Planning ahead: How important is it?

planning, planning ahead, hr, human resources, management, strategy, strategic planning, work coordination

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin

With what my own professional experience kept leading me to these past couple of years in the HR sphere, I noticed just how important it is to plan ahead and have a contingency plan. This topic is quite important for HR professionals as well as management on any level and could save you a lot of headache in the future. I sort of touched on this particular topic with the article about preparing the budget but as it stands out as an issue that’s quite prevalent in business, I should talk about the benefits planning ahead gives you. It also goes into the umbrella of organizational skills about which I discussed here. Whatever the department is and whatever the parameter of business is in question; whether it’s human resources, procurement of materials, workload coordination, budget spending etc., it’s always best to prepare for the worst case scenario that just might happen, or at least be a couple of steps ahead to mitigate a bad situation. I will give a couple of examples down the article but to specify the reason as to why this is important is the oldest, most important reason and that’s to reduce the overall cost as well as control the hidden cost which may happen. Let’s try and elaborate this.

Workforce planning

This example is obviously the easiest to explain for HR sphere, more specifically the recruitment portion of the HR. You have an example of a colleague who is planning to leave for whatever reason and having a means to successfully replace that employee can make a night and day difference in terms of increasing/decreasing the overall cost of the department. To successfully plan ahead not only do you have to have the correct funding in the budget but you also have to monitor employee satisfaction and accordingly predict the final outcome, be it positive or negative in any context; this is arguably the most difficult thing to do for any line manager. Just continuously monitoring that aspect of the HR already puts you one step ahead of the worst case scenario. Next to that, whichever employee in question presents a risk of leaving, their line manager has to have a correct assessment of the workload they hold. This affects any future decision-making in terms of hiring a replacement with the right expertise and level of experience. There are many ways this could be handled, it could even affect the rest of the colleagues in terms of workload if the appropriate decision is made. All this translates into costs, of course. If we go even further than that, the right networking, recruitment channels and effective candidate pipeline could seal the deal with handling this situation in the best possible way without too much hidden costs.

planning, planning ahead, hr, human resources, management, strategy, strategic planning, work coordination
Planning ahead – High organizational skill

Budget creation and spending

A crucial activity in project management which is a fine example for planning ahead and keeping a contingency plan. By carefully examining the needs and requests from whatever kind of project is in place, a person responsible has to calculate the cost of activities for meeting those needs and often their potential misfunction. Having a couple of different offers from whatever topic (machinery, services, collaborations etc.) can help reduce costs further and give more room for additional funding of potential misfunction. A good example of that is facility management as well which operates ad hoc and takes care of the problems on the spot, making sure the business doesn’t stop and keeps on going without interruption.

planning, planning ahead, hr, human resources, management, strategy, strategic planning, work coordination
Careful spending is smart spending

Murphy’s law and action instead of reaction

Murphy’s law states that if something can go wrong, even when it’s completely fine, it will go wrong at some point simply because there is a possibility of that happening. By that logic, and by the logic of this whole article, even when business is booming and everything seems top notch, we should still be prepared for any kind of misfortune, misfunction or potential error in any kind of part of business. Therefore, action should be constant, rather than for us to react to any occurrence. Planning ahead keeps our activities secure, our mindset stress-free (or freeER) and ensures that the flow of the business has as little obstacles as possible.


Planning ahead and keeping things secure in the event that something misfortunate happens is one of the main activities for success, especially in any kind of management. You make your work more efficient, on-going and even easier than it would be otherwise, simply because you’re thinking couple of steps ahead and then lay down the foundation for what will/would be. On top of that, you reduce the possibility of extra costs and maybe even open up a room for other benefits (additional funding, bonuses, etc.). Make your life easier, work more efficient and start planning ahead!

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