In essence, workforce planning is simple: ensuring there are the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time and at the right price to execute business strategy. However, because it’s all about people and because it takes a longer-term look, in practice it’s much harder than it sounds.
As Dilys Robinson of HR Magazine puts it: understanding workforce demand is notoriously difficult. Priorities shift, managers get distracted and the economy does unexpected things. Added to this there’s often a lack of strategic direction, poor quality data, the battle to get workforce planning on the senior management agenda and to get the organisation thinking long-term, along with the difficulty of extracting sensible demand forecasts from managers.
Common problems include:
The end result is that workforce forecasts look remarkably similar to the existing picture, even though managers, often admit that their existing workforce profile is far from ideal.
Success Factors, in the paper Workforce Planning Pitfalls, outlines 6 common pitfalls to look out for when beginning the process of workforce planning:
Workforce planning will continue to grow as a critical element of business success. Understanding how the process works, how to demonstrate its impact and how to avoid common pitfalls will enable organisations to focus on what really matters: having the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time and at the right price to execute business strategy.
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Previous articles in this series:
Resources: Overcoming the Challenges of Strategic Staffing
The life of modern-day leaders is more demanding than ever. Internally, they need to motivate diverse groups of people, work across organisational boundaries, improve efficiency and achieve growth. Externally, they face a complex and globalised environment in which they have to keep ahead of competitors and exceed the expectations of other stakeholders.
According to a survey conducted at the Center for Creative Leadership, involving 763 leaders across seven counties, there are six primary leadership challenges facing all leaders no matter where they are in the world:
These are difficult challenges, and many leaders feel ill-prepared to tackle them. The most frequently mentioned challenge is developing managerial effectiveness. Here are some recommendations:
The division between task- and relationship-oriented leadership has long been a challenge. Three of the challenges namely inspiring others, developing employees and leading a team; are all related to the relationship-oriented part of leadership. Here are some considerations:
Guiding change is a key challenge for leaders. Organisations exist in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) and leaders need to be adept at managing, mobilising, leading, and dealing with change. Some suggestions include:
Another frequent challenge is managing internal stakeholders and politics. To more effectively accomplish this, leaders need to develop and enhance their political savvy, defined as “the ability to effectively understand others at work and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal and/or organisational objectives.” There are several ways to do this:
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Leadership styles are not fixed in place, cast in stone for all time and permanently attached to an individual’s personality. They are interchangeable. The best leaders know that different styles are applicable to different situations and to different people, and will choose the style best suited to get the desired results. It’s probably true to say, however, that each leader has an instinctive, dominant style. Following on from last month’s article on leadership theories, let’s look at some of the main leadership styles:
Useful for when there is no need for team input or input will not change the end decision. This style has the leader making decisions without consulting anyone and has been shown to be the most demotivating.
Builds consensus through participation and is most effective when the leader needs the team to buy into or have ownership of a decision, plan, or goal. It is not the best choice when a quick decision is called for.
Leaders offer support and advice but largely give the team freedom in how they manage their work. Very high job satisfaction for people with high autonomy but damaging for people who don’t manage their time well or need additional knowledge, skills or motivation to get their job done well.
Moves people towards a shared vision and openly shares information, telling them where to go but not how to get there. This style is best when a new direction is needed but can fail when trying to motivate more experienced experts or peers.
This style connects wants to organisational goals, helping people find their strengths and weaknesses and tying these to career aspirations and actions. This style is good when delegating challenging assignments, demonstrating faith that demands justification leading to high levels of loyalty. Done badly, this style looks like micro-managing.
A very collaborative style focused on emotional needs over work needs, creating people connections and harmony. Often used alongside visionary leadership, it’s useful for healing rifts and getting through stressful situations, but used badly allows for the avoidance of emotionally distressing situations such as negative feedback.
This “do as I do” style expects and personifies excellence and self-direction. Great if staff are already highly skilled and self-motivated and quick results are needed. Over the long term though, this style can lead to exhaustion and decline.
Soothes fears, gives clear direction and expects full compliance (agreement is not needed). This approach is best in times of crisis when safety is at stake, when you need rapid in questioned compliance or with problem employees who do not respond to other methods. It should be avoided in almost every other case, because it can alienate people and stifle flexibility and inventiveness.
Rigorous rule-followers, this leader ensures that people follow procedures precisely.
Appropriate for managing people who perform routine tasks or for work involving serious safety risks or large sums of money. This style is much less effective when flexibility, creativity, or innovation are called for.
This style is exemplified by integrity, self-awareness, empathy, humility and high emotional intelligence. Transformational leaders motivate people and communicate well. They set clear goals, have excellent conflict resolution skills and hold themselves accountable for their actions.
Charismatic leadership resembles transformational leadership: both types of leaders inspire and motivate team members. The difference lies in their intent. Transformational leaders want to transform their teams and organisations, while charismatic leaders often focus on themselves and their own ambitions.
If you’d like to identify your instinctive leadership style, here’s a handy online quiz.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
In the first two articles in this series, I looked at the reasons you should care about strategic staffing and key issues driving the need for it. It’s so much more than the 3 R’s of recruitment, retention and retirement; it’s the strategic alignment of a company’s human capital with its business direction so it can achieve its mission, goals and objectives. Today, I’d like to outline a process for this strategic alignment.
Step One: Set the Strategic Direction
Review the performance requirements of your organization’s strategic plan and annual performance / business plan, along with work activities required to carry out the goals and objectives of the strategic plan (long term) and performance plan (short term). Identify all core skills and competencies needed for success. Start with specific key positions or occupations, particularly critical staffing issues or job categories; not entire business units or organisations. Interview senior executives and leaders to gain their buy-in and ensure they understand the importance and value of the planning exercise.
Step 2: Analyse the Workforce, Identify Skills Gaps, and Conduct Workforce Analysis
Step 3: Develop Your Action Plan
Refine needs in terms of total numbers and competency requirements. Identify strategies to close gaps, plans to implement the strategies, and measures for assessing strategic progress. These strategies could include such things as recruiting, training / retraining, restructuring, contracting out, succession planning, technological enhancements, etc. Critical roles should not just be senior roles but those that bring significant value or are “mission critical” to the overall value chain of the business. Review with key stakeholders to gain buy-in, confirm their role and establish critical success factors and ways of working together (collaboration on interviewing, tools in place, hiring process, who has final say on compensation, etc.).
Step 4: Implement Action Plan
Ensure that human, technology and fiscal resources are in place, roles are understood, and the necessary communication, marketing, and coordination is occurring to execute the plan and achieve the strategic objectives. Know where your company will look for the talent it needs (internally versus externally); the build versus buy talent approach. Integrate with other company planning processes.
Step 5: Monitor, Evaluate, and Revise
Monitor progress against milestones, assessing for continuous improvement purposes, and adjusting the plan to make course corrections to address new workforce issues.
In the next articles, I’ll be looking at some tools and tips for effective workforce planning. In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
The cost of a new hire is significant. The cost of a bad hire is infinitely more: hiring costs + total compensation + cost of maintaining the employee + disruption costs + severance costs + mistakes, failures and missed opportunities. Talent decisions have real bottom line implications and so it’s critically important to examine every step in your hiring process to make sure that, as often as humanly possible, you end up with the right candidate in the role.
How do you know whether or not your talent selection system is working for you? The following points are good indications:
I came across this list compiled by The Partnering Group, which outlines the 10 questions you should be able to answer yes to for each of the key steps in the talent selection process (line management can be considered subject matter experts):
|Selection Criteria||Do you conduct a job or competency analysis to identify key criteria?|
|Are subject matter experts involved in the analysis?|
|Is the job / competency analysis conducted and reviewed regularly?|
|Selection Techniques||Are structured selection techniques used to evaluate job candidates? If so, are the techniques designed based on a job / competency analysis?|
|Are subject matter experts involved in the design of the selection techniques?|
|Are the selection techniques validated following legal guidelines? If so, is the validation study documented in a technical report?|
|Is the scoring process determined based on the validation process?|
|Are hiring managers trained on the selection process?|
|Onboarding & Development||Do selection results inform the onboarding process?|
|Do selection results inform the talent development process?|
In developing job descriptions remember to take into account your organisational talent profile – certain qualities and attributes will fit better within your culture and with your corporate values and will better drive your business strategy forward. Have a look at your current top performers – their qualities are likely to be good predictors of success. It’s important, also, to evaluate the whole person, not just their technical skills. Behaviours, motives, values and personality traits are just as important.
In today’s competitive climate it’s essential to ensure alignment between employee skills and the company’s culture, values and business direction. If I can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Mankind has long been fascinated with what, exactly, makes one person emerge as a leader over others. Personality? Character? The situation? It’s only been since the mid 19th century or so, however, that we have formalised this fascination into theoretical exploration. Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished leaders from followers, while subsequent theories looked at variables such as situational factors and skill levels. Eight major theories, commonly categorised by which aspect is believed to define the leader the most, have emerged:
Originally proposed by Thomas Carlyle in the 1840’s, the Great Man theory assumes that leadership is inherent; that great men are born not made – they are destined from birth to emerge as leaders. The term “Great Man” was used because, at the time, leadership was thought of primarily as a male quality, and leaders were often ascribed the qualities of mythical heroes.
Great Man theory did much to establish and reinforce popular support for trait-based leadership thinking then, and for many years afterwards.
Similar to Great Man theory, Trait theory assumes people are born with inherent traits, some of which are particularly suited to leadership and those with the right (or a sufficient) combination of the right traits will make good leaders. The focus is on discovering what these traits are, often by studying successful leaders. Indeed distinct traits DO arise in the profiles of effective leaders and in the way that followers desire to be led; however, this does not alone adequately explain what effective leadership is or how it can be developed.
General acceptance of trait-based leadership theory remained virtually unchallenged for around a hundred years.
Behavioural theory offers a new perspective – that leadership is based on definable, learnable behavior: leaders are made, rather than born. This theory looks at what leaders do rather than who they are. This implies that anyone can learn to be a leader simply by learning how to behave like one: a remarkable shift. Behavioural theory divides leaders into two categories: those concerned with task and those concerned with people.
This theory suggests the ideal leadership style is one that takes others into account. The assumptions, as summarised by changing minds, are:
Situational theory proposes that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational variables. Different styles of leadership may be more appropriate for certain types of decision-making. For example, in a situation where the leader is the most knowledgeable and experienced member of a group, an authoritarian style might be most appropriate. In other instances where group members are skilled experts, a democratic style would be more effective.
Similar to Situational theory, Contingency theory proposes that success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation: there is no one best way of leading – a leadership style effective in some situations may not be successful in others. The main difference is that Situational theory focuses more on the behaviours the leader should adopt, given situational factors (often about follower behavior), whereas Contingency theory takes a broader view that includes contingent factors about leader capability and other variables within the situation.
This theory bases leadership on a system of reward and punishment. Transactional leadership is often used in business: when employees are successful, they are rewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished. Additional assumptions are:
The essence of transformational theory is that leaders transform their followers through their inspirational nature and charismatic personalities. They inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions, and motivations to work towards common goals. Overall, they balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental state of their followers. Perhaps more than other approaches, they are people-oriented and believe that success comes first and last through deep and sustained commitment.
The leadership field has made great strides forward since the 1840’s in uncovering whether leaders are born or made, how followers affect how successful leaders can be, how some charismatic leaders build up societies and others destroy them, as well as what impact leading through technology has on individual and collective performance. Where leadership theory and research will take us over the next decade is indeed intriguing.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
What we want as employers is simple: to find the right people, keep them happy and have them stay. However this seems to be increasingly challenging to achieve: young employees want more career growth; people change jobs more often; the work environment in companies has not kept up with the outside world; management doesn’t always understand how to motivate younger people; an aging workforce; the skills gap and the resulting fierce competition for talent.
According to Gallup research, only one in eight workers are actively engaged at work and likely to be making a positive contribution. The signs of a disengaged workforce are myriad: missed deadlines, poor customer service, careless (and costly) mistakes, and employees who count the minutes until they can leave for the day. Statistically, according to Gallup, in companies with a disengaged workforce, employees take 37 percent more sick days and the inventory shrinkage rate is 28 percent greater.
Ultimately, this is what you risk if your employees’ engagement level is low:
By way of contrast, companies with highly engaged employees outperform those without by 202%, product defects are up to 41 percent less common, and safety incidents happen 48 percent less often.
And naturally, companies with high engagement levels have 25-65 percent better retention rates than companies with low engagement. Unfortunately most companies feel they have a long way to go. According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends Report 2014 (in which executives rate “retention and engagement” their No. 2 priority):
An alarming number of executives rate themselves or their companies as either “weak” or just “adequate” in several key retention capabilities:
Employees are an “appreciating asset,” as Josh Bersin puts it: the longer they stay with a company the more productive they are and the more they add value. Our focus as employers, however, cannot solely be on retention or “holding people here.” Better to keep people engaged through measures that build commitment, align employee goals and experience with corporate purpose, and provide engaging work and a culture of development and growth. In other words, we want people to stay because they want to, not because they have no other alternative.
Ultimately the most successful companies are those that know engagement and retention are more than just buzzwords. They have a common sense of mission, a deep respect for their employees and put time, energy, and money into building a highly engaging environment.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Recruitment is more often than not a tactical game. We project one or two moves ahead – for the coming financial year, say – or we scramble reactively when someone resigns. We might use the word strategic when it comes to HR conversations but we very rarely understand what that means.
I think we grasp, in theory, the value of long-term talent planning but very rarely – in a world that changes at a dizzying pace – do companies adopt the infrastructure necessary to fully execute on it. Quite often this is because successful strategic staffing planning requires sweeping changes to company-wide processes and procedures, and demands the full involvement and commitment of all levels of management. Not an easy challenge.
So we fully understand its importance let’s look at strategic staffing in context. To do this, I find the following from Mary B. Young, DBA, of The Conference Board, extremely helpful:
“Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is the process that translates business strategy into its workforce implications. But business strategy comes first, answering the “why” question:
Once the “why” is understood, SWP helps business and HR leaders answer four more questions:
Why is it so crucial that we become truly strategic vs. tactical in our staffing approach? There are a number of issues driving this need (beyond the obvious: the more strategic a player we become, the more chance we win the game):
Strategic staffing/workforce planning puts you “one step ahead” of these issues, helping you create a workforce that is, and will continue to be, flexible and responsive in these fast-changing times. Its many advantages, however, are not limited to recruitment and selection; it also provides a framework for other HR policies and programmes such as training, compensation, and diversity management.
In upcoming articles, I will be looking at how to get started along with models for effective workforce planning. In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
So you’re ready to start your search for a new job? It can seem like a daunting task when you are just starting out. First you need to know where to look and, as the search can pretty quickly become quite complex, what information to keep track of.
Before you begin
Make sure you know what kind of job you are looking for and in what kind of company, combined with what you are qualified for. You’ll preferably want to work for a company that fits with you as a person, in a job that plays to your strengths and gives you access to the opportunities you want for future growth.
Also take a good hard look at your online presence, which is where potential employers and recruiters will often begin their search. Make sure your social networking profiles don’t contain anything embarrassing and that they are 100% up-to-date. Change your LinkedIn heading to indicate that you are open to opportunities and make sure you have at least 3 recommendations which is what you will need to show up in a recruiter search. You can enhance your chances of showing up in the results by using keywords relating to the position in your heading, title and summary. Pay particular attention to spelling and grammar as you will be rated on things like this! We will be looking at the best ways of putting your cover letter and CV together in a later article but online searches often happen before you have submitted anything so get this done before you begin your search.
While you’re at it, write up an elevator speech: a short 30 second summary of who you are, your unique value and what you are looking for, you never know who you might bump into.
Where to look:
Plan your activities using a calendar and keep your search focused. Applying for as many jobs as possible, even ones you are not qualified for, is actually a waste of your time and the employers and will not help you get a job any faster. Target a select group with a well-considered job-search strategy.
Remember, finding a job is a job and it pays to be organized. Keeping track will also show you what is and what isn’t working so you can adjust your strategy as you go along.
Here’s what to keep track of to keep your search organized (with thanks to job-hunt.org):
You can simpy use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track or if you are interested in an online service that will assist you in tracking your job search, check out:
Good luck with your job search, we know you can succeed. As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
The workplace as we knew it has changed radically. And it has changed fast. We’ve looked at what top experts are predicting in order to bring you a summary of workplace trends for 2015. According to Jacob Morgan of the FOW Community, five overarching trends will continue to shape the future of work: new behaviours; technologies; the millennial (and beyond) workforce; mobility and globalisation. These, amongst an ever-escalating skills shortage.
According to Dan Schwabel of Forbes magazine, the following specific trends, amongst others, are predicted for the workplace during 2015:
We also believe that flexwork will continue to be a focus, including variations on the theme such as job sharing. However, while flexwork is becoming more commonplace, training for success is rare. A 2015 imperative will be providing flexible workers and their managers with the training, development, coaching and other tools they need to make the arrangements work for the individual, team and organisation.
The future is here! If we can be of any assistance, please get in touch with me.