Human Resources Management Process Improvement

What Is a Human Resources Diagram? The 7 Steps of HR Planning and When to Use HR Diagrams (Plus 4 Diagram Examples)


Business is a product of human imagination and effort. Business processes rely on the power of human capital, meaning every organization desires to recruit and maintain a skilled workforce.

With proper attention, investment and planning, companies can realise the potential of employees for the benefit of a business and its objectives. But to do so requires an understanding of the roles, goals and processes of a workforce. This understanding demands careful HR planning and human resources diagrams aid this planning process.

In this FAT FINGER article, you’ll learn what a human resources diagram is, and when to use one during the 7 steps of HR planning. You’ll then learn about the 4 different types of HR diagrams and how they can support HR teams and the business as a whole.

The 4 different HR diagram types we’ll look at are as follows:

  1. Human Resources Organizational Chart
  2. Human Resources Matrix
  3. Human Resources Flowchart and Process Management
  4. Human Resources Fishbone Diagram

With that said, let’s jump straight to it! 

  • What is a human resources diagram?
  • 7 key steps of human resource planning using human resources diagrams
  • 4 types of human resources diagrams

What is a human resources diagram?

A human resources diagram is a visual diagram used to plan and facilitate the management of human resources. These diagrams help HR teams in the smooth running of HR functions and processes. Human resources diagrams are useful for planning processes, team collaborations, and assigning tasks. The needs and demands of the HR department are analysed in order to delegate tasks, address issues and develop employee skill sets.

The benefits of human resources diagrams vary depending on what type of diagram you’re using. But in a broad sense, human resources diagrams will:

  1. Support team collaboration for planning HR processes, strategies and solving problems. 
  2. Identify process inefficiencies, bottlenecks and errors for process optimization. 
  3. Clarify employee tasks and provide the information needed for your employees to execute these tasks effectively. 
  4. Keep track of HR operations.

7 key steps of human resource planning using human resources diagrams

For your HR teams to effectively support your business, you need to establish the foundation of your HR functions. For this, you’ll need to conduct proper human resource planning, using HR diagrams to support this planning. And just as HR planning needs HR diagrams, HR diagrams feed into the planning process, using the information obtained during planning for their creation.

With this in mind, listed below are the 7 key steps of human resources planning and how to create a human resources diagram.

  • Step #1 – Identify objectives: First you need to identify the key objectives of the company in order to understand the human resource capabilities needed to achieve these objectives. 
  • Step #2 – Create an inventory: Create an inventory of current human resources. This is an inventory of employee skills, talents and experiences which should match the skills needed to fulfil your company’s goals. The HR Organizational Chart or HR Matrix will help you visualize this information, by showing employee roles and where they sit in a company’s hierarchy. These are our first two HR diagram examples.
  • Step #3 – Make estimates: Estimate the number of employees, and the performance needed from them to meet the future goals of your company. Understand how your employees work together to complete your business systems. For this, you need clarity on who reports to whom. A Human Resources Matrix is useful during this stage.
  • Step #4 – Determine demands: Next, determine your capability of meeting company objectives with your current employees. Is there a need to outsource, hire, or train new employees? 
  • Step #5 – Create an action plan: Whether you’re hiring new employees or utilizing existing ones, you need to create an action plan that details how the HR department will help achieve company-wide goals. 
  • Step #6 – Implement the plan: With your plan of action in place, you can smooth out the details. You want to make sure every employee understands the plan and the company goals to ensure full cooperation and success.
  • Step #7 – Monitor progress: After the plan is implemented, you then want to closely monitor progress. Take your time to consider changes that occur and pinpoint areas that need improvement. Then, make the necessary adjustments. To monitor progress you need full transparency over the processes being changed. For this use a HR Flowchart diagram and process management. To solve problems use a HR Fishbone Diagram.

4 types of human resources diagrams (plus examples)

The different HR diagrams come into play at different stages of the planning process. Below we list 4 types of HR diagrams you can use to facilitate the HR planning process.

Human resources diagram #1: Human Resource Organizational Chart 

A HR Organizational Chart shows the internal structure of a department. This includes employees, their roles and responsibilities, who reports to whom, plus other relationships between them.

These Organizational Charts come into their own in larger companies, which have larger teams involved in complex processes. For the smooth running of any department, it’s best practice to have teams made up of individuals each specialized for one function. Granted, for smaller companies, individual demands will be more diverse. Yet, there’s still some segmentation of roles. For both small, mid-sized and large companies, this segmentation creates a hierarchy giving clarity over employee roles, and how they can contribute to the company.

A HR Organizational Chart will identify the different functions within your organization, collect staff details, define employee roles and identify where an employee sits in a company’s overall hierarchy. This helps create an inventory of your current human resources, a vital step during HR planning.

Human resources diagram #2: Human resource matrix 

A HR Matrix is similar to the HR Organizational Chart, yet this diagram is used when employees report through more than one channel or to more than one leader. It’s called a matrix because it’s laid out in a grid or matrix pattern. 

A HR Matrix is best used in situations that demand daily collaboration between mid-level managers, employees on different teams or when team coordination can’t be solved via meetings or quarterly syncs. 

The HR Matrix aims to sidestep what is termed as the Silo effect – this is when teams and individuals keep operational information to themselves rather than sharing. This can result in top down management and micromanagement, shown to be damaging to an employee’s productivity and happiness at work.

Using the HR Matrix, employees have more autonomy to make decisions in real-time, though they must take it upon themselves to interact with other teams when solving issues to maintain that autonomy. The matrix structure allows individual team members to manage their progress and growth while balancing objectives set by various managers. A HR Matrix shows how employees work together to deliver results, which is useful information to have when making estimates during the HR planning process. With this information, you can determine if recruitment or training are needed to meet company-wide goals.

Human resources diagram #3: Human Resources Flowchart and Process Management

Your HR department is built from processes. These processes are made up of steps that, when executed in the right order, give the desired outcome. These processes have to be meticulously designed to ensure their smooth running. Examples of the different HR processes include:

  1. Human resource planning (i.e. recruitment, selecting, hiring, training, induction, orientation, evaluation, promotion and layoff).
  2. Employee relations and conflict resolution.
  3. Payroll, holiday, and benefits.

Developing efficient processes demands an understanding of every process step, bottleneck, and error. For this, you need complete process transparency, which is given when you document your HR operations

You can use various methods for process documentation and management, but one effective means is via the HR Flowchart, which is our third HR diagram type.

The above image is a very basic flowchart diagram but gives you an idea of how to document your HR processes using this method. Flowcharts are a tool that not only monitor the progress of your HR department, but also your business as a whole. This means HR teams can assess the effectiveness of changes introduced on a company-wide level, vital for the monitor progress stage of HR planning. The functioning of human capital can be closely monitored by a HR team to ensure business goals are met.

Flowcharts are, however, limited in what they’re able to capture, which means not all business process information is captured. This is why it’s a good idea to transfer the information from your HR Flowchart into a process documentation and management tool like FAT FINGER.

Watch the below video for a quick introduction to FAT FINGER and how to use this software.

FAT FINGER documents business operations in a checklist format. With FAT FINGER’s advanced features, you can build in the process complexity that isn’t captured in your HR Flowchart diagram. Advanced features include conditional logic, e-signatures, long-form, and short-form textual responses, media compatibility, automation plus data capture and transfer. 

In addition, process documentation in FAT FINGER is easy using FAT FINGER’s drag-and-drop process builder.

Human resources diagram #4: Human Resource Fishbone Diagram

Just like any other department, your HR department will encounter internal problems. Yet, on top of these internal issues, the HR department is also responsible for resolving company wide, employee-related issues.

HR personnel must act as investigators and dig deep into a matter, gather enough information, ask probing questions, analyze, draw conclusions and apply the right solution. Luckily there are methods out there to assist the problem-solving responsibility of HR teams, such as the Fishbone Diagram. 

Otherwise known as the Ishikawa Diagram, the Fishbone Diagram is created to show the potential causes of a specific event. In this way, the method gives a structured approach to finding the root cause of a problem.

As the name suggests, this diagram mimics a fish skeleton. The underlying problem is placed at the fish’s head (face right) and the causes extend to the left as the bones of the skeleton. The main causes are represented by the fish’s ribs. The sub-branches stem from these main causes to define the root causes, as the user repeatedly asks why something has happened at each stage. The aim is to find the sole cause of a problem, meaning there can be as many branches and sub-branches as deemed necessary.

Fishbone diagrams help identify cause and effect relationships, create a broad thinking pattern, and so get down to the root causes of a problem.

The Fishbone Diagram is a great HR diagram tool to use alongside HR process management. Problems identified from a documented business operation are then easily dealt with using a structured approach. Use the Fishbone Diagram as an HR diagram tool during the monitor progress stage of HR planning.

Use human resources diagrams to help your HR team plan and meet your company goals 

A human resources diagram is a tool for HR teams to facilitate HR planning. Effective HR planning is vital to support and nurture human capital vital for an organization’s success. 

There are different types of human resources diagrams, each type providing a visual stimulus for HR planning, and facilitating the operations of the human resources department. In this FAT FINGER article, we presented 4 different types of HR diagrams and explained how they can be used – and are needed – in the HR planning process. 

Your HR department is the eyes and ears for employee welfare. With this amount of responsibility, its vital HR teams are effective in their work. A human resources diagram simplifies HR systems and processes for efficient HR planning. Ultimately this allows a business to run as smoothly as possible.