Year-end 2008 is quickly approaching and all across the globe the news is dominated by negative stories about the dismal economy. We have all experienced irrational thinking and are guilty of doing it from time to time, but as we prepare to move into the New Year there is no greater threat facing global companies than irrational thinking in the HR function. Looking back, one thing was glaringly obvious more companies than ever before realized just how ill-prepared they are for the emerging labor climate. All throughout 2008 stories emerged from iconic organizations detailing just how out of touch they had become.
Moving Forward, No Reprieve
Despite night after night of negative economic news around the world, the vast majority of global companies (70% according to the most recent Gallup research) were actively trying to maintain or grow their workforce in December. Despite burgeoning unemployment, demand for top talent in skilled and professional roles is as tough as ever. Global growth combined with profound labor force demographic changes impacting more than 85% of the developed world are keeping competition for top talent fierce. While recruiters understand the challenge of recruiting today, and senior leaders understand the demand for continued investment, the vast majority of HR leaders appear to be doing business as usual.
Are You Prepared?
The near future requires robust and prescriptive action that cannot be influenced by irrational thinking. Do your measures reflect reality, or rather the perception you want others to have regarding your efforts? Are you comfortable standing up and saying the ship is already taking on water and a change in course is needed? These are the kind of questions VPs need to be asking right now. For every major strategic initiative, as well as all core deliverables, you should have objective evaluation processes in place that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your efforts are effective.
Three Most Important Things
While every organization has different strategic priorities and will undoubtedly work to achieve them in differing ways, there are three things that every world-class HR organization should be doing, including:
1. Prioritizing mission critical and key jobs. For far too long HR professionals have equated the terms equitable and equal. All jobs do not impact the organization the same when performed well, below average, or left vacant. While politically difficult, organizations must find a practical and accepted way to define mission critical and key jobs, and then to prioritize HR deliverables towards those roles and the talent that occupy them. Once identified, its a lot easier to deliver world-class service and demonstrate a profound impact on the business.
2. Macro level workforce planning. Too many organizations that have tried to implement workforce planning programs have gotten bogged down in the complexities that arise when the focus is too granular, i.e. every role, every employee. Granular workforce planning produces too much data and makes it easy to get lost in the statistics. Workforce planning programs should be actionable in nature, they should help answer several high level questions that establish whether or not the workforce in moving in the right direction to support the future needs of the organization and at the right pace.
3. Leveraging robust analytics and process yield modeling approaches to prove impact. With mission critical and key roles identified and macro level workforce planning initiatives in place, the next practice firms must focus on is yield modeling transformative processes such as development efforts and staffing programs. HR professionals should be able to respond with precise plans that include cost, timeline, and resources needed.
Final ThoughtsA perfect storm of environmental factors is lining up to make the next ten years very difficult with regards to recruiting and retention of top talent.
Ref: HR Funda
Ref: HR Funda