HR Arabia

September 20, 2007


Filed under: HR,HRM,human resources,planning — Khaled @ 12:29 am

Human Resource Planning is a relatively traditional discipline. However the
world of business is changing rapidly and new tools are necessary if we in
HR are to meet these new challenges. This is a list of “New Age” HR planning
tools that you might consider adding to your HR “toolkit”.

– *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 us sufficient time to develop plans and
strategies to either avoid the problem or minimize its impact.

– *Bench Strength (Back Fill) Plan *
In this 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.

– *Retention Plan*
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

– *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 our company needs. Accurate
forecasting will allow a company to prepare training and development plans
to upgrade the available talent. Adequate preparation will give us 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 our 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 our work force will
choose to participate in work life balance programs like job sharing and
sabbaticals. This forecast will enable us to be prepared for the decreased
amount of hours our 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 our speed of learning and the application of that
knowledge within our company.

– *Skills/ Competency Inventories*

In order to rapidly redeploy resources and fill unexpected vacancies
HR must develop computerized skill or competency inventories. Such
inventories allow us to “throw” talent at a problem because we are aware of
which individuals in our corporation have the needed skill or experience 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.

– *Interest Inventories*
In order to retain employees it is essential that we have a strategy
for identifying and meeting the changing needs of our 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 CEOs become increasingly aware of the value of strong HR programs
they’re demanding that each and every program we offer is superior to that
of our 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 our competitors. In addition, in order to continually improve, HR must
show an improvement each year in our “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, year
2000 efforts 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 our 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.

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