Principles of effective workforce planning and tools used to carry it out
Workforce planning is a process of identifying and addressing the current skilled labor as well as the skills needed in an organization. When carrying out workforce planning, there are key principles that the organization management takes into consideration, as illustrated below (Cook, 2004).
In workforce planning, the management of any organization has the duty of identifying the future directions of the business and the workforce needs as well as analyzing and understanding the make-up of the present workforce by the use of SWOT analysis. Managers are also required to develop institutional and budget center-based policies and strategies that help to attain the set goals of the organization (Bernard, 2007).
Workforce planning handles the requirements of skilled labor by relating the human resources planning to the strategic planning of the organization to attain the set objectives. Workforce planning entails the understanding of how the workforce changes in terms of skills, interests, demographics, and performance (Cook, 2004).
The organization’s management team has to provide functional operational workforce planning which has to be carried out based on the idea of understanding the capabilities of workforce planning. This can be attained by the use of such workforce tools as templates, simple tools, and techniques. The workforce tools are used by an organization in relating the innovative technology in the field to the existing skills so as to integrate the workforce planning with the business practices (Taylor, 2013).
Succession workforce planning is a very vital tool in human resources since it promotes the success of an organization. Human resource managers are required to ensure that employees are identified and developed to fill the identified key positions in the organization (Cook, 2004). In developing a succession plan, there are five steps that need to be followed.
First and foremost is choosing successors for the identified positions. To choose the successors, one examines all the employees who have the potential skills and abilities to fill the identified gaps. When identifying the potential employees, the management involves the research committee as well as the board of directors to give their views. This process needs to start as early as fifteen years before one retires to leave the position vacant (Taylor, 2013).
The next step is to develop a formal training plan for the chosen successor. It also entails the identification of critical functions of the organization so as to have the successor work in each of the areas. The third is to establish a training timetable as well as a shift control timetable for the organization. Once succession is successful, the person to retire, the management, and the successor are required to be aware of who is in charge of what and when (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Career development planning
Career development planning is a process of self-assessment whereby one identifies the career possibilities by looking internally to identify one’s key interests, skills, values, work style, personality, and environmental issues which are critical to one’s work satisfaction. A career development plan provides an action plan for one to follow when ready to acquire knowledge about the possible career paths as well as opportunities (Bernard, 2007).
When developing a career development plan, the management needs to assess the current leadership situation and how it might change in the near future. There is also a need to address the priorities and goals of the process which indicate what to be accomplished and when as well as identify the key stakeholder groups of the organization. In the next stage of assessing requirements, the management establishes a clear definition of the leadership characteristics required by the organization as well as tailors the leadership rubric which shows what matters in a successful leader. The process identifies the metrics to be used in measuring a successful leader (Cook, 2004).
After identifying the priorities, it is essential to focus on career management activities to fit into the areas of greater needs. The process of developing leaders requires one to create opportunities for skill development in relation to the identified areas as well as to develop and execute an individualized plan for the high potential leaders. Lastly, the organization maintains and monitors career assessment metrics so as to acquire the set objectives (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
How career development planning, succession, and workforce planning contribute to plans for downsizing an organization
Due to the current economic challenges, organizations are forced to employ a layoff strategy so as to fit into the competitive world. Cook (2004) argues that there are several factors, such as career development, workforce planning, and succession planning, that contribute to downsizing. Career development contributes to downsizing in the sense that employees upgrade their skills and competencies to meet the current demands of the organization. Due to economic changes, organizations are compelled to deploy employees who cannot meet their demands so as to employ people who can be able to work under pressure efficiently (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Workforce planning has also contributed to the downsizing of organizations since it enables managers to plan for long-term objectives that involve the growth of the organization. The management is able to determine the skills required in the various areas as well as the employees who can work best in those areas. This leads to layoffs of those employees whose skills are no longer valuable to the organization (Cook, 2004).
BP (Shell) company deployed its staff due to the economic crisis. In its plan of downsizing, the company used the workforce planning tool to determine the areas that were crucial and those ones that were to be done away with so as to identify the necessary skills and abilities required in those areas. Later, the company deployed those employees whose knowledge and skills were not crucial, hence retaining those with relevant skills and abilities to take over the responsibilities (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Succession planning is another tool that has greatly contributed to downsizing in the sense that through succession planning, organizations are able to train their employees on the necessary skills required in various fields. This enables workers to acquire different competencies so that in case an employee leaves the company; there are people from within the company with the required skills to fit into the position (Taylor, 2013).
For instance, banks in the UK use the three tools when planning for downsizing in the way that they develop their employees to fit into various positions so as to multi-task when working in the organization. Due to the economic changes, Barclay’s bank employed the strategy of succession planning and workforce planning so as to fit into the competitive market by reducing the number of employees as a way of mitigating the costs (Cook, 2004).
Legal requirements in relation to the dismissal
There are various reasons for the dismissal of employees from an organization. During the research conducted, it was noticed that employees can leave their present working environments due to various causes. One can depart from an organization voluntarily meaning that it is the employee who requests the resignation. This happens when an employee wants to change the profession, when one wants to resign from the job for earlier retirement or when one receives better payments in a different company, but still in the same position (Bernard, 2007).
On the other hand, the dismissal of employment with an organization can be involuntary. In this case, it is the employer who decides on the leave-out of the employee. The employer can therefore dismiss an employee if s/he has failed to deliver the services to the required standards, if the job that s/he has been doing is not of any value to the company anymore, if the company is facing financial problems so that it cannot meet the requirements of the employee anymore, when an employee dies or when one commits a crime of violence, like sexual assault (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
In this section, the research explains the exit procedures employed in NHS Shetland which is a company based in the UK. This procedure is considered lawful and suitable for a company that minds the welfare of its employees (Cook, 2004).
NHS Shetland perceives their employees as the backbone of their company since they are the people who steer the success of the organization. This is an organization that strives to maintain its positive image, and this makes the management ensure that they cooperate with their employees during the time of recruitment processes, their stay in the company as well as their departure from it. The company has an effective exit procedure to ensure that the matters arising from the employee’s resignation are handled effectively so as to make a terminated employee get a positive impression from the board and use the collected information in improving the staff turnover as well as in developing the service plans for the future of the organization (Bernard 2007).
During the resignation process, the line manager informs the human resources department about the resignation of an employee immediately s/he receives a notification after which s/he acknowledges the resignation in writing a letter the copy of which s/he forwards to the human resources department (Bernard, 2007).
Next, the line manager sends a confirmation confirming the last working day of the employee as well as all the details concerning the annual leave to the HRM department. The human resources department will therefore write a termination form in relation to the information provided by the line manager so as to be forwarded to the payroll department for it to meet the monthly deadlines (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Later, the HRM department sends an exit interview questionnaire to the employee so as to be completed in preparation for resignation. Lastly, the HRM department forwards confirmation of service proforma to the line manager to be completed and returned. This document will be kept in the employee’s file as well as any other employment references, as issued by the board in reference to section (5) of the code of conduct of the company (Anthony & Kacmar 2009).
Legal requirements in relation to redundancy
Redundancy is considered unlawful if the process is regarded as discriminatory. Individuals to be dismissed from the job must be employees working in the jobs which are in the selection pool. The employer has to avoid discrimination against disabled employees or dismissing them based on their age as well as gender. For the redundancy process to be considered fair and lawful, the following procedure has to be taken into consideration (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Before carrying out the redundancy process, the management reviews the employment agreement and job descriptions of the individuals to be put in the selection pool to ensure that the legal requirements in relation to Employment Relations Act are adhered to with the aim of developing a proposal. Next, the management seeks to advise the employees or the unions whose jobs have been affected so as to give them the information in relation to the selection criteria, the roles affected, the time frame for them to get prepared psychologically, and the options for voluntary redundancy (Bernard, 2007).
An organization identifies the training needs of the employees who will take up the new positions so as to develop career development for them and start training them in their relevant fields. It is also important to offer support to the individuals leaving an organization by giving them enough time to search for other jobs, providing references as well as offering supportive services, such as career planning and counseling (Bernard, 2007).
The management has therefore to calculate the final pay-up, as stipulated in the employment agreement. It is crucial for organizations to conduct an exit interview so as to get the necessary information to improve their work in the future. Finally, the management has to ensure that all the company properties have been returned to the office by those employees made redundant (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Legal requirements in relation to retirement
Bernard (2007) says that retirement can either be voluntary or involuntary. In relation to the UK act, retirement was considered legal when an individual reached sixty-five years, but this was changed on 6th April 2011 when it was agreed that an individual has a choice on when to retire not to be discriminated against by age (Cook, 2004).
A company can offer earlier retirement to their employees when there is a legitimate aim. A legitimate aim for having earlier retirement involves maintaining the health and safety of an individual whereby a proper assessment of the risks has to be conducted to ensure that the risks in question are at a higher level than the normal risks which exist in the everyday life (Bernard, 2007).
Retirement is also considered legal when the process will provide remarkable opportunities for promotion. When carrying out workforce planning so as to meet the long-term objectives of a company, retirement is considered legal since there are always realistic expectations on when the positions will be vacant for new employees to take over. Before conducting the retirement process, the prescribed procedure has to be adhered to by the organization in question (Anthony & Kacmar 2009).
Analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of labor market competitors
Companies in the United Kingdom employ individuals with the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to work in the identified positions. Organizations comprise sophisticated as well as innovative employees who are ready to incorporate the latest technologies into the productivity and operations of a company. Flexibility in the labor market is a strength since a large number of UK companies employ part-time workers who help in carrying out specific duties within a company.
The poor education system is a weakness in the labor market since it contributes to skill shortages whereby the labor market lacks the required skills to meet the demands of the market. A skill gap is another weakness in the labor market since companies are not able to acquire individuals with the necessary skills to meet their job demands.
How organizations position themselves to compete strategically in the labor market
The labor market is defined as a mechanism that entails buying and selling of human labor as commodities. It is also considered as a means by which labor supply is matched with the labor demand. The workforce of an organization has to have the required knowledge and skills to fit into the identified position for the organization to attain its strategic objectives in the labor market (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Barber (1998) argues that the firm can either use the approach of developing the existing employees for long-term objectives or the one of recruiting the required manpower from the outside to fit into the identified gaps. The internal labor of an organization reflects the availability of human resource policies, such as the level of career development opportunities in an organization.
Organizations have internal structures that help in managing the workforce whereby they limit access to the outside labor market by restricting specific entry points into the firm, hence promoting the internal employees into senior positions. This kind of structure is said to be a noticeable characteristic of a big organization that has managed to position itself strategically in the labor market by benefiting from employee retention (Cook, 2004).
For an organization to gain a competitive edge in the labor market, it has to invest heavily in training and career development so as to meet its demands. The organization identifies the gaps to be filled, the skills and knowledge are relevant to the identified gaps as well as plans training of the identified employees who have the required skills and abilities (Barber, 1998).
The external labor market of an organization is considered as the external supply of labor. The type of labor an organization requires is determined by the needs of the industry sector under which the company operates. The external labor market helps an organization to acquire the required employees to fit into the identified positions for the company to achieve its long-term objectives (Marchington & Wilkinson 2008).
Why and how organizations seek to be seen as employers of choice
Employers only turn out to be employees of choice when they develop an employer brand factor in their management and decision-making process. For an organization to be an employer of choice, human resource management has to be classified in relation to the levels of strategic, tactical, and operational management (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2008).
Anthony & Kacmar (2009) define employers of choice as “those organizations that outperform their competition to attract, develop, and retain people with business-required talents”. An employer of choice is also seen as an organization, individual, or an associate, able to build an identifiable and unique employer identity that is different from the competitors, which reflects the image of the organization as a great place to work, but with specific and required qualifications and interest (Taylor 2013).
Being an employer of choice has, however, both positive and negative implications to an organization. The positive part of the element was mentioned by such researchers as Marchington & Wilkinson (2008) who have given credit to the several advantages, such as attitude and behavior evaluation among job applicants before being recruited in the organization as competent employees. In addition, being an employee of choice gives organizations opportunities to recruit only qualified and competitive job applicants and, at the same time, retain those employees who are committed to the organization.
In addition, in order to induce positive associations and a favorable employer image, the employer of choice aspect ensures the creation of a unique employer value proposition (EVP), which encompasses the employment advantages and benefits (instrumental attributes) as well as key organizational values (symbolic attributes) (Taylor, 2013). Thus, the employer of choice concept ensures that it attracts employees who maintain organizational values, employment advantages, and benefits so as to promote organizational performance through maximum human capital involvement.
Since every business concept or strategy has its own demerits, being an employer of choice also contains negative aspects or implications. This is well explained by Anthony & Kacmar (2009) who address the issue of being an employer of choice as a concept that scares away potential but developing employees who are not yet experienced. This may happen because organizations use a method of employment that only requires experts who have the knowledge and skills related to the company’s needs. This makes it hard for new graduates to acquire jobs since they always lack the working experience that is in line with the needs of the company in question.
Anthony, W. & Kacmar, K. ( 2009). Strategic human resource management. USA: The Dryden Press.
Barber, A. (1998). Recruiting employees: individual and organizational perspectives. London: Sage.
Bernard, F. (2007). The origin, the change and the termination of an employment relationship. USA: Cambridge University.
Cook, M. (2004). Personnel selection: adding value through people. 4th ed. Chichester: Wiley.
Marchington, M. & Wilkinson, A. (2008). Human resource management at work: people management and development. 4th ed. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Taylor, S. (2013). Resourcing and talent management. 4th ed. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.