Tag Archives: human capital

Tackling Workforce Planning – A Challenge to Companies in a Post Crisis World

1365277_73297908In a follow up to my recent post ‘Talent Management in a Changing World’, I would like to address the issue of workforce planning which will be a critical game changer for many companies operating in a post financial crisis world. The old rules companies lived by no longer apply. The global financial crisis has brought about significant change in corporate strategy for many companies across the world in the way they allocate financial and human resources in their business environments. Companies have had to adjust their business plans because the company goals have had to be redefined.

For many companies, this means achieving maximum gain with limited resources without compromising on quality. This is a challenge faced by Government’s in the Euro zone with job losses predicted for many industries. Whilst the impact will be felt significantly in the public sector, analysts believe there will be impact on the private sector which is expected to compensate for some of the job losses in the public sector. However, critics believe this is a risky strategy because the linkage between public and private sector through collaborative projects will result in job losses in the private sector too.

This is very much the case in the UK but other countries face continuous challenges such as Greece and Spain and further afield. The new economic reality is that certain industries have disappeared, countless jobs have been lost, markets have declined, and skills have had to be redefined. Companies now need to be more proactive in the deployment of their human capital if they are to meet the challenge of remaining competitive in a post crisis world.

This challenge is faced by western and eastern companies alike. However, there is a greater urgency for companies operating in emerging markets to keep pace with talent management practices of their western counterparts in order to fully capitalize on emerging markets. As companies look to exploit opportunities in BRIC and Future 7(Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam) and indeed Frontier markets (Bangladesh, Philippines, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan), a better understanding of business needs is required by organisations to help them develop effective talent management strategies. Madeline Laurano of Bersin & Associates highlights seven elements that may help executives to better establish their human capital needs:

  1. Support from senior management
  2. Creating “centers of excellence”
  3. Ensuring workforce planning, succession planning and internal mobility are in sync
  4. Identifying and forecasting talent gaps
  5. Ensuring HR departments are involved from the very beginning
  6. Continuous review of workforce planning
  7. Investing in the latest technology

The ultimate goal for companies now is to be lean in every way possible. Correct alignment of business needs with talent requirements will allow companies to get the right people for the right roles in the right markets.

Talent management and retention in a changing world

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The economic changes brought about by the global financial crisis have reshaped the business world. This is a challenge of considerable importance for way human capital is developed and managed.  Successful talent management begins with a proper understanding of how people work effectively and more importantly what it is that makes them tick. Built on to this is the notion that people are motivated by different things. According to renowned author Daniel Pink, there are three things that motivate workers:

 

1)      Workers want to be given autonomy – they want to be in control of their time

2)      Mastery – workers want to make a contribution at work

3)      Workers want to make a contribution likened to a broader purpose in the company

The key takeaway for companies is that they must synchronize these three motivations with their own goals. If these three fit well, a winning situation is created. However, companies also need to address the issue of staff retention. Compensation is not the only reason to ensure employees stay happy and committed. Daniel Pink’s analysis of employee motivation, highlight non – financial factors as being increasingly important in dictating the motivation of employees in a post crisis world.

However, in practical terms the focus must also be on the economic cost. It costs more to hire a new worker than to train an existing worker, so the focus must be on retention. The time has come for companies to think of employee retention in an innovative light.

Socio – economic factors have radically altered the make-up of the average workforce that will impact a company’s recruitment and retention practices. People work across international boundaries and live longer. The work forces of the future will probably be made up of a 20 something, a 40 something and a 60 something worker. Multi – generational teams will be more prominent in the years to come. Companies need to actively think of creating balanced workforces that are rich in both age and experience, and focus on the human side of management. By adopting such practices, companies will be better prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Get the right mix to create the right team

Lizard BalanceHuman capital is one of the most critical areas of a business. In the midst of the talent war, it is now even more important than technology. What is even more important is the caliber of people in a company and the competencies they bring to the table. People are now are the main driver of a business. If companies are to thrive, they must take responsibility for realizing the potential of their staff. They must ensure that any training brings about clearly identifiable and measurable improvements in relevant skills and boosts productivity. However, a pre-condition for this is to have a balanced workforce. A quote by Management Today magazine (2006) captures the essence of this balance by indicating that, “to work well, any company needs a variety of functions – if they unite, it is a premiership side.” A strong team therefore, is made up of a balance of styles. Here are four teamwork styles and their characteristics:

TEAM STYLE 1: Routine Keeper – Tracks details, monitors deadlines, handles paperwork, keeps minutes.

TEAM STYLE 2: People Person – Communicates on multiple levels, builds relationships, brokers solutions, resolves conflicts.

TEAM STYLE 3: Analyst – Evaluates costs, risks and ROI of various options.

TEAM STYLE 4: Visionary – Sees the bigger picture, creates compelling business visions, keeps ahead of trends, thinks outside the box, takes advantage of opportunities.

A lack of styles in any company is likely lead to problems which is precisely why many people working together on teams have differences of opinion. So a company must put in place effective recruiting practices in line with its business objectives. Built on to this is a need for a proper understanding of how each individual works and more importantly what motivates them. When this happens, the company is on course to creating a good team with the right balance of skills and aptitudes.