StrategyDriven’s Resource Project forum contains materials discussing the leading practices of companies estimating future people, intellectual property, equipment, facility, and other asset needs in support of strategic planning.

The Essence of a Workforce Strategy

StrategyDriven Resource Projection Article | The Essence of a Workforce StrategyProductivity is a critical element in the growth of your business. Realizing enhanced efficiency requires observing various aspects, including workforce management, resource distribution, and excellent workforce planning. You’ll need to align your workforce to match your business culture, strategy, and objectives. Notable benefits come with a superb workforce strategy, including the following.

Plan for the Future

An excellent workforce strategy allows you to plan for the future. This strategy will enable you to anticipate workforce changes, including planning. Unless you are informed about workforce changes and trends, deciding on the future will hardly suffice.

Deciding on the future will depend on the objectives and targets of the company. For instance, you’ll need more workers during peak seasons. In such cases, while your labor costs will grow, you’ll be confident of enhanced efficiency and productivity. Thankfully, you can address this through a workforce strategy covering various future risks.

Manage Hiring Costs

A workforce strategy helps analyze your business needs, ensuring that you only hire when necessary. This strategy will provide enough employees to work on various production lines. You can increase the number of workers depending on business needs.

This approach will help you control hiring costs. While there will be enough employees at a particular time, the expenses will remain relatively manageable. In turn, it becomes easier to run the business smoothly.

Streamlined Recruitment Process

Nothing compares to the efficiency offered by a company that anticipates future changes. An excellent workforce strategy will give you insight into what changes your business could face in the future. This element allows you to plan your recruitment process according to your expectations. Through this, you get enough workers at all times, particularly during peak seasons.

At the same time, this strategy will outline what elements to observe during the recruitment process. This aspect allows you to hire qualified and experienced professionals, guaranteeing better outcomes in the long run. You’ll comfortably identify gaps in your talent acquisition and recruitment programs. With a comprehensive strategy, you are confident of better returns.

Your HR programs will also align with your business needs. Such alignment encourages employee retention in the long run. Achieving this goal requires observing various aspects, from data protection and employee assistance to career development and employee benefits.

Improve Business and Employee Culture

A comprehensive workforce strategy will look at various aspects of your workforce. It will touch on behavior, expectations, and changes. This aspect will inform your employee retention tactics. Ideally, it ensures that you breed a culture that encourages workers to stay, guaranteeing efficiency. With unmatched productivity, your business will thrive within a short time.

You can leverage predictive analytics to understand what employees might need in the future. This aspect ensures that your plans provide space for enhanced employee satisfaction. You could also devise ways to ensure that these professionals are significantly comfortable in the long run.

Having a reliable workforce strategy should be your priority. It will help improve efficiency and productivity, encouraging excellent returns in the long run. With the insights above, you understand why you should create a comprehensive one.

StrategyDriven Enterprises

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven is dedicated to providing executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results.

We help our clients create and execute a clear, forward-looking strategy – translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members – that’s critical to their realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well executed strategy align individuals to a common purpose, it ensures that purpose best serves the company’s mission.

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Resource Projection Best Practice 7 – Qualification Projections

Performance proficiency for any given task is only maintained through repetitive performance over time. Without ongoing practice, performance declines until a point is reached when the individual is incapable of performing the task at a level consistent with existing standards and expectations. Additionally, those not routinely performing a task are commonly unaware of changes in expectations and methodologies associated with the activity’s performance. Subsequently, these individuals have a difficult time meeting established performance expectations when assigned the activity. Thus, many organizations establish a personnel qualification system identifying those individuals capable of and authorized to perform a given task. Task qualification is maintained over time through demonstrated performance proficiency and/or testing.[wcm_restrict plans=”40903, 25542, 25653″]

Given the need for individuals to be qualified in order to perform a task, it is incumbent upon the organization’s leadership to ensure a sufficient quantity of persons is available to perform tasks requiring a specific qualification when needed. The only way to ensure a suitable number of qualified individuals will be available when needed is to project the number of qualified individuals that will exist over time given the applicable set of individual qualification expiration dates and the ability of qualified individuals to perform requalifying tasks in a timely manner.

The figure below provides an example of a qualified staff member projection. Note that while the department is often staffed near its authorized complement of personnel, there are periods of significant shortfalls in qualified staffing. Factors contributing to the staffing and qualified staffing level projects include:

  • authorized staffing level
  • planned/announced retirements
  • additional projected retirements based on historical retirement age
  • attrition resulting from personnel transfers
  • attrition resulting from personnel terminations
  • voluntary attrition rate
  • organizational policy regarding preemptive hiring
  • time to hire
  • expected level of augmentation staff, their arrival and departure
  • time to train new hires and staff augment personnel
  • time to fully qualify new hires and staff augment personnel

Figure 1: Maintenance and Work Management Department Staffing

Armed with this staffing information, leaders can make better decisions regarding the initial and requalification of personnel and the hiring of augmentation staff such that the organization has an optimal number of qualified personnel with which to carry out its work at all times. Additionally, managers may also decide to adjust the project schedule or outsource some work to accommodate periods of low qualified staffing and assume additional workload during full and overstaffed periods.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”40903, 25542, 25653″]

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Resource Projection Warning Flag 1 – Assumed Discretionary Effort

Every day, executives, managers, and employees are asked to do more and more with less and less. Sometimes this pressure results in work streamlining, better prioritization and new more efficient methods. At other times, individuals simply accomplish more because they work additional uncompensated hours.[wcm_restrict plans=”40897, 25542, 25653″]

Not all discretionary effort is created equally. Our human condition necessarily means that longer work hours will result in mental and physical fatigue; reducing an individual’s productivity during these times relative to core working hours. Over time, extended separation from family, friends, and the outside world in general results in emotional fatigue that drains and distracts an individual; lowering his or her productivity. While some will gladly invest the extra effort, others will not; resenting what they believe to be an excessive workload and diminishing their overall engagement and subsequently their productivity. Thus, discretionary time is not equivalent to core work time and will vary in value from individual to individual.

Factoring discretionary effort into business planning is therefore problematic. But the question remains, should it be done at all?

Some workforces have a cultural tendency to work uncompensated hours. Over time, leaders may come to expect and then demand this effort. But fundamentally, discretionary effort is just that, discretionary, and its availability cannot be counted upon. Workers often cannot be compelled to work these uncompensated hours and any attempt to do so would likely result in at least some worker attrition.

The answer then is that discretionary effort should not be factored into business plans, project plans, or any other personnel resource loaded plan.

Including discretionary effort in organizational planning occurs because of either a lack of preventive measures and/or errant behaviors. While not all inclusive, the four lists below, Process-Based Warning Flags, Process Execution Warning Flags – Behaviors, Potential, Observable Results, and Potential Causes, are designed to help organization leaders recognize when discretionary effort is being included in resource estimates. Only after a problem is recognized and its causes identified can the needed action be taken to move the organization toward improved performance.

Process-Based Warning Flags

  • Business and project planning processes drive or allow planners to use a greater than 40 hour per week work estimate
  • Project software default calendars set for greater than 40 hours of work per week for personnel resources
  • Personnel scheduling calendars, such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes, set for greater than 40 hours per week of availability by default

Process Execution Warning Flags – Behaviors

  • Executives, managers, and supervisors demand more than 40 hours per week be used as a standard resource planning assumption
  • Executives, managers, and supervisors automatically cut personnel resource requests by a standard amount such as 10 percent or more
  • Executives and managers allow greater than 40 hours per week resource needs to go unfunded and/or unbudgeted

Potential, Observable Results

  • Projects are frequently not completed on time
  • Productivity is lower than expected
  • The organization experiences higher than industry normal attrition
  • Approved business and project plans require more personnel resources to execute than have been assigned

Potential Causes

  • Executives, managers, and supervisors are driven to do more with less – often reinforced by the organization’s rewards system
  • Individual attitudes tend to be skewed toward a ‘live-to-work’ rather than a ‘work-to-live’ bias
  • Cultural belief that uncompensated work is acceptable

Final Thoughts…

Personnel resource availability above 40 hours per week can be considered when planning if such work is compulsory. Such instance may include:

  • represented employee contracts containing provisions for forced overtime
  • pre-established (before hiring or renegotiated and compensated after hiring) professional work standards requiring over 40 hours of work per week as is often established for:
    • plant outages
    • rotating shift work

The ‘live-to-work’ causal factor contributes to a culture that values uncompensated work. This belief is often associated with the members of the Baby Boomer Generation that currently comprises a large portion of the workforce. Generations X and Y, however, tend to not share this believe or value uncompensated work far less than Baby Boomers. Therefore, as Generation X and Y’s portion of the workforce grows, the ‘live-to-work’ value is likely to diminish; affording organizations less discretionary effort over time. This makes the planning for discretionary effort in long range business plans particularly risky.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”40897, 25542, 25653″]

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New Whitepaper Release – 80 Percent Efficiency Estimate

StrategyDriven contributors are pleased to announce the release of our eighth whitepaper: Resource Projection – 80 Percent Efficiency Estimate.

Perfect human efficiency? Not likely. How then should personnel resources be estimated?

Human beings are social creatures with both emotional and physical needs. Businesses able to satisfy these needs will be better positioned to attract and retain talented personnel; giving them a much needed advantage in the increasingly knowledge driven marketplace where human resources are increasingly limited. Such organizations will further benefit from increased worker engagement because employees feel more connected and valued.

Meeting these very personalized needs requires an ongoing time investment, social time to build and maintain co-worker relationships, to connect with customers and clients, to contact family and friends, as well as time to physically relax, refresh, reflect, and rejuvenate. This time investment varies day-to-day and person-to-person making it extremely difficult to measure. Time studies, project management research, and our collective managerial experience suggest that knowledge workers, on average, require a twenty percent time investment in these personal activities. Stated another way, professionals spend about one and a half hours of an eight hour workday on non-productive but personally necessary activities. Hence, professionals, those whose breaks are ill-defined, can be assumed to work at eighty percent efficiency when fully engaged.

The StrategyDriven 80 Percent Efficiency Estimate whitepaper provides business planners with an easy to follow set of rules to help them appropriately factor personnel efficiency into their project and business plan resource estimates. These rules are detailed with supporting principles and philosophies; helping users understand the reasoning behind each recommendation.

StrategyDriven Succession and Workforce Planning AcceleratorSuccession and Workforce Planning

We help clients enhance their succession and workforce planning programs through pipeline and capability projection, training and development program assessment, and improvement plan design and implementation assistance. Our evaluations identify retention, replacement, productivity, and quality risks while providing leading practice strategies for maintaining full staffing including temporarily filling vacancies with highly qualified personnel. Learn more about how we can help you enhance your succession and workforce pipeline planning programs or contact us for a personal consultation.