The root cause of most people management issues can be found in an organisation’s workforce strategy – or the lack thereof.
A few years ago workforce planning was the flavour of the month. Now, it’s being overtaken by strategic workforce planning. There is a difference between the two. While there are a number of definitions of what constitutes strategic workforce planning (or workforce strategy), I like this one:
“A workforce strategy is a form of asset management, the sum of actions taken to acquire, retain, develop, motivate and deploy human capital in the service of an organisation’s mission.”
This asset-based (ie treating people as an asset) approach is more than a suite of HR policies, talent management, succession planning and workforce planning (supply and demand forecasting), ad hoc HR initiatives, etc. It’s a whole-of-workforce plan that extends over the employment life cycle.
Yet not all organisations have developed a comprehensive workforce strategy, and others aren’t clear about their workforce strategy claims. To find out whether you really have developed a strategic workforce strategy, take this test:
Complete these 10 questions by answering True or False
- Most roles aren’t paid at the same market mid-point.
- Recruitment involves different assessment processes for different roles.
- The Employment Value Proposition isn’t the same for all roles.
- We have a made-to-order approach to HR policies and practices.
- Turnover isn’t just reported for the organisation as a whole.
- We don’t segment the workforce on the basis of organisational level/hierarchy.
- There is a defined methodology for identifying critical roles.
- “Make”, “buy” and roles suitable for outsourcing have all been identified.
- The link between the importance of various roles to the business strategy is well understood.
- The existing workforce strategy is focused on strengthening the critical capability(s) and core competencies of the organisation.
What does your score mean?
If you answered True to all of these questions, then it’s likely you’ve developed a comprehensive workforce strategy, even if it’s not in the form of a documented plan.
If you answered False to only one or two of these questions, then you are well on the way to developing a workforce strategy.
If you answered False to three or more of these questions, you probably aren’t differentiating your workforce roles sufficiently and it’s doubtful you have developed a comprehensive and effective workforce or human capital strategy.
People management challenges in the contemporary workplace
Many people are ‘locked’ into models and mindsets that are now either obsolete or of limited utility.
That’s a problem because the people management challenges in the contemporary workplace are many and varied. If you have ad hoc approaches to problem solving, you’re probably treating the symptoms and not the cause of your issues.
The adverse consequences without a workforce strategy
If you don’t have a workforce strategy, you’re opening yourself up to a host of adverse consequences including:
- A lack of insight and poor, inconsistent or ad hoc people decisions;
- A waste of resources (e.g., could include paying the wrong people too much and the right people too little);
- An issue where you lock in low performers by over-delivering, and push out high performers by under-delivering on expectations;
- Operational inefficiencies, poorer performance, excessive vacancies and reduced capabilities resulting in dissatisfied customers;
- A lack of labour flexibility;
- Lower engagement levels and increased turnover;
- Ignorance of people risks; and
- A lower ROI in people.
If you’d like more information, an Advanced Workforce Strategies white paper on the above topic can be downloaded from: www.advancedworkforcestrategies.com
Colin Beames, managing director of advanced workforce strategies, is an international presenter, author and global thought leader on strategic workforce planning.