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Blog Human Resources

6 Steps to Create a Strategic HR Plan [With Templates]

By Jessie Strongitharm , Aug 25, 2022

hr plan

The backbone of any successful business is the people and processes behind it — that’s why creating a human resources (HR) plan is key. This strategic document drives your business forward by evaluating where your workforce is at, and comparing it to future needs. 

Without an HR plan, organizations can suffer from issues that would have otherwise been avoided. From productivity pitfalls to costly employee turnover, there’s no shortage of risks you can sidestep if you do human resource planning in advance. 

Not sure where to start? No worries. I’ve outlined six steps you can take to create an effective HR plan that ensures your organization is well-staffed and well-served. You’ll also find a variety of  HR templates  that you can customize in just a few clicks — no design expertise required. 

Click to jump ahead:

What is human resource planning.

Human resource planning is the process of considering the current and future “people needs” of an organization.

This involves evaluating an organization’s workforce structure and protocols to ensure operational goals are met, productivity stays high and future demands for labor and talent can be fulfilled. 

The result of this process is the creation of an HR plan, which typically takes the form of a written document. These documents tend to follow a similar structure to most  strategic business plans  and are created on an annual basis, by HR managers or company leaders.

Check out the template below for an example. 

hr plan

This eye-catching, one-page  HR Strategic Plan Template  offers a concise summary of your human resource planning efforts, so you can easily share info with colleagues. 

Just swap out the text and visual assets for those of your choosing in  Venngage’s editor , and you’re off to the races. 

Return to Table of Contents

Start creating a strategic HR plan in 6 steps

Ready to create a strategic plan for the human resources that power your business? Here are six steps to help you succeed at the human resource planning process.

The first step to creating a future-forward HR plan is to assess employees’ current skill sets, and compare them to your operational needs moving forward. This will help you identify gaps and inform any hiring of new employees.

Employees’ skill levels can be assessed by reviewing their work history, hard and soft skills and professional growth over time. 

Using a matrix is a great way to understand where the skill gaps in your current workforce exist. Below is an example that describes the skills needed for different marketing roles. 

hr plan

Don’t need it for marketing specifically? No worries — you can fully customize this template by swapping in your own text to examine any human resource gaps. 

Another way to assess skills is by giving employees a questionnaire they can fill out. This  Employee Competency Assessment Template  does just that.

hr plan

Based on the information collected, you’ll get a sense of what positions best suit each individual, and whether any upskilling or hiring is required. 

Next in your strategic strategic HR management plan, you’ll want to consider the future. This involves accounting for any upcoming changes to your workforce, so operations can continue without error.

When forecasting labor needs, the following should be considered: 

Beyond those, it’s a good idea to assess the impact of external conditions on your labor needs during your human resource planning. For example, new technological developments may decrease the amount of employees you require to operate your business. 

Organizational design is the process of structuring the way a business operates so it can best achieve its goals. This is hugely important when it comes to your human resource planning process! 

With a clear understanding of your organization’s strategic objectives in mind, reviewing your organizational design allows you to understand the staffing requirements you’ll need to succeed at them. This means taking into account your  organizational structure  and chains of command, as well as how work gets done and the way information flows.

 From there, you’ll be able to see which departments need more team members so it can accomplish the organization’s objectives. 

An easy way to get started is by using an organizational flow chart. 

hr plan

With its color coding and layout, even a new manager can quickly look at this chart to identify the people responsible for leading teams and making decisions. 

And if there are any changes, it’s easy to to reflect them in the chart itself. All you need to do is customize the text and visual assets in  Venngage’s Chart Maker  as desired. 

Not quite your style? There’s plenty of other  organizational chart templates  to choose from. 

hr plan

Here’s an organizational chart that’s perfect for small businesses that have limited employees. One quick look, and you’re good to go. 

The bottom line is, no matter how big or small your business may be, you should always revisit your organizational design to optimize your workforce management and business operations. 

Related:  Types of Organizational Structure [+ Visualization Tips]

In this day and age, it’s a known fact that companies must provide more than just a paycheque to attract and retain talent, and encourage growth. 

It’s true —  studies have shown  employees are more engaged in their work when they feel it is meaningful, fulfilling and slightly challenging. So your human resource plan should consider how to inspire such feelings, and what actions you can take to motivate employees to stay. (Hint: a strong HR training and development program is key.)  

The  talent management infographic template  below is a great way to begin. 

hr plan

Using this  process chart , you can detail the steps you’ll take to retain the talent you have. Reference it as needed in your human resource planning.

 Another great way to keep staff motivated and geared towards their professional growth is by coming up with  ideas for employee development . Facilitating a company culture that champions continuous learning guarantees your team will feel supported and challenged in all the right ways.

The two employee development plan templates below will help you do just that. 

hr plan

Though both templates are geared towards healthcare organizations, it’s easy to customize their content in Venngage to promote the continuous learning and development of employees in any industry.

 As a result, your employees will be able to reach their full potential, while simultaneously supporting the long-term goals of your organization. 

Related:  6 Employee Development Ideas for Efficient Training

 Let’s face it, human resources ain’t cheap.

 Meaning, if you struggle at organizing and monitoring your HR budget, you’re bound to overspend on your initiatives —and no financially savvy business wants that. 

That’s why I recommend including financial information in your HR planning process, so you can reference your budget and expenses as needed. This ensures you’ll be able to stay within range as you work towards achieving your strategic goals for human capital . 

Plus, you don’t need to use one that contains walls of text and wack-loads numbers. Check out the clean and cheery option below — it’s as easy to fill out as it is to understand. 

hr plan

And if you’re looking to compare a forecasted budget to previous annual spending when strategizing your HR budget, the  Budget Comparison Infographic Template  below will help. 

hr plan

The bar graph is a great  data visualization  of annual expenses, organized by category. Just add (or import) any values to Venngage’s editor, swap out the text, and you’re ready to compare with ease. 

Related:  10+ Expense Report Templates You Can Edit Easily

Measurable results are important when it comes to your HR planning processes, because they indicate whether your strategy is working or not. 

Keeping those metrics in mind, your company can make adjustments and improve upon any future plans — AKA strategize for future success in business. That’s why your human resource plan should include info re: the specific key performance indicators (KPI) you’ll be measuring. 

KPIs are established to help determine if HR strategies and plans are working. Much like those used for evaluating the performance of  marketing  or  sales plan , KPIs for human resources are measurable results that indicate an organization’s success at achieving predetermined goals.

These may take the form of headcounts, turnover rates, demographic information, time to hire and employee satisfaction scores. 

Here’s one employee satisfaction survey you can use to understand your workforce better. 

hr plan

When you’re ready to organize those HR KPIs in a document, the  recruiting template  below is perfect for keeping tabs at a glance. 

hr plan

Related:  10+ Customizable HR Report Templates & Examples

How do I make an HR plan? 

After you’ve collected the data you need, you’ll want to convey this info in an engaging, professional manner for easy referencing and sharing amongst colleagues. Given this, using Venngage is the best route to go. 

Here are the simple steps to help you bring an actionable HR plan to life: 

Note: sharing is available free-of-charge. However, the option to download your creations and access features like  My Brand Kit and Team Collaboration  are available with a  Business plan . 

FAQ about HR plans

How long should an hr plan be .

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the length of an HR plan. That being said, if you’re going to share it with colleagues, you probably don’t want to create a 20+ page document. One to five pages should suffice. 

Try to be as concise as possible when relaying the facts, and use  data visualizations  wherever possible to save room.

Do I need an HR contingency plan?

In the same way creating an HR plan is a proactive move that helps your organization account for future needs, it’s a good idea to devise an HR contingency plan. This ensures there’s a back-up plan in place should your initiatives not go as expected. 

For example, if you’ve identified that you need five new hires to keep up with consumer demand, but the talent pool is lacking, a contingency plan could house suggestions for restructuring your workforce to mitigate this. 

In other words, it’s best-practice to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. 

Is an HR plan different from an employee development plan?

Yes. While an HR plan is a strategic document describing how an organization addresses its personnel-related needs at a high-level, an  employee development plan  outlines the processes needed to help an individual achieve their professional goals.

 Even though the human resource planning process may involve outlining some employee development tactics, it is not unique to each employee as in the case of an employee development plan.

Make your HR planning processes effortless 

You don’t need a crystal ball to feel confident about your people moving forward. With a solid HR plan and strategy in place, you’ll prime your workforce — and all business endeavors — to succeed in even the most competitive of markets. 

Just remember this: human resources planning, and creating strategic business plans in general, doesn’t have to be exhausting. 

With Venngage’s huge selection of  professionally-designed templates  and easy-to-use editor, all it takes is a few minutes to produce a polished document perfect for all your needs.  Sign up for free today ! 

HR Logo

HR Strategic Plan

hr strategic plan sample

Penn State Human Resources (HR) is implementing its 2021-2025 strategic plan, aimed at providing innovative solutions and exceptional service. With the HR Transformation concluded and subsequent years of advancement and improvements complete, HR will be guided by a new development model - the HR Evolution. While the HR Transformation was about designing and implementing a comprehensive HR function, the HR Evolution advances a new mission and vision within each functional team of the unit, guided by five overarching goals: organizational effectiveness, engaging and rewarding, developing and retaining, recruiting and acquiring, and diversity, inclusion, and belonging. HR’s mission and vision frames the entirety of the strategic plan, giving each goal, objective, and action item significance and purpose. Based on an interconnected set of strategic priorities laid out by HR leaders over the past two years, the new strategic plan presents a complete view of HR’s areas of focus for the next five years and acts as a roadmap for the achievement of each goal. By making strategic improvements across all areas of HR, the team’s collective goal of becoming a world-class HR function comes into greater focus. Read HR’s strategic plan .

hr strategic plan sample

Human Resources Department

HR Report Cover. Photos of HR Staff


I am pleased to present you with the FY 2020-2024 Human Resources (HR) Department’s Strategic Plan. The development of this five-year plan was a collaborative process involving employees and stakeholders, including our customer-departments. This plan provides general information about the services we provide and the strategies we will undertake to address current and future workforce needs. Key areas of focus during the next five years will include:

The plan aligns with the direction of the County’s Shared Vision 2025, specifically contributing to the Collaborative Community outcome. The HR Team is excited about the future and we are committed to serving our employees, customer-departments, and the public with excellence!

8 Actionable Long-term HR Strategy Plan Examples

Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail when it comes to managing your people. here are five essential reasons why you need to think strategically about human resources..

In any organisation, large or small, three fundamental systems of record form the business backbone; accounting and finance, customer relationship management and HR and employee management.

Many businesses now take a strategic approach to managing these key areas by using cloud technologies to run their accounting and finance processes in real-time, as well as manage their customer relationships.

However, many businesses continue to persist with a more reactive approach to HR. That’s why it’s time to start building your own human resources strategic plan (otherwise known as an HR strategy). Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail when it comes to managing your people.

What is a Human Resources Strategy plan?

An HR department in every business is responsible for finding and training employees. Besides that, they also help with conflict resolution, employee benefits, employee retention and development. A human resource strategy plan is taking those responsibilities and making sure they meet the goals, mission and future needs of the company.

What are the benefits of creating HR strategies?

We all know that the role of human resources and people management is changing . By implementing strategic human resources management, you’ll have a crystal clear vision of your goals and how to achieve them.

Read on to find out the benefits of having an HR strategy in place.

1. Forecasting talent requirements

Being able to develop realistic forecasts of your people’s needs now and in the future is essential if you’re going to win the war on talent. On a day-to-day level, being able to optimise shift allocation will help you achieve efficiencies and reduce your wage bill.

Also, if you know how many staff you require to achieve the future strategic goals of the business and what jobs need to be filled, you can get an early start on finding the right talent.

2. Non-compliance costs

Everything from payroll to onboarding, performance management and employee data management comes with a huge amount of compliance and paperwork. Using spreadsheets and manual processes is not only time-consuming, but they are also prone to human error. And this means business risk.

By using strategic planning, you can identify any possible compliance gaps and keep your business in line with employment legislation.

3. Happy employees are more productive

Beyond hiring the right candidate, a good HR strategy plays an important role in promoting employee engagement and satisfaction. These areas are crucial to developing a happy, productive workforce who become great ambassadors for your business.

With an HR strategic plan, you can formulate what is required of you to take care of your employees’ needs. It also keeps a check on morale, measures productivity and your employees’ sense of commitment.

4. Retention

Employee engagement goes hand in hand with retention. Once you’ve built a team of great people, you need to keep hold of them. So a big part of the overall business strategy needs to be focused on what you can do to retain employees. This includes ways to build your employees careers through formal recognition programs and career development pathways.

5. Continuous improvement

Everyone knows that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Without a strategic HR plan, how can you possibly understand what’s working and what’s not?

Through HR strategies, you can formally evaluate specific and measurable factors such as; employee turnover, the number of vacant positions, employee grievances, as well as satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels.

If you periodically gather and report data on what’s working, you’re much more likely to make consistent and accurate decisions.

Read more: All you need to know about HR management

Intro to HR Management

8 things to implement for a successful HR strategy

Taking a proactive approach to managing your people will put your business on the front foot— ready to identify and solve HR issues. By developing an HR strategic plan, you can reflect on the successes and failures of previous quarters. Doing so will help you effectively plan for attracting and retaining the right talent, which is key to your business achieving success.

Here are some HR strategy examples you can implement to gain a competitive advantage through your HR department.

1. Conduct regular HR audits

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to conduct a review of your HR processes and compliance. While these should continually be reviewed, it’s important to assess them at the start of each calendar year.

Human resources audits are an effective way to perform a gap analysis and review your current people management processes and obligations. By conducting an audit, you will be able to update any legalities and also see where improvements can be made, which can be included in your new HR strategy.

Common areas to complete an HR audit include:

Read more: The future of HR automation

2. Set goals aligning with your business strategy

If you’re looking for information on how to introduce a goal-setting framework so you (and your entire team) can plan your goals effectively, we suggest giving thought to OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) .

While OKRs are not as well known as their popular counterpart, key performance indicators (KPI), OKRs are a great tool to complement your company’s HR strategy.

They’re a transparent way to keep your team accountable and motivated whilst ensuring that your goals are 100% aligned at an individual, team and company level. If you’re looking for an all-in-one HR software that includes a visual OKR feature, get in touch with us today .

We can walk you through how Employment Hero can help simplify and align your company goals, so you continue to create a team of engaged, high performers.

3. Design the employee experience

When it comes to business, your employees are everything. They keep the wheels turning and are the heart and soul of everything you do. But have you ever thought about the experience they have as an employee?

From acquisition to onboarding, training and recognition, there are so many pieces to the employee experience puzzle that can set your workplace above the rest. When designing the employee experience, it’s crucial you map out every stage of the employee lifecycle and visualise your ideal scenario.

This allows you to create the perfect recipe for your employee experience.

Read more: How to empower employees with employee self service

An example of a designed employee experience

1. Attraction : Work with marketing to have a strong employer branding presence across social. Using social media and employee advocacy to recruit top talent to your business is a great way to keep your candidate funnel full.

2. Recruitment : Having a set interview process that ensures you hire the right person. This may include candidates having to complete a task or assignment.

3. Onboarding : Ensuring that the onboarding process includes information about their specific role and the wider organisation. It might also see you start new employees in a cohort instead of scattered days so they can complete induction together. Beyond the more technical parts of onboarding, consider ‘surprise and delight’ elements such as branded company merch and organising a special lunch with the hiring manager.

4. Development : Encouraging your employees to access online training and attend industry events that will improve their skills. Setting up an annual self-learning fund for each employee could be a good way to do this.

5. Retention : Creating professional development plans for your employees and rewarding them for great work. Using a goal-setting framework like OKRs and a well-thought-out career plan can make all the difference.

6. Separation : Create a way to support your employees through the exit process. This could be by a formal exit interview so you can improve and learn from experiences.

HR Strategy plan - Employee experience lifecycle

4. Improve your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

If you’re not sure what an EVP is , it’s the balance of rewards, benefits and culture that the company can offer in return for amazing employee performance. In saying this, it’s important to remember that your employee value proposition extends beyond perks and benefits.

Why should you care about improving your EVP?

It’s an important piece of attracting top talent to your business. If you present well to a potential star candidate, they’re going to want to work for you. This in return, helps the human resources department recruit candidates a whole lot easier.

You might also even find that your time to fill roles decreases significantly. According to a study by People Scout , “when organisations live up to their marketed EVP, new employees arrive with a higher level of commitment at 38%, compared to organisations that don’t live up to their marketed EVP, which are at just 9%”.

When you get your EVP right and have star talent in your business, you can expect greater business growth as they’ll be more engaged in their role.

Read more: Emerging HR trends in the job market

5. Implement HR systems

If you’re looking to reduce the amount of time you spend on manual admin tasks and get strategic in your day-to-day, an HRIS can help you. By implementing an HR tech system like Employment Hero, you can reduce the amount of time you spend on admin tasks by up to 80%.

Just imagine no longer having to manually onboard an employee or keep employee files in dusty old filing cabinets! It’s also a great piece of tech to add to your long-term HR strategy!

HR planning using a laptop to access Employment Hero interface

6. Provide professional development plans for employees

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Learning Report , a massive 93% of employees said they would stay at a job longer if the company invested in their learning and development. This is a sign that the majority of employees place this as a top factor when determining whether or not to jump ship. But the benefits aren’t just for the employee.

Creating a professional development plan for your employees is a two-way street and a vital piece of your long-term HR strategy. When you have acquired top talent and develop their skills even further, you’ll have star employees that will be just as invested in your company as much as you’re invested in them!

You’ll also save money in the long run, as you won’t face the hidden costs of recruitment associated with employee turnover.

Saving costs, developing your team and giving your employees what they want? It sounds like a great strategic HR move to us!

Group of coworkers celebrating wins

7. Improve employee advocacy

Your employees are your best cheerleaders, so it makes sense to use them to leverage your brand. Whether it’s by incorporating employee advocacy into your HR strategy or getting your teams’ LinkedIn profiles up to speed (hello branded cover images and profile pictures!), there are many ways you can leverage your employees’ professional networks.

Social media is one of the most cost-effective places to reach new and potential customers, so we say this is something you might want to get on board with, and pronto! While employee advocacy strategies are a fairly new concept, they’re beginning to gain momentum.

With this being said, those who take advantage of employee advocacy will be the ones reaping the rewards!

What are the benefits of employee advocacy?

Employee advocacy example - LinkedIn post from Julia

8. Gen Z talent acquisition and retention strategy

Gen Z is beginning to enter the workforce, so it’s important you have a long-term HR strategy in place to attract them. Born between 1995 and 2015, Gen Z’ers are different from previous generations that have entered the job market.

Why is it important to have an acquisition strategy for Gen Z?

While Millennials have been in the spotlight for many years, we’re beginning to investigate the traits of Gen Z. With Gen Z entering by the masses, it’s important you know how to hire and retain them.

Gen Z has grown up around digital technology and are naturally tech-savvy compared to their older counterparts. This alone changes how you should recruit Gen Z.

According to our recent Gen Z at work report , Gen Z characteristics are:

As Gen Z are naturally tech-savvy and connected on social media, we would suggest advertising job ads with social media first approach. We could even see Tik Tok become the ‘it’ place to recruit top talent from Gen Z!

The wrap-up

This is the perfect time of year to start looking into long-term HR strategy. From implementing an HR automation system like Employment Hero, to getting prepared for the influx of Gen Z candidates you’ll be recruiting for in the future, now’s the time to get planning.

If you need help demonstrating the value of implementing HR software as part of your HR strategy, read our blog on building a business case for HR software here.

To learn more about you can improve HR strategy and achieve your HR goals, get in touch and one of our small business HR experts to show you how today!

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