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Future proof your Workforce

Posted by denise on 6 May 2014 | 0 Comments

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Over the next few years companies will start to experience a steady flow of retirees leaving the workforce.  They are also finding that the millennial workforce does not have the same values around loyalty and longevity of employment with their employer.  A Future Workforce study in 2012 showed that 91% of people born between 1977 and 1997 said they anticipated staying in a job for less than three years.  This then raises a question around how a company can future proof their workforce for further growth.  Recent research by Randstad highlighted  that 64% of companies expressed concern over gaps in their leadership pipeline. 

Undertaking  workforce planning will help you to understand the future state people capability required to deliver on the business strategy, along with the critical roles that need to be future proofed.  Cross mapping  this with what you currently have will identify the gaps that need to be plugged.  Take a snapshot of how many of your people are nearing retirement age over the next five years and what skills sets they will  take with them.  This  will inform planning around training and recruiting employees to fill retirees  shoes well before they leave.  Ongoing talent mapping and management will build the people pipeline to manage this risk.  A combination of buy (hiring) and build (internally developing) will ensure the mix of new blood and home grown expertise needed for growth and innovation.  If attracting and retaining millenials is a priority think about how attractive your workforce profile is to millenials.  High potential millenials who are looking for a career path may be put off a company if a majority of people their age are reporting to people 20+ years their senior.  The question for them may be  “where do I go in the company?”.  

Albert Einstein said  “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  This holds true for recruitment strategies.  We have to do things differently to plug the gap and future proof the workforce.  We need to be tapping into diverse workforce pools and actively recruiting people from  multiple generation levels and backgrounds.  This is going to mean you rethinking your employment offering and doing some work  around building a diversity inclusive culture.   You need to be prepared to start over in terms of your reward & benefits offering and look at it through the eyes of your diverse workforce.  What attracts and retains a millenial is very different to a Gen-X'er or baby boomer!   A  pick & mix cafeteria benefits approach that people can shape to suit their needs and different life stages is one option.   For instance, gym membership, child care vouchers, health insurance, part-time & flexible working, salary trade-in for extra holiday, working from home, compressed hours.

Let’s take this a step further around succession planning and talent management.  For larger companies that  are already using  HRIS, use your  historical staff turnover data to forecast how many may retire over the next 3, 5, 10 years, marry it up with your cost-per-hire data, factor in year on year % recruitment costs increase, and you have the beginnings of a business case for investment in talent management systems that will help future proof the workforce.

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