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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Workforce Planning

Generational diversity in the workforce is nothing new, but as people are living longer and retiring later, it is becoming more common to see four, or in some cases, even five different generations working side by side in organisations.   

It is not uncommon to see the workforce in both government and the private sector reflecting a growing number of 65+ year olds due to changes in accessing of entitlements and ensuring sufficient funds to support them for retirement into their 80s and beyond!

This is a very different work environment to even 10 years ago for many organisations.

This workplace reality can create many people management challenges as different generations can reflect different perspectives on communication styles, work/life balance, organisational change, implementation of technology, leadership style, expectations of employers and paths for career progression for example. 

Although stereotyping is always a risk, there is some value on reflecting on the different generational experiences and how that can impact on the workplace environment.

So how are the different generations characterised?

  • Traditionalists, also known as the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945).     

Although only comprising around two per cent of the current workforce, many working Traditionalists now hold very senior and powerful positions, eg members on Boards of Directors.

  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964),

Accounting for about 29 per cent of the workforce, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) hit the superannuation funds of this group hard. Many have delayed their retirement plans and are still working full-time, much to their disappointment and simultaneous annoyance of some of the younger generations coming through! Changes to superannuation access rules have hit this group the hardest with the least amount of time to recover from the changes.

  • Gen X, also known as the MTV generation (born between 1965 and 1979)

This group makes up about 34 per cent of today’s workforce. Many are now at the midpoint in their careers and hold strong positions in key leadership roles.

  • Generation Y, also known as Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994)

Comprising of about 34 per cent of the workforce and this group are now in the early stages of their careers. Often described as the most highly qualified generation (and of course as a result lumbered with large HECS debts they are keen to pay off!)

  • Generation Z, also known as iGens or Post-Millenials (born between 1995 and 2009).

Often confused with Millenials, the oldest of this group are now just beginning to enter the labour market and currently make up less than one per cent of the workforce. Their experience of being born into a world of fast paced technology reflecting constant and rapid change has manifested itself particularly in different expectations to other generations around how we communicate and feedback in the workplace, in what format and how often.

Just as in any diverse mix, the potential for conflicts are clear.

Stereotypes abound about each of these groups, eg that Traditionalists favour a ‘command and control’ management style and resist change, Boomers are condescending workaholics, Gen X are cynical and disrespectful of authority, Gen Y are tech-savvy narcissists who need constant attention and Gen Z are risk-adverse, untrusting Snapchatters with an attention span of eight seconds!

It’s not always easy to separate the myths from the reality and I want to focus on the areas that unite, rather than divide, people.

Jennifer Deal, a leading research scientist with the US Center for Creative Leadership, argues that intergenerational conflict has more to do with miscommunication and misunderstandings than anything else. Her findings, outlined in the book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young & Old Can Find Common Ground (2007) are based on seven years of research with more than
3,000 corporate leaders.  

According to Deal, while it is natural that people of different ages will see the world in different ways, the so-called generation gaps are more commonly “fuelled by common insecurities and the desire for clout”.

Tolbize (2008), similarly found that “Generational conflict is more likely to arise from errors of attribution and perception, than from valid differences.”

So how do you manage the age mix and promote intergenerational cohesion in your workplace? 

My next blog provides some helpful strategies, but if you would like to discuss the needs of your organisation, please get in touch.

Sources

  • Deal, J, (2007) Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young & Old Can Find Common Ground, Jossey Bass, San Fransisco
  • <http://www.amanet.org/training/articles/The-Myth-of-Generational-Differences-in-the-Workplace.aspx> viewed 26 March 2016
  • <https://www.haygroup.com/downloads/de/haygroup_thought_paper_multigen%20workforce.pdf> viewed 26 March 2016
  • <http://growingleaders.com/blog/generation-z-differs-generation-y/> viewed 26 March 2016
  • <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/> viewed 27 March 2016
  • Tolbize, Anick, 2008 ‘Generational differences in the workplace’, <http://rtc.umn.edu/docs/2_18_Gen_diff_workplace.pdf> viewed 28 March 2016
  • <http://www.tomorrowtodayglobal.com/2007/07/25/retiring-the-generation-gap-how-employees-young-old-can-find-common-ground-by-jennifer-deal/> viewed 28 March 2016
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In Part 1 of my article on workforce planning, I discussed the importance of clearly identifying where your organisation is heading and what internal and external drivers are shaping your business direction.

In Part 2, I’d like to give you some tips for getting the balance of skills and experience right in your organisation. 

Once you have determined the optimum organisational structure and identified the skill sets you require for the future, focus on these two key questions:

  • What strategies are available to you to ensure your staffing mix meets your organisation’s requirements? 
  • How can you ensure you have the right capacity in terms of staff numbers, structure and skill set?

If it helps, take a snapshot of where you are currently. A comprehensive audit is often the best way to establish a baseline. However, I understand this can be time-consuming. If you work for a large organisation or government agency, explore the option that others in the organisation may be collection people management data as part of other reporting requirements to assist you.

Information that can be used to objectively review the current position of your organisation includes:

  • Staff demographics and staff turnover trends
  • Current roles, grades or classifications in the organisation
  • Staff numbers and employment mode (eg. full time, part time)
  • Employment status (eg. permanent, casual, contract)
  • Short term or temporary staff
  • Qualifications held
  • Skills and competencies currently held
  • Number of employees in training positions
  • Locations of staff
  • Salary rates and HR budget figures
  • Awards and agreements.

Analysing this information will help you identify those areas which need attention and action.

Once you have this data at your fingertips, consider some of the HR options available to align your staffing mix with your overall business goals.

HR options will typically include one or more of the following:

  • Development or improvement of retention strategies
  • Training and education
  • Restructuring
  • Succession planning
  • Targeted recruitment
  • Redeployment
  • Redundancy program
  • Retrenchment program.

Finally, it’s always important to review how effective the HR strategies you have used in the past have been in facilitating your overall business objectives. Monitoring, evaluating, and if necessary, modifying these strategies regularly will ensure you have a flexible, living plan and that you are using all the resources available to you to meet your organisation’s needs and goals.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation, please contact us.

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The New Year is always a good time for organisations to plan, develop plans and develop practical strategies to achieve personal and organisational goals.  

Your HR plans should be linked to the broader strategic plan of the organisation and the business plans and the short, medium and long-term goals outlined.

HR Planning involves the key questions:

  • What are the skills and capabilities I need to support and lead the organisation in the short, medium and long term future?
  • What is the organisational structure that we need to meet our business goals in the short, medium and long term future?

Getting the right people into the right positions at the right time is far easier said than done!  

The best people managers understand this and know it doesn’t happen by accident. It is a deliberate strategy and requires careful thought and consideration.

Increasing competition among companies to recruit and retain the best ‘talent’, rapid technological growth (often outpacing the skill sets and training of existing workers), reduced operating budgets and constant pressures to increase efficiency are all factors that need to be addressed.

Additionally, Australia’s ageing population, and retiring baby boomers in particular, are depleting many organisations of some of their most experienced and knowledgeable employees, often before succession plans (if they are in place at all) are ripe for fruition.

Workforce planning represents a major challenge for HR so I have decided to devote my next two blogs to workforce planning.

In this article (Part 1), I’d like to outline some helpful points to consider when planning your HR requirements and in the next one (Part 2), I’ll discuss some strategies you can use to create the right staffing mix for your organisation.

I hope these suggestions will help you to respond more confidently to changes in your workplace operating environment throughout the year and stay on track to meet and exceed!  your professional goals for 2016.

Where are you headed?

Usually, the most constructive place to start is by conducting an ‘environmental scan’.

To do this, consider the following questions:

  • What external factors are occurring in your industry or sector that could potentially impact on your organisation and therefore your team? (eg new or emerging competitors entering the market, technological changes, economic growth/downturn, the age profile of your workforce, potential legislative changes that may impact on your business)
  • Where can you readily source the most credible data on industry or sector trends to make informed decisions about the staffing mix you need?
  • Are there any current legislative or political issues that may be relevant? (eg expected changes to funding models, training requirements for staff, new taxes likely to come into effect in 2016)
  • Do you need to adapt the types of services and products you provide to meet the changing needs of your customer base?
  • Are you intending to expand, reduce and/or restructure your workforce?
  • What organisational structure would work best?
  • What are the key skills your organisation needs? (including technical, operational management and people management skills)
  • Do you have enough people with those skills? What are the time frames to acquire those skills?
  • Can you grow those skills internally (ie through staff development, succession planning) or do you need to recruit them in? What are the timeframes involved?
  • What internal information do you need to source? ( eg demographics, retirements, predicted staff turnover, succession plans, planned absences, staff surveys)

Taking some time to consider your external and internal environments and taking stock of your internal resources will help you to embrace 2016 with the calm self-confidence of an experienced driver, well- prepared for all conditions and ready to enjoy the journey.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation, please contact us.

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The transition into a leadership role can often be a challenging time for both the individual and the organisation.  It is in everyone’s best interest that this process be managed to create the smoothest possible move to the new role.

Below are just a few strategies for those leaders in the organisation supporting people making the transition, and also those newly appointed leaders.

Positive strategies for organisations

  • Recruit wisely for your leadership roles. 

Many organisations will promote the next in line and this can sometimes be problematic.  Some people are very technically strong, but do not necessarily have the people management skills, or desire, to assume responsibilities inherent in leadership roles.  Consider the leadership skill set the business needs carefully.  What are your priorities as a business unit? Based on the current business goals, has your candidate demonstrated enough capability to validate the decision to move into staff management responsibilities? Being technically strong does not equate to skills in people management.  The skill sets are very different!

  • Clearly outline what the new role will involve.

Clear communication of expectations from the outset avoids problems down the track.  Be specific for example on issues such as, additional hours, increased responsibility, management of budgets, travel requirements. 

  • Clearly outline how their performance will be evaluated.

Specify in what ways will their performance be measured, how regularly and any bonus or incentive scheme provisions.

  • Provide (meaningful) coaching and mentoring support. 

Particularly in the early stages,  provide regular access to the right people to ensure the new leader has an opportunity to discuss any concerns, outline their progress, ask questions or seek advice. Coaching and mentoring is a very powerful form of staff development and will give the new leader confidence to respond to their new challenges positively.   

  • Provide leadership training

Quality training and development, particularly in relation to people management skills, is a crucial part of building confidence in newly appointed leaders.  Training programs help leaders to build and develop positive leadership behaviours which directly value add to the organisation. 

Positive strategies for the new leader

  • Ensure you are clear on the commitments involved with your new role.  This can be critical if you are already within the organisation.  Issues such as maintaining confidentiality,  performance management and disciplinary responsibilities are part of a leadership role.  There is often a big difference between being one of the team and leading the team.
  • Understand the organizational expectations of your performance and how that performance will be evaluated. 
  • Assess your own strengths and focus on areas where you can grow skills.  Building self awareness is an important skill for a leader and it is a positive habit to develop. Be as objective as possible; consider specific examples that validate your self appraisal. For example, how do I know that I am communicating to my teams positively? Is my communication style engaging the team to perform at their best, or could I develop my skills to achieve even better outcomes?
  • Invest your time in creating networks and relationships with people who can give you constructive guidance and feedback.
  • Commit to ongoing professional development to keep enhancing your skill set.  Continued learning in leadership will build your confidence, broaden your network and allow you to add value and maximise your contribution to your team and the organisation. 

For more information on how to support your organisational leaders to achieve better outcomes, contact us.

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How well would the stakeholders in your organisation rate your performance management program?

Do your teams find it motivating and engaging?

Does the program have credibility with team members or managers?

All organisations aim for a performance management process that adds value to a business, encourages positive performance and provides an effective framework to deal with performance gaps.

The previous blog focused on the first three parts of an effective performance management framework:

  1. Ensuring integration of HR Policies that directly impact on performance
  2. The use of position descriptions in building accountability
  3. Goal and performance indicator setting

The Performance Management Process

The next part of the program relates to the way the performance management process is conducted.

To assess how well you are travelling, please consider the following questions:

  • How regularly do you review performance in a structured way? 
  • Does your existing process encourage engagement from both the employee and the manager?
  • Are you acknowledging your teams in a meaningful way?
  • Do you seek genuine two-way feedback?
  • Does the (resource intensive) process motivate or disengage the stakeholders?
  • Do you gather useful information for the team member to reflect on their performance, but also to provide the organisation information to undertake more strategic HR analysis (for example, L&D, succession planning)?
  • Are the scoring systems transparent and accountable to build confidence and integrity in the system by the stakeholders?

Organisations need to regularly seek feedback on the way performance is ‘managed’. 

 In light of that feedback, review your process and ensure that your program includes: 

  • Adequate timeframes so that both manager and team member can reflect and prepare for the discussion
  • Provision to address past performance and focus on future goals
  • The integration of relevant data
  • Sufficient opportunity for both manager and team members to contribute and make comment
  • An acknowledgement of high performance and achievement of goals
  • A mutually agreed plan for addressing opportunities for improvement
  • Development goals for the future
  • A format that is streamlined and maximises data capture for both the team member and the wider organisation

Skills in the performance management conversation

The last, and most important part of the framework, is ensuring managers and supervisors are equipped to make the most of the opportunity to engage people around performance management. 

This can be a very difficult conversation for many to have and unfortunately I see that lack of confidence manifest in ways such as delaying or avoiding performance conversations for extended periods. This usually creates further problems for the workplace as both good and poor performance is not appropriately addressed.

Fortunately many of the skills can be taught! If you would like to know more about how to maximise performance management in your organisation, please contact us.

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Generating and maintaining high performance of our teams is a critical characteristic of successful organisations. 

Teams that are performing at optimum levels drive competitive advantage, create positive work cultures and differentiate ‘great’ from ‘good’ in achieving the organisational outcomes.

It is crucial for businesses to have effective systems in place which:

  • determines performance parameters,
  • acknowledges and recognizes positive performance
  • provides a framework to monitor performance
  • builds accountability of all stakeholders
  • proactively and positively manages performance issues in a timely manner

Many organisations and managers find developing and implementing an engaging and productive performance management system very elusive.

Sometimes even when we have all the components of a constructive performance management framework in place something gets lost in translation. Performance management can become synonymous with an expensive and disengaging waste of time for managers and team members. Rather than turn people on to perform better, the process turns them off!

So, we know it makes sense to have a strong and meaningful performance management framework, but how do we create it? How can you build in accountability and also motivate the team in an integrated and streamlined process?

It is critical to identify the key components of the performance management framework for all organisations;

HR Policies

There are a range of HR policies that can directly impact on managing performance in an organisation. For example,

  • remuneration policies may outline bonus or incentive schemes,
  • employee performance policies may list a process of how regularly performance will be reviewed, the method and the basis of any scoring system,
  • the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary policies will discuss the consequences of unsatisfactory performance or conduct.

All policies should be reviewed to ensure they are working in synergy. For example, the incentive scheme cannot encourage behaviours that could possibly breach organisational Code of Conduct provisions. This sends mixed messages around performance expectations to the teams and undermines the framework.

Position Descriptions

Ensure the position descriptions are accurate and reflective of current duties. Use the performance management process as a regular opportunity to discuss the current roles to identify any changes to the duties involved.

The accountability in the framework is platformed on accurate position descriptions and performance indicators that provide a consistent and clear description of the responsibilities involved. 

Setting indicators and goals

Define the indicators and goals in clear and concise language. Ensure these goals align with the overall business goals and objectives and create a ‘clear line of sight’ through the organisation. This linkage is very important in building understanding of the business direction and priorities and how each individual is contributing to those goals.

The other area where I see organisations struggle relates to effective goal setting. This can often be an area that disengages people rather than motivates teams.

Take some time to get this part right. Engage your teams in setting the goals to build engagement. The SMART goals formula works very well in creating goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.

 

The above components of the performance management structure create a shared understanding of the expectations of performance and how it will be measured.

The next blog relates to the two final components of successful performance management:  that is, the actual process used and also the importance of developing skills in our managers to maximise this important opportunity to drive continuous improvement in the workplace.

In the meantime if you would like to know more about creating and implementing an effective organisational performance management process, please contact us.

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The start of the year is always a great opportunity to take stock of your organisation. As outlined in the previous article the first step in working out what your staffing requirements will be in the short, medium and long term is clearly identifying where the organisation is heading and what internal and external drivers are shaping your business direction.

Some questions to ask include:

  • What strategies can you use to ensure your staffing mix meets your requirements? 
  • How can you ensure you have the right capacity in terms of staff numbers, structure and skill set?

Where are you now?

After determining where you are heading, you need to establish where you are currently. A comprehensive audit is the best way to establish a baseline. 

Some of the information that can be used to objectively review the current position includes:

  • Staff demographics and staff turnover trends
  • Current roles, grades or classifications in the organisation
  • Staff numbers and employment mode (eg. full time, part time)
  • Employment status (eg. permanent, casual, contract)
  • Short term or temporary staff
  • Qualifications held
  • Skills and competencies currently held
  • Number of employees in training positions
  • Locations of staff
  • Salary rates and HR budget figures
  • Awards and agreements

Gathering this information will help identify the areas on which to concentrate your strategies.

Some of the HR options available to align your staff with your overall business goals include;  

  • Development or improvement of a retention strategies
  • Training and education
  • Restructuring
  • Succession planning
  • Targeted recruitment
  • Redeployment
  • Redundancy program
  • Retrenchment program

Remember, it is always important to review how effective the HR strategies have been in facilitating your overall business objectives.  Evaluating and modifying regularly will ensure you are using all the resources available to you to meet your organisational goals.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation contact us.

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No matter what size organisation you may be working within, or whether you are in the Government or private sector, the beginning of the year is always a great time to consider where a business is heading in the short, medium and long term. 

This is a critical part of managing human resources so I have dedicated the next two blogs to workforce planning. This one specifically focuses on what is helpful to consider when planning your HR requirements and the next blog discusses strategies you can employ to create the right staffing mix.

Over the last two years, I have worked with organisations in the private and public sector analysing how their human resource planning links in with their business goals. I know it can be a bit overwhelming, but in my experience it does help to break the process down into manageable pieces and work through from there.

Where are you headed?            

Reflecting on the direction of the business unit and what your key goals and objectives are will then lead to a contemplation of what the human resource requirements will be to support those goals in the short, medium and long term. 

Successful organisations understand that planning is critical to ensure they have the right people, with the right skills in the right place and the right time to maximise every opportunity, respond to changes in the operating environment and stay on track to meet, and even exceed, their goals.

The fundamentals of workforce planning involves considering the following questions as a starting point:

  • What external factors are occurring in your industry or sector that could potentially impact on your organisation and therefore your team? (eg. technology, unemployment levels, economic growth/downturn, changing skill sets,  ageing workforce)
  • Where can you readily source the most credible data on industry or sector trends to make informed decisions about the staffing mix?
  • Are there any legislative or political issues that may be relevant?
  • Do you need to adapt the types of services and products you provide?
  • Are you intending to expand/reduce and/or restructure?
  • What are the skills your organisation needs? (including technical, operational management and people management skills)
  • Do you have enough people with those skills?
  • Can you grow those skills internally or do you need to recruit them in? What are the timeframes involved?
  • What internal information do you need to source? ( eg. demographics, retirements, predicted staff turnover, succession plans, planned absences)

 If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation contact us.

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