It also means that all heads of department will have had an input into the HR planning process, and so will have a better understanding of how it will add value to the organization. The CEO will also retain ownership of the HR Strategy, as a part of the overall organizational strategy, thereby allowing him an overview to assist in short-term planning needs should there be a need to change tack at short notice. I also have a 'cunning plan' which I will share with you below.
In times of uncertainty there is still a need to plan for the future. This can be done by putting together a series of scenarios, based on known certainties and anticipated uncertainties, and looking at the level of their importance. So, what are these scenarios. They are internally consistent views of the future that focus on discontinuity and change, and also involve exploring how the under-lying systems in the business environment may generate change; whilst taking into account how the competitive players (existing and new) might behave. They are not: Mere forecasts, projections from past trends, fixed or rigid world views, complete in all detail, or static. Furthermore, they do not provide the answers, they only provide an insight into what may need to be addressed if business is to flourish in uncertain times. Finding solutions comes later. By using uncertainty-importance grids, these views can be mapped out.
Note: There are likely to be a number of different possible scenarios that will require an equal number of grids in order to map them out (without becoming confusing). So how does HR play a part in all of this? Well, for a start, HR should be in a position to add HR certainties and uncertainties. For instance, how will staff react to sudden changes? Do they have the skills required in order to undertake new tasks? Would change incur costs (recruitment and additional salary costs)? The list goes on. The scenarios will often require management to review its resources. However, one area often forgotten is the workforce itself. So where does my cunning plan come into play? The cunning plan is this: Carry out two reviews. The first is to see whether or not there is any redundancy of hours across the organization (where not all the hours available are being utilized).
The second is to carry out a skills audit and, when doing so, do not just look at skills that are being utilized on a day-to-day basis. Try and ascertain what other knowledge, skills and experience are available across the workforce (including tacit knowledge, skills and experience that might not be obvious). Look at original applications for employment, speak to line management to see if they have needed to utilize skills that their people may hold, but may not have been documented. Have they overheard their people talking about skills and experience that may have been utilized in a previous employment? Then look at the redundancy in hours, if these 'new' skills are required to support the scenarios previously mentioned, could people be moved around so as to be able to utilize these skills - thereby saving on recruitment and ongoing salary costs, and adding a value to the organization that can be quantified?
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