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01.02 – Strategy First and HR Planning

01.02 - Strategy First and HR Planning
So strategy, it always comes first. First you identify the strategies that will grow and sustain your team or your company. Then it’s critically important to identify the positions that create the value in your company. So selecting positions always before you select the people. Now once you have your strategy nailed down, you have a plan for your process. HR planning is complex process that starts with strategy, of course. It informs the people strategy that you now have to design. It informs the functions that you will need and the kind of positions that you will identify so that you can begin the attraction phase. And get the people in the right places at the right time to effect your strategy.
We could spend an entire course on this section of the pipeline. But suffice it to say, excellent HR resources are skilled at detailing the positions that will move your strategy forward. If you’re leading a team, you now know what kind of person you need. As I mentioned in our last segment, I had to find designers of office environments for my new headquarters building. So on my team I needed to have that architect, or an interior designer, who understood that the environment had to support a new culture for the new headquarters. We also wanted these designers that could be inclusive in their processes. They couldn’t dictate.
They had to do research as to the customer needs, putting the customer at the center of what they were going to design.
Finding the people and putting them in a new environment that would inspire them to want to come to the new building, not to be fearful of staying and never changing. We wanted them to come to a new beautiful environment that inspired change, collaboration, and growth of the strategy.
As you can see, here is our pipeline again. So we have to focus on planning for the talent that we need, this HR planning function. In order to find the right people, we need to look in the right places. And sometimes what we need is in short supply. In other words there may be large demand for certain kinds of positions at the time that you’re looking. And we have to find the best. You have to find the best for you.
The world changes very fast, so sometimes we have to weigh all of our options and decide in the short term. Or perhaps we need to experiment before we get the right person for the long term. As I said, the world is changing very fast, technological changes, environmental changes, legal and governmental changes in regulated industries, lots of social changes going on, and lots of globalization changes, political changes. Your plans must be flexible and also change as quickly as the world is changing in order for you to keep up.
In the HR planning process, we have to analyze the data. Attrition is an important thing to be able to keep track of and understand. What level of turnover is good? What level of turnover is bad? That’s industry-specific. You have to determine that for yourself. What about production schedules or team project plans? What about a project that is going on in the company and you know what the deadline is and you don’t have the right people to make that deadline? HR planning is going to be your friend.
But we have to work on, what’s the supply? What’s the demand? We have to work on finding the gap and making a plan. Demand forecasting is based on your strategy needs and strategy changes, that may be occurring due to all the factors I just mentioned. It could be a management gut feel. Sometimes people feel that something’s going on in the industry, that they need to work very fast to get in front of the curve. It’s kind of like using a sixth sense to determine what you need and when you need it. Some people are better at that than others.
Technological changes may be the inspiration that inspire you to add talent, to manage new technology, and to integrate into your execution of your strategy. Supply forecasting is understanding your internal supply as well as your external supply.
Your internal supply is what’s really known to you if you use analytical tools
or if you are able to talk to your team members regularly, which is critically important. And I totally recommend this. Professor Kim Cameron, one of the fathers of positive leadership on our faculty suggests that as leaders, leaders of teams, departments, leaders of corporations, all leaders, and we’re all leaders. We must spend at least an hour a month talking to our team members about what it is that they wanna talk about.
He calls this the PMI, the Personal Management Interview. It works. You get to know your people very well, and you get to know what they want, what their dreams are. And maybe you find out that the talent you need maybe right in front of your face. Never let your internal supply go unknown. External experienced people may be needed of course. External people who are not experienced perhaps, but have the talent or the education, maybe they have the skills. But maybe it’s most appropriate that you get somebody in and mold them, that you inculcate them with the culture and the values of your team or your company. Again, filling the gap is matching supply to demand.
How many of these types do you need to effect your plan?
So in my example of the interior designer needed to put on my team, I determined that I needed one great one, just one that had experience in utilizing place, the environment around people to support a culture change. They needed to have some experience with this or at least have been trained In psychology a bit, and have a passion for their art that would link with cultural change initiatives. Well, here’s the square peg in the round hole. We don’t want that, do we? I couldn’t just hire an interior designer because that’s what it said on their resume. I have to probe deeper for passion, for understanding of the environment, and its connection to people and the people’s strategies.
Very special requirements, indeed, in this case.
Once you have identified the position, you have to articulate the skills, the knowledge, the capabilities that this person must have to add the kind of value that you will need in your team. There also may be other factors that need to be assessed and considered when filling a job. Once I was interviewing for leaders to go to China to build the first plant in China for my company. I knew what kind of talent I had to have. I knew the skills and the abilities. But moving to China with a family had other requirements. Such requirements were that they were able to move and able to move his or her family. But wait, what about dual career issues?
What about special schools? Was there a school for a child with special needs? If not, a family with a child that had special needs couldn’t go. There are many ancillary but critically important factors that must be assessed for certain positions. What about language skills? The example I talked about happened in the 90s, when English was hardly spoken in the area where the family would need to live, to shop, and to thrive. What about the job on an oil rig? Can you be away from your family for that long a time? You can’t bring a spouse to an oil rig. HR planning is a very important part of the talent pipeline.
And now, with the technology of today, human capital management systems can help you. You have a great support in the data to help you find and place the right talent in the right place at the right time.
For many years, I have referred to where we get our talent as the talent supply chain. And recently, while meeting with a leader in Kelly Services, she confirmed the word talent supply chain, also. It’s nice to find congruence in thinking, in whatever you’re doing. We need to be creative about finding talent, our talent supply solution. For instance, these two sisters worked on a family farm. This was a long, long time ago, before even I was born. But during World War II, when this picture was taken in 1942, they were also working in a factory. They shared a job.
In addition to working on the farm, they worked in the factory together, catalyzed by a big change in the world, and in this case a World War, Evelyn and Lillian shared a job. The talent and skills needed for this job were hidden before this time, but they came to life. I tell you this because I want you to know that resources are all around you. Be creative and find those that may be able to grow and develop inside your company. The person you need may already work inside your company. And they want to try something new. They may have a passion for what you’re trying to do, for the strategy you’re trying to effect on your team.
You’ll only know this if you ask, or if you have a sophisticated human capital management system that details the skills and abilities that exist in your company already.
Years ago, we had a rudimentary system of HR records in my company. I’m going all the way back to the 70s. Because when I hired in, I was asked, what languages did I speak? Now, I never thought it would ever get used, but I told them. The company was able to search the files, and find at a certain point in my life, and in the company’s life, they were looking for a person at a specific level who spoke French. Now, I happened to be at that time, in that rudimentary human capital management system the only person who had the right level, the right skills, and who spoke French.
After talking with me, they were lucky to find out that I was mobile and ready to move my French-speaking child to France. Also, they found out that my husband was adventurous and supportive with my career in that he was portable. Today’s systems can keep track of a multitude of data and facts that support HR planning. Can your positions be filled with a temp, a consultant, a part timer? Could people be sharing the position that you have? Since things are changing so fast, do we wanna hire somebody full time today, with today’s skills? Or, do we want to wait to fill something for tomorrow? These are important questions that we always have to ask ourselves.
This HR planning stuff requires us to be quite creative. It’s time again for you to think about your work and the positions that you may need to fill. Tell me about this in the forum. I’m looking forward to hearing about your detective work in finding out what you need to add value to your team or your company. What type of person can do the job to drive your strategy forward? Where can you find them? Think of a position that you want to fill right now. Does it have to be a new person?
Do you already have that person, somebody in the company who needs to be developed, that has a passion to work with you, or for you, on your team to create value? Does this position really need to be a full time person? How could it be handled?
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