified by identifying fewer, clearer priorities.

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

As a bottom-line takeaway, business and functional planning should continue, especially during the uncertain times we live in today. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

If you would like to connect with me, please go to or contact me directly at If you would like to learn more about the topics discussed in this article, please read:

Best wishes,

Andrew Bartlow

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Excellent recommendations for HR managers. Our company has created excellent software that is comprehensively suited to solving various tasks related to the personnel department.

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