New (or revisited) HR Planning Tools

“New Age” HR planning tools that you might consider adding to your HR “toolkit”

HR people are constantly looking for new tools. Attached is a list of pro-active HR planning tools that might help you to improve your companies competitive advantage. Share it with your VP HR.

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 Headcount “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 headcount 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 leave.
  • 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 workforce 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 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 its 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 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 throw 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 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.

As seen on Gately Consulting

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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