HR professionals are constantly looking for new tools. Below is a list of pro-active HR planning tools that might help you to improve your companies competitive advantage.
Corporate Head count “Fat” Assessment Plan
Ever wonder why the decision that we need layoffs seems to come up as a surprise? Why not establish a set of assessment tools that will let you know in advance where head count and overhead costs are excessive.
Redeployment / Agility Plans
In this changing world it is not uncommon for new markets and products to open (and close) rapidly. Companies need to have a strategy to remain “agile” and to be able to move people, and resources rapidly from areas of low return to areas of a higher return.
Smoke” Detectors (Predictors)
If HR is to be proactive it needs to be able to anticipate problems. Developing HR systems and metrics known as “smoke detectors” that indicate potential problems might give you sufficient time to develop plans and strategies to either avoid the problem or minimize its impact.
Bench Strength (Back Fill) Plan
In time of high turnover, it’s increasingly essential to have a strategy of identifying and developing individuals that can take over if an employee leaves. A bench strength plan differs from traditional succession planning in that it only covers replacing key jobs within a single department. It is not a company-wide succession plan. Individual managers are held responsible for developing at least one individual to fill every key job.
Employee Challenge Plan
One of the primary reasons employees leave their jobs is due to a lack of challenge. HR can dramatically increase retention rates if it gets managers to develop individual “Challenge Plans” for each worker. The plan is reviewed each month to ensure that the individual is constantly growing and feels challenged.
A retention plan is a corporate strategy to lower turnover. The first step is to identify key performers and hard to fill positions. Individuals that may be “at risk” are identified. Individuals or position -wide strategies are then developed to increase their retention rates. Additional efforts are made to identify why people stay in their jobs and why people leave.
Quality of Labor Supply Forecasts
Identifying the “quality” of the future labor supply is a medium term strategy based on the assumption that the available labor force will not have the competencies and skills that your company needs. Accurate forecasting will allow a company to prepare training and development plans to upgrade the available talent. Adequate preparation will give you a competitive talent advantage over our rivals.
Horizontal Progression Plan
Because most companies have delayered or eliminated many management positions there are fewer opportunities for promotion to stimulate workers. As a result, companies need to develop horizontal transfer and job rotation plans to ensure the continued development of both technical and managerial skills among your top employees.
Work/Life Balance Supply/Demand Forecasts
New hires, as well as our current workers are demanding an increasing array of benefits and work life balance options. HR needs to develop strategies to accurately assess what those work life balance demands will be. It must also be able to forecast what percentage of your work force will choose to participate in work life balance programs like job sharing and sabbaticals. This forecast will enable you to be prepared for the decreased amount of hours your employees will be willing to put in.
Learning / Knowledge Plan
Companies are becoming increasingly aware that a major competitive advantage occurs when a company can rapidly acquire information/solutions and swiftly share them throughout the company. HR can help by assisting managers in developing individual and corporate wide learning plans and strategies to increase your speed of learning and the application of that knowledge within your company.
In order to rapidly redeploy resources and fill unexpected vacancies HR must develop computerized competency inventories. Such inventories allow you to “throw” talent at a problem because we are aware of which individuals in your corporation have the needed competecies to solve that problem. These inventories do not require people to move between positions as they can also be used as sources for advice and benchmarking.
In order to retain employees it is essential that we have a strategy for identifying and meeting the changing needs of your workers. By asking workers What projects they might like to work on? What skills they would like to develop? and What individuals or teams would they like to work with? managers can develop strategies for increasing a worker excitement and productivity levels.
Candidate Expectation (offer acceptance criteria) Forecast
The increased number of job openings and the “unique” expectations of the current crop of generation Xer’s and college hires makes it increasingly more difficult to get candidates to accept an offer. By using focus groups and surveys companies can identify and forecast the unique offer acceptance demands of it’s recruits. Accurate forecasts can give the company sufficient time to develop the array of programs and benefits that are increasingly essential to get a candidate to say yes.
HR Competitive Analysis
As Top Management become increasingly aware of the value of strong HR programs it is demanding that each and every program we offer is superior to that of your direct competitors. This requires a side by side and program by program s assessment on how every HR program we currently have is superior to your competitors. In addition, in order to continually improve, HR must show an improvement each year in your “this year to last years” comparison.
Bad Management Identification Program
One of the primary reasons that employees quit their jobs are the bad management practices of their direct supervisor. Companies often thrown managers into their jobs with little training or preparation Through the use of surveys, 360 degree assessments and interviews companies can identify “bad managers”. The organization can then develop strategies for fixing these managers, transferring them back to more technical jobs or for releasing them.
Because managers are responsible for meeting many employee needs that are cited as reasons for employee turnover (communicating with the worker, challenging them, recognizing their efforts etc.) fixing bad managers may be the single most important factor in increasing productivity and decreasing turnover.
Talent Acquisition Through Mergers & Acquisition Plan
There are ways to acquire talent beyond traditional recruiting. Acquiring “intact” teams and large numbers of talented people (with similar values) rapidly is possible by having HR “scout out” target firms and then recommending their acquisition just for their employees.
Targeted Succession plans
Targeted succession plans are narrowly focused strategies for ensuring that individuals are available to fill vacant key positions in project teams. Targeted areas often include major software implementations and product development teams. Most succession plans have often failed because they were too broad. Targeted plans allow the focus and forecasting to be more narrowly applied with the goal of increasing the accuracy of the planning.
Turnover / Exit Forecast
A strong economy coupled with large swings in the health of world economies makes predicting the supply of labor increasingly difficult. The other side of this issue is identifying where your company is likely to lose key talent through turnover and retirements. This turnover forecast is designed to predict short term vacancies in the next six months in order to prepare the appropriate recruitment or internal promotion strategies.
(By Peter Frans – Management Consultant – Interim Manager – Management Trainer)