Five Steps to Navigating Workforce Strategy

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Increasingly, the demands and composition of the workforce are shifting in response to economic, social, political and demographic trends. The need for more specific skills is creating a growing talent mismatch and scarcity of ready-now leaders. Multiple generations and cultures in the workplace have resulted in changes in motivations and preferences – profoundly impacting individual choice. Technological developments allow new ways of getting work done. It has never been more challenging to manage your workforce effectively.
  RIGHTVIEWPOINT ™ Success in today’s hyper-competitive global economyrequires a clear vision of where a company wants to go,the strategy to take it there and the value it delivers. Toachieve that success, a company must apply the samerigor in developing a workforce strategy as it does increating a business strategy. In the changing world of work, the one constant is the need for anexceptional workforce. This is regardless of the economic environment,your industry or geography, your size or your earnings. This strategyrequires a comprehensive understanding of how complex trends andshifting business realities will impact your business–now and in the future.Increasingly, the demands and composition of the workforce are shiftingin response to economic, social, political and demographic trends. Theneed for more specific skills is creating a growing talent mismatch andscarcity of ready-now leaders. Multiple generations and cultures in theworkplace have resulted in changes in motivations and preferences–profoundly impacting individual choice. Technological developmentsallow new ways of getting work done. It has never been more challengingto manage your workforce effectively.Despite their varied implications, these trends revolve around one centraltheme–the need to empower the right people, in the right places, in theright ways. This requires a sustained commitment to, and a strategicinvestment in, talent. The company that pays the most attention will win. Organizational Effectiveness Five Steps to Navigating Workforce Strategy Dr. Deborah Schroeder-Saulnier “In the changing worldof work, the one con-stant is the need for anexceptional workforce.”  2 Your talent assets need to be managed as aggressively as the fine-tuningyou apply to other organizational assets. Everything else fails if you don’thave the right talent in place.This requires an alignment of workforce strategy with business goals. Talent isthe number-one impediment or success factor to executing your business plan.To navigate an effective workforce strategy, senior leadership must first identifyand gain alignment around top workforce priorities. In this context, leadershipneeds to home in on the needs and supporting practices for critical dimensionsrequired for the workforce to perform at optimum levels. Such dimensionsinclude: ã Sae –The overall purpose, strategic intent and expected businessoutcomes of an organization. ã Flexbl –The ability of the organization to manage its fixed and variablecosts for the highest possible return on human and financial resources. ã Cle –The daily expression of an organization’s values, behaviors,mindset and tone. ã Leaesp –The values, behaviors, mindset and tone set by thoseresponsible for driving the culture, performance and execution of thebusiness strategy. ã Eaee –The values, behaviors and activities that motivate theworkforce to exert greater discretionary effort in the performance oftheir responsibilities. ã Capabl –The skills, abilities, characteristics and resources to deliveron the business strategy.Why make the investment? Building an exceptional workforce will drive higherlevels of performance and will positively impact your organization’s ability todeliver on its business strategy. Investing in this process up front will identifyconstraints and accelerators to organizational performance–top strengths toleverage and top priorities to fund and why. Furthermore, it will increase execu-tive alignment across functions and geographies, while also aligning talentinitiatives to business goals–whether they are related to globalization, growth,productivity or even the brand. “Building an exceptionalworkforce will drivehigher levels of perfor-mance and will positivelyimpact your organization’sability to deliver on itsbusiness strategy.”  3 ArChitECting WorkForCE StrAtEgy It all starts with assessing the strengths and gaps of existing talent and businesscapability, balanced against what is needed to fulfill the business objectivestoday and in the future. To achieve this, we recommend a five-step process: 1. Egg S Ls The first step in the process involves a conversation with senior leaders tobetter understand the business context and the need for alignment aroundthe top workforce priorities. During this discussion it is important to under-stand the organization’s goals and identify all stakeholders who should beasked to weigh in on the next step. 2. Itvw A Stks We recommend conducting brief one-on-one interviews with all stakeholdersto introduce the objectives of the process, and to gain their perspectives onthe greatest challenges and needs facing the organization. These interviewsare an important part of the discovery process, and establish understandingand commitment. 3. Gt t Dt  Assss Pts Conduct an assessment that asks leaders to consider key workforcechallenges and the strategic choices being faced–the what  and the how   of your workforce strategy. ã The What:  Leaders individually rank workforce strategy “needs” along twodimensions–Importance to the organization and Satisfaction with theorganization’s ability to execute. ã The How:  Leaders then assess how effective the organization is at deliver-ing best-in-class work practices by ranking workforce strategy “practices”along two dimensions– Value they believe them to have for the organiza-tion and Effectiveness in executing the practices today. 4. Ayz Rsts After the assessment is completed, analyze and share initial findings withthe Leadership Team, highlighting areas of greatest alignment and varianceacross six key dimensions: Strategy, Flexibility, Culture, Leadership, Engage-ment and Capability. 5. Dvp  Impmt  At P Conduct an action-planning session that helps leaders align around thestrategic choices that are required to execute on business strategy. The keyoutcome is a tailored implementation plan that will drive accountability forexecution and results in the organization.  4 Hw s  wkf sttgy py t  ty? Here are a few examples: BuSinESS CAtEgory idEntiFiEd nEEd PrACtiCE For imPLEmEntAtion Sae InnovationIdentifying and implementing new ideas, activities and work processesthat develop and expand the organization’s capability to execute itsbusiness strategy. Flexbl Cross-Border MobilityLeveraging talent from other countries to augment the existingworkforce, and assimilating them to the culture and environment sothey are immediately productive. Cle Cultural AssessmentDefining the culture required to deliver your desired customer experi-ence, and developing a plan to institutionalize the desired culture inthe organization. Leaesp Leadership CoachingDeveloping and implementing formal and informal programs toprovide leaders with supportive feedback and coaching, therebyenabling them to grow and be more effective in current and futureroles. Coaching is provided through experienced external and/orinternal coaches. Eaee High-Potential TalentEngagementEngaging high-potential employees and individual contributors byunderstanding what motivates them. Developing and implementingpersonalized individual career-path plans that ensure their successesand drive commitment to the organization. Capabl Business PerformanceManagementDeveloping management methodologies, metrics and technology todrive alignment of business activities to the strategic objectives of anorganization.
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