Tag Archives: Strategic Workforce Planning

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How He Hires – Richard Branson’s Top Tip

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By Yvonne Manzi
Guest Writer, University of London


I’ve discussed before the importance of good hiring practices, as a bad hire can cost an organization hefty losses in time, money and resources. These can vary of course – based on your organization’s needs and culture, on your own personal hiring style and interviewing techniques, they can vary for many reasons. There is one thing, however, which you should not overlook, and that is applicable to all organizations – personality. British business magnate Richard Branson, in an article he posted on LinkedIn, writes:

“The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.”

“Personality is the key. It is not something that always comes out in interview – people can be shy. But you have to trust your judgement. If you have got a slightly introverted person with a great personality, use your experience to pull it out of them. It is easier with an extrovert, but be wary of people becoming overexcited in the pressure of interviews.”

“Some managers get hung up on qualifications. I only look at them after everything else. If somebody has five degrees and more A grades than you can fit on one side of paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right person for the job. Great grades count for nothing if they aren’t partnered with broad-ranging experience and a winning personality.”

So take it from Richard Branson, who built an empire that only continues to grow. When hiring new employees, look for transferable skills, and bring out the personality in them.


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Strategic HR

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Article written by Sherry Perkins, Profiles International

Our friends at Profiles International recently posted this very true and interesting article on the strategic role of HR within an organization. Let us know what you think about this – you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Examining your seat at the table…

The strategic role of Human Resource Management (HRM) has never been more prevalent as a topic of discussion among HR managers, OD professionals, and senior executives. Nearly every business and professional magazine or scholarly journal features an article that focuses on the strategic influence of human resource management and its effect on the achievement of business results. Few would refute the importance of an organization’s most valued asset: human capital.

Nor would many argue with the essential contribution of those who specialize in the acquisition and optimization of this most valued asset. Yet, the seemingly unspoken resolution that human resource management takes a secondary, if not tertiary, seat of importance at the business table is in direct conflict with the presumptions of the critical role of HRM.

How many of us have been brought to the strategy table long after the business strategy has been determined? Perhaps we have joined the meeting on the last day, to hear the strategy and to be given a directive to hire and onboard a team to support the strategic direction. How many have been excluded from the strategic planning process all together, but rather were sent an email that asks us to develop a communications plan to articulate that strategy to the company-at-large? Most of us have encountered at least one of these occurrences, and may feel that our contribution to the business strategy and direction has been less than influential.

In truth, strategic talent management is a critical business component of strategic business planning, in and of itself. The dynamics of global business management, cultural influences, political and economic factors, intercontinental influences, generational issues, open systems management, and team leadership make the focus on human capital essential for organizational sustainability and growth. What mindset, then, is at the base of flawed thinking that human resource management is merely a support role to the real work of business?  How is it that the business mission, vision, and direction may be documented without any concrete discussion regarding the people resources that will translate that mission, vision, and direction into reality?

There is little doubt that HR managers, HR professionals, OD experts, and talent management specialists are more knowledgeable of people systems and processes than ever before.  We are highly trained, well read, experienced, and certified in every aspect of talent management.  Our learning is intentional, directional, and focused. We are experts in our field and recognized for our craft by each other and by leaders outside our discipline. What more could be desired to take our rightful seat at the table of decision makers?

The not-so-simple answer is that we must understand the businesses with which we intend to integrate. The executives want to know that we “get it” – that we understand the business we are in and can be trusted with ensuring its long-term sustainability. We really cannot fully support what we do not fully understand, and even if we could, we may not be viewed as credible. We must be able to articulate the business direction, the potential inhibitors and enhancers to progress (both internal and external), the trends in the industry, as well as what must be done to remain competitive.  We must learn the language of the industry and the metrics that define success.We must substantially contribute to discussions outside our immediate vernacular.

We must offer proactive HR/OD solutions that are fully integrated into business strategy, so they are not seen as add-ons or “personnel programs”. No executive will trust his/her business to those who are only tangentially connected – we must be all in. Want to be invited to the business table? Bring the meat!


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The Jeepney Syndrome – Succession Planning

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

If you are heading a company, you are guaranteed, sooner or later, to have to find a replacement for an employee. In one word: succession. According to the encyclopedia of management, succession planning involves “using the supply of labor within the organization for future staffing needs.”

One of the greater issues in this area is… not planning at all! Let’s call this phenomenon ‘the Jeepney Syndrome’. The process spurs thoughts as to what would happen if a Jeepney hit a strategic employee. How would this affect the company? Would there be someone to replace him or her? How efficiently would the role be reassigned to someone new?

Unsurprisingly, this creates feelings of unease and perhaps for this reason many companies fail to identify their most talented employees, who could take up senior roles in cases of unexpected dismissals.

Alternatively, it may be that many are not aware of the fact that succession planning is one of the most important human capital investments for companies operating in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly challenging business environment. The process develops a sustainable ‘strategic-talent pipeline’, which creates a pool of readily available leadership talent that then contributes to the company’s chances of future success and survival.

Here, I will familiarize you with the 4 very basic steps involved in succession planning to create some food for thought, particularly aimed at those considering its application.

Conduct a talent review!

– Identify ‘high risk roles’
– Determine who is likely to leave within the next year
– Decide on whether or not you can fill in their role from within the organization
– If so, support the development of these individuals
– If not, begin to seek candidates form external sources

Define ‘position requirements’!

Seeing as strategic positions require significantly more skills and experience than less senior roles, it is important to create elaborate position requirements. This can be accomplished using competency profiles.

Create appropriate ‘people data’ requirements!

Aside from providing simplistic performance appraisals, as would be the case for regular employees, those considered for strategic positions should be appraised in much more detail. For instance, aside from simplistic performance ratings, you could also require an explanation for the rating, as well as a description of the context.

Last but not least, plan suitable development activities!

Again, considering the specific requirements for the position, it will require unique training and development for the candidates. These are likely to be tailored to the individual candidates’ particular weaknesses in relation to the position requirements, as opposed to general training provided for all employees.

Don’t fall prey to the Jeepney Syndrome. Now you know the basic steps to prepare your succession plans!


Tell us about your experiences of the effectiveness of succession planning. How did YOU implement this practice? Tweet us @ProfilesAsiaP or contact us on Facebook!


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HR Planning in Times of Uncertainty

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

Uncertainty

In current times of uncertainty, HR planning is commonly associated with bureaucratic rigidity that is inapplicable to the rapidly changing modern world, where reliance on past statistics gives us little scope to make future forecasts.

But contrary to this widely shared dogma, today’s fast-paced firms need a degree of HR planning if they want their workforces to keep up with the unstable market demands. This has been supported by research from the past decade, which confirms that HR planning continues to make important contributions to the better monitoring of staffing costs and employee numbers, as well as to the maintenance of a workforce profile, which allows for better-informed resourcing decisions.

Broadly speaking, once implemented, HR planning can result in one of 2 forecasts: labor shortages, or labor surpluses. A majority of Western companies will endure the latter due to the recession. However, unlike the Western world, the Philippines have not experienced the effects of the recent financial slump. Instead, the economy is undergoing incredible growth, largely due to heavy foreign direct investment, which has been fuelling cohorts of new ventures. Consequentially, there is a high demand for labor, which is widely available, however rarely skilled. On occasion, this may result in skilled-labor shortages, in which case the employers must resort to: employee overtime, employee outsourcing, or employee retention schemes.

In order to prevent such desperate measures, companies employ HR planning to predict both internal and external labor demand on a constant basis. This way, strategies to tackle employee shortage or surplus can be planned before the problem even arises, thus preventing the labor shortage or surplus from happening, or at least ameliorating the company’s approach.

When analyzing internal demand, there are 5 questions that need to be asked:

1. Is employee turnover high or low? High employee turnover can be an indicator of upcoming labor shortages. On the other hand, low employee turnover may imply the success of retention strategies, meaning that the company will not experience labor shortages.
2. What do the ‘employee movements’ say? How many employees have changed positions to ones within or outside of the company, and why? Employers often use replacement charts, succession plans, or transition matrices in order to track this.
3. How high is employee productivity? If employee productivity is not high enough to fulfill quotas, then this implies labor shortages.
4. Is the organizational performance on the rise or fall? When organizational performance is falling, then the company is likely to experience labor surpluses, as profits fall short of wages.
5. What is the company’s strategic direction? In cases where the company intends on broadening its scope of activities, the expected outcome would be labor shortages.

Analyzing external demand is much more tricky, as this may involve an endless number of factors. The questions below highlight some of the most important issues that should be considered:

– Are there enough unemployed and qualified individuals to satisfy the company’s resourcing needs?
– What are the general levels of unemployment and within relevant occupations?
– What types of skills are available in the area? As mentioned earlier, the question of skills is especially pertinent to the Philippines, where skilled-labor shortages are more likely to occur than in the Western world.
– What are the industry trends?
– What are the government’s legal frameworks?

These questions alone should give you a better idea of your business’s future recruitment challenges. They should also give you an idea of the importance of properly applied HR planning. Perhaps, it’s time to give it a shot!


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