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Basics of personnel resource planning

What is personnel resource planning?

The task of personnel resource planning is to assign employees to their respective areas of work. It determines the area in which the employees work. It is important to ensure that the time period and duration are also defined. It is therefore used to determine when, where and for how long each employee works.

What forms of workforce scheduling are there?

Personnel resource planning can be divided into three parts:

  • Qualitative
    The aim here is to find out whether, when and in which areas employees need further training - as certain qualifications may be required for certain tasks. The first step is to compare the skills and knowledge of the employees with the requirements of the work to be carried out: Are there enough sufficiently qualified employees to carry out the tasks involved? A decision can then be made on any further training measures.
  • Quantitative
    Quantitative personnel deployment planning involves calculating the personnel requirements. Possible additions and departures are offset against the expected workload. A reliable forecast is important, as it must be ensured that all tasks can be completed - or that new staff may have to be hired.
  • Time-based
    In many industries, the volume of work is subject to strong seasonal fluctuations - the need for personnel is therefore not always the same. In such cases, overstaffing and understaffing can be avoided through temporary staff scheduling, for example by allowing companies to hire temporary and seasonal workers for a limited period of time. However, temporary staff may also be needed at short notice - for example, if many employees are absent due to illness.

The goals: Why do you need workforce scheduling?

As a basis for operational decisions

Solid workforce planning serves as the basis for operational decisions: When do employees need to be hired, transferred, laid off or given further training? It is important to avoid both overstaffing and understaffing and to avoid redundancies wherever possible. Only through careful planning can sensible operational measures be derived.


A company has a need for new employees when staff leave the company - for example due to redundancy, illness or maternity leave. However, a company also needs more staff when it grows or receives more orders.


In the event of a decline in orders, seasonal changes or a business relocation, it may be necessary to lay off employees - simply because there are too few orders for too many employees and therefore too many costs are incurred. As redundancies are not only legally difficult, but also usually unpleasant for both sides, successful workforce planning is also important here in order to avoid or reduce unnecessary redundancies.


Further training gives employees new skills, which entitles them to perform new tasks - but these skills may be needed more at other locations. Sometimes even vacant positions cannot be filled. So companies have to relocate their employees. This enables them to ensure that all areas of responsibility are covered. It is important to take the qualifications and availability of employees into account when planning.

Further training

If a company is faced with new tasks, it does not have to hire new employees straight away - it often makes more sense to create incentives among existing employees by offering further training. Good personnel deployment planning (PDP) always takes this need for training into account in order to initiate any necessary measures at an early stage.

Balancing peaks / flexibility

Personnel deployment planning is particularly important when it comes to balancing out production peaks at short notice, for example by using suitable temporary or seasonal workers to ensure that all the work that needs to be done can be completed. It is important that workforce scheduling is not rigid, but can also be flexible and agile.

Attracting efficient employees

The primary goal of any workforce planning should be to ensure that every employee is deployed in exactly the right position. When employees are deployed according to their skills, they are happier, more satisfied and more loyal. They work more effectively, which also reduces the risk of losing good employees to the competition.

Employees also need prospects, goals and development opportunities. Good personnel deployment planning can show employees the direction in which they can develop.

Such goals make employees feel part of a team and a sense of belonging to the company, which also strengthens loyalty to the company. Good workforce planning with opportunities and prospects therefore brings great benefits for both sides.

Target planning: compliance with legal requirements

Important for every employer: employees must adhere to break and working times. In addition, legal or company regulations must also be observed. Target planning forms the basis for this: it ensures that staff scheduling is designed from the outset in such a way that all legal requirements are met.

How do you find a suitable tool for workforce scheduling?

Of course, good workforce scheduling can theoretically be achieved with the simplest of tools, such as a sheet of paper. However, practice shows that the larger the company and the more complex the workforce management requirements, the greater the need for a suitable tool.

In many cases, workforce scheduling is carried out using Excel or similar programs. This has the advantage that these programs are usually very inexpensive and relatively easy to use. However, they do not offer the necessary complexity or flexibility that modern companies require. In larger companies, this also quickly leads to personnel planners having little overview, constantly having to ensure that the data is up to date and not being able to act quickly enough when necessary.

Good staff scheduling software should be able to,

  • Avoid overstaffing and understaffing in the company

  • (thereby) save costs

  • plan all personnel requirements consistently and completely

  • react to changes at short notice

  • map flexible working time models

  • Include different shift systems

  • manage vacations

  • document absences and absenteeism

  • Communicate in compliance with the GDPR

  • Integrate data into other programs as automatically as possible

Sind diese Kriterien erfüllt, handelt es sich um eine Software zur Personaleinsatzplanung, die auch für größere Betriebe zum Einsatz kommen kann. Im Idealfall ist so eine Software-Lösung zudem noch an die Größe und besonderen Rahmenbedingungen des Betriebs skalierbar.