Forecasting and Planning Methods

Techniques for Forecasting, Planning, And Predicting the Impact of HR Activities and Programs Across Functional Areas



One of the most important functions managers can perform in any organization is human resource planning. Human resource planning is a continuous process of identifying immediate and future human resource needs by analyzing the strategic goals of an organization. Human resource planning can only be accomplished when the impact of HR activities over some time is successfully established. Below are some techniques managers can use for forecasting, planning, and predicting the impact of HR activities and programs across functional areas.

Regression Analysis

Regression analysis is one type of predictive modeling that explores the relationship between a dependent variable or “target” and one or more independent variables “predictor(s).” Regression analysis is used to identify causal relationships between variables. It is also used for forecasting and time series modeling (Garg, 2016).

The three types of regression analysis are:

  • Linear
  • Logistic
  • Polynomial

Linear Regression

Linear regression analysis, as the name implies, uses a line to show the relationships between the dependent and independent variables. A linear regression chart plots the dependent variable Y and the independent variable X using a regression line (a best-fit straight line). Human Resources may use linear regression to predict the number of employees that need to be hired each year, based on the expected number of sales, customer call volume, or other variable factors (Garg, 2016).

Logistic Regression

Logistics regression is like linear regression except that the dependent variable is discrete (Rohan, Shahid, Saud, & Ramirez, n.d). It is used to find the probability of success or failure of an event. This model is commonly used to determine the probability of employee attrition and the type of attrition an organization is experiencing.

Polynomial Regression

Unlike linear and logistic, polynomial regression models the relationship between a dependent (y) and independent variable (x) as nth degree polynomial (raised power). Polynomial regression is needed when data points are arranged on a non-linear dataset to maintain the accuracy of the output (, n.d.). Human resources may use this model to determine the salary of an employee in their organization using variables such as levels (independent variable), salaries (dependent variable) and positions (Aasim, 2019).

Delphi Technique

This technique derives its name from a Greek oracle in the city of Delphi. It is described as: “A process in which the forecasts and judgments of a selected group of experts are solicited and summarized in an attempt to determine the future HR demand” (The Delphi Technique, 2015). This method involves forecasting the need for personnel, which is usually established by a panel of experts. The panel of experts are presented with a problem, an issue, or sent a questionnaire. Once the responses are received and compiled, it is reviewed by the facilitator who summarizes the responses and sends them back to the panel of experts. This process may happen in two or more rounds until a consensus is reached.  An essential characteristic of this technique is that during the process, experts have no form of interaction with each other but submit their answers anonymously.

Work-Study Technique

This technique is made use of when work measurements are needed to calculate the period of operation as well as the quantity of work that will be required.

Trend Analysis

Trend analysis is an efficient forecasting technique that requires organizations to evaluate past performance to forecast future demand. To that end, trend analysis is not suitable for every organization. Organizations that have been in operation for long periods are more likely to benefit from trend analysis than startups. This is because this type of analysis makes use of past documented staffing data to make the right staffing forecast.

Ratio Analysis

Ratio analysis is a forecasting technique similar to trend analysis; the method utilizes historic information to determine future needs. As forecasting is based on past data, this method would not take into account any changes in operations (processes, customers, skills or the workforce, etc.)

Planning Techniques

Strategic planning in human resources plays a vital role in every organization. The ability to effectively forecast and plan is critical to remaining competitive and achieving organizational goals and objectives. For more information on Planning, see Functional Area Two.