Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to Implement Strategic Workforce Planning Collaboratively

The point is how to fit the right talent to the right position at the right time.

Talent is the most invaluable business asset and human capital investment is strategic imperative for companies’ long term growth. However, from industry survey,  45% or organizations feel they are unprepared to meet their future talent needs and 35% lack confidence in their Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) process. What’re the biggest obstacles for SWP, how do people, companies and organizations need to rethink their strategies and to work together as partner rather than competitors to compete for the future?

Strategic workforce planning requires collaboration among HR staff, managers & executives. But many organization leave Strategic Work Planning (SWP) to HR alone. SWP really is a collaborative effort. You have to look at it holistically be it as a department or ultimately at the organizational level. What may not be a perfect fit for one vacancy may be the ultimate fit for another. The trick is when you find the TALENT to make sure they get placed into the most conducive environment where they can flourish and make the maximum contribution not just to the business but to their own life. However, in most of organizations, cross-functional collaboration within the business only occurs occasionally, the amount of segregation and number of silos, the lack of co-operation and amount of competition in the workforce are still the business reality today. Of course HR needs to collaborate for SWP but then it always should have been collaborating in all strategic efforts. It isn't magic but it does have a lot to do with leadership and corporate culture.

The point is how to fit the right talent to the right position at the right time. The truth is that everyone has certain talent. There is an abundance of it.  It should be HR's prime responsibility to identify each and every person's talent and tailor the right talent to the right position at the right time. identify the talent with the right attitude and aptitude, add to that at least 10 000 hours of consistent improvement with trial and error, and a can do attitude of persistence, and you will probably get “the right eyes” to recognizing talent when you hire the mind and character, not just search for keywords of narrow skills. It is not just about what paper you have hanging on the wall, it is about what you practically do with it for the betterment of all mankind that is important. It is getting to that next step, when you know it is not about you, but about uplifting others, so you get uplifted as well.

“Just-in-time recruiting” rules the day, but it is ineffective in most of organizations. Whereas the larger corporate community recognizes the need for workforce planning, it has never been widely successfully implemented for the following reasons: (1) Nearly all companies engage in "just-in-time recruiting." When a need is identified, an employee requisition is generated and staffing is tasked with quickly finding the talent to fill the need. But an individual can only be recruited when she is ready to make a move. This meant that timing of need to fill and desire to move was critical...which is seldom the case. (2) Business needs move so quickly that the talent needed tomorrow is very difficult to (3) Due to headcount (cost) control, very few companies are willing to give managers and staffing organizations the green light to hire when talent is found, fearing that over staffing would result. Again, just-in-time staffing rules the day. with the just in time nature of recruitment from a historical perspective and therefore it forced people to hunt talented recruiters who had all the keyword searching skills you are looking for and could make immediate impact. It has meant that you didn't train or develop talent for long term,  you reacted and battled spot fires and then once a year you strategically planned knowing that it would only be occasionally used or even implemented.

Look through the alternative talent pipeline and source candidates across-geographical boundary. The talent pool is there but you need to find ways of properly aligning the available skill (always in a state of flux) to the needs of the business. More often than not, you need to look through the alternative talent pipeline, you need to source candidates in multiple global locations, talent is precious and recruiting is like treasure hunting, but talent can be found. Of course this opens up a host of attached debates such as: how is internal talent developed? How to take on early career graduates in a way that they can add benefit quickly (be trained and retained)?, how to retain existing mid-career talent? You need to utilize technology to gather the data from multiple sources & leverage sophisticated analytics in talent management.

As business executives and workforce planning professionals, you have to embrace the business side of HR and all that entails including the risk that thorough analysis, and sophisticated software tools may not be favorable to reflect the lack of impact from the way you currently plan. To change means working more collaboratively and make more wise investment, but done right the outcome is worth the sacrifice.


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