Nowadays, effective workforce management is essential to success in the corporate world. In a time of swift technological progress, changing demographic patterns, and changing workplace dynamics, companies prioritizing workforce management stand to benefit greatly. To achieve sustainable development and competitiveness, the strategies and best practices for workforce management are examined in this article, focusing on their significance. There are two main categories for the workforce management, and they are:
Strategic workforce planning: Workforce management that considers the organization’s long-term goals and objectives is known as strategic workforce management. It entails coordinating the workforce with the strategy of the organization, projecting future labor requirements, and creating talent pipelines to satisfy those requirements.
Forecasting the demand requires understanding the full strategy picture so that organizational goals are properly measured. At the same time, to ensure that strategic workforce planning is effective, it needs to be measured against key performance indicators.
Operational workforce planning: Operational workforce planning enables the organization to achieve short-term outcomes. This level of workforce planning involves keeping track of day-to-day operations, assigning people, and addressing ad-hoc changes.
Workforce planning process
Workforce planning can be divided into five main areas:
- Analyze the current workforce: This involves assessing the workforce’s current level of skill and capabilities as well as any gaps and the skills required to accomplish the organization’s long-term objectives.
- Identify target needs: This includes a strategic analysis of the company, market forecasts, and industry trends. The organization can determine the precise skills and competencies needed to satisfy those objectives once it has a clear picture of what it will need in the future.
- Develop strategies: Developing strategies involves filling up the gaps and preparing the workforce for the organization’s future demands. This entails creating targeted initiatives and programs. Programs for training and development, recruiting drives, and succession planning are a few examples of this.
- Implement strategies: This entails implementing the identified techniques and assessing their effectiveness. To ensure the tactics are producing the intended effects, it is critical to regularly review and monitor them. The tactics can be modified as needed to increase their effectiveness. Workforce planning is an ongoing process that needs to be included into the organization’s larger operational management and business planning initiatives. Organizations can ensure they have the appropriate people with the right skills in the right location at the right time to fulfill their goals by proactively approaching workforce planning.
- Monitor and evaluate: Workforce planning must include both monitoring and evaluation. Organizations may determine what is effective and what needs to be improved by tracking and assessing the workforce strategy’s effectiveness, efficiency, and appropriateness.
In a case study featured on AIHR addressing the strategic workforce challenges faced by ProRail Traffic Control, the main concern revolved around the imminent transformation of jobs for 700 Train Traffic Controllers and 150 operational planners due to increased automation. In response, the organization developed a 10-year vision named “Digital Vision” to digitize the traffic control process and accommodate projected capacity growth. To assess the workforce impact of these changes, the management initiated Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP).
Guided by principles such as business continuity, re-schooling, turnover, cost-effective growth, and technology integration, the SWP approach involved a data-driven analysis by a core team comprising HR and external consultancy experts. The quantitative model generated insights, including the anticipated retirement-driven employee departures, a natural turnover exceeding the reduction in required operators, and the feasibility of adjusting workstation numbers over time to align with technological advancements, ensuring operational continuity and job security. The study emphasizes the importance of aligning workforce planning with technological advancements to achieve long-term sustainability and adaptability.
Growth is ultimately fueled by a workforce that is aligned and can carry out the organization’s strategic goals. Organizations may create a culture of innovation and continuous development as well as react to the changing business environment by taking a proactive approach to workforce planning.
In essence, ensuring growth in an organization requires a workforce that is aligned with the appropriate skills and competencies. For organizations to achieve their objectives, strategic workforce planning ensures that the appropriate people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time. This encompassing method of managing the workforce fosters long-term success and flexibility in the dynamic organization setting.
An aligned workforce with the skills and capacities to carry out the organization’s strategic goals and objectives is a workforce that drives business growth.
Nawaf Al Omari is an experienced Senior Workforce Planner with a proven track record in optimizing organizational performance through strategic workforce management. He specializes in forecasting, budgeting, resource allocation, talent acquisition strategies, as well as stakeholder engagement. Nawaf is recognized for implementing data-driven solutions to enhance workforce efficiency and is adept at fostering collaboration to achieve both strategic and operational excellence.
Outstanding performance that can sustain positive results in the future is one of the key elements of organizational excellence.
Considering organizational excellence as what can drive organizations to a brighter future in terms of more profits, cost reduction, more customer satisfaction, referrals, better net promoter score; it is important to highlight the three pillars of the excellence model from the EFQM model 2020; direction, execution and results.
Having this in mind, the model stresses the need for methodological approach where we develop practices and processes, integrate them into the organization towards agile, effective, and efficient execution, in order to achieve better performance results internally (strategic and operational) and externally as perceptions from stakeholders (customers, citizens, and beneficiaries), which can sustain positively in the future.
The third criterion of the model, namely “Engaging Stakeholders,” focuses on ensuring continuous and positive engagement with all key stakeholders of the organization including employees/public servants. Employees are therefore seen as a key stakeholder, and having them as an integral part of any organizational excellence model emphasizes the need to shift the public sector’s focus from the traditional way of operations, in which public servants are only there to process the requests of citizens, try on their own to be energetic and efficient, awaiting their retirement, to a more competitive way, in which they compete with the private sector’s staff in terms of service excellence.
For this shift to happen, the key players are the employees, who will need to feel the need, accept and change towards a different mindset where they consider themselves not just as public servants but as drivers towards the public sector’s and country’s prosperity.
Leaders need to approve such a shift, align it with organizational purpose, direct it internally and externally, support it with the right values, allow change management to tackle all what needs to change step by step, and catalyze it with motivational culture.
A motivational culture can help public servants create ideas to improve, and innovate in the direction of efficiency and agility, so that they can get recognized internally and externally. Motivate them to be proud ambassadors for the country’s welfare. Motivate them so that they can understand and fully believe that they are the primary drivers of success.
Although motivation is one word, thousands of research papers have talked about it! So, let’s get back to the foundation of human beings without further complications: aren’t we survivors? Haven’t we gone through so many crises and changes in this world and made it safely in 2022? Accordingly, the desire to see what tomorrow holds for us and to consider what we may do now to get a greater return tomorrow is what drives us to get out of bed each morning in search of a better tomorrow.
Finally, I would like to refer to the very significant connection between motivation and sustainability. Motivation is one of the components of sustainability, which ensures that resources are preserved for current generations as well as all future ones.
Will sustainability direction, focus and efforts succeed? It will all depend on whether we, people, feel ourselves part of it and we are motivated enough to invest in it. How to feel this way and how to be motivated? Simply by ensuring our sense of belonging and our ability to effect the necessary change, both for our benefit and the benefit of all future generations.
This article was originally published in the PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE Issue No. 24, 2023 – Public Sector Edition for the Ask Our Experts section.
Rayed Alhumaid is the current Head of the Strategy & Institutional Performance Program for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance. He previously participated in the drafting and planning of the digital projects portfolio for the Ministry of Higher Education.
As a Strategic Planning and Performance Manager, Aubrey Phillips engages both people and data to optimize departmental efficiency. She has demonstrated leadership by spearheading interagency teams responsible for the development of Pinellas County’s COVID-19 dashboard and relief programs. Aubrey holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental studies from New College of Florida, along with an advanced Geographic Information Systems certificate.
Image source: Adrian Calinescu via Canva
Does your organization adopt an employee or customer-centric operating methodology? For decades, the main focus of businesses in the Middle East has been on the customer, embracing mottos such as “The customer is always right” or “Customer comes first,” with the primary objective of attaining high customer satisfaction to expand market share. While this remains a universal goal, the approach to achieving it varies among companies, with some prioritizing employees over customers.
Employee performance management has gained increased attention in recent years compared to previous decades. This shift is largely a result of a changing mindset in both the private and public sectors regarding core business principles and operating methodologies. Companies have started to be more aware that what leads to customer satisfaction is a happy workforce, prompting them to focus more on managing employee performance.
Business magnate Richard Branson encapsulates this shift with his statement: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” This shows us the importance of transitioning towards a more employee-centric business model to keep employees satisfied and engaged while achieving business goals. For all these reasons, employee performance management plays a pivotal role.
To better understand what employee performance management entails, it is important to examine its sub-processes:
- Employee performance planning: The planning phase is a prerequisite, establishing the groundwork for the entire process. It is imperative to clarify roles, responsibilities and competencies by having the proper job descriptions and competencies framework developed based on the market’s best practices.
- Employee performance measurement: This phase teaches the creation of scorecards at the employee level, guiding the assessment of competencies and behaviors. It also delves into the advantages and disadvantages of creating a final performance index for each employee, incorporating clearly defined criteria such as objectives, KPIs, competencies, and behaviors.
- Employee performance review: This phase details organizing and conducting employee performance review meetings, ensuring value for managers and employees. During meetings, managers transparently discuss employee performance, acknowledge achievements and progress, and highlight improvement areas.
- Employee performance improvement (talent management): This phase emphasizes the right course of action after the performance review meeting and the enablers of performance improvement. It guides the addressing of low-, medium-, and high-performing staff members, underscoring the importance of a monitoring process to ensure the effective implementation of corrective actions.
- Performance recognition: This process guides the creation of rewarding models for acknowledging high-performing individuals and teams, enabling the design of a sustainable reward system encompassing financial and non-financial rewards.
In 2023, several aspects of performance management, especially employee performance management, have evolved. This shift is a response to the so-called “post-pandemic new normal,” forcing businesses to rethink survival strategies for 2024 and beyond. Six main trends have emerged:
- Aligned employee and business goals
- Investments in upskilling and reskilling
- Improved approaches to feedback
- Prioritizing employee wellbeing
- Embracing hybrid flexibility
- Technology in Performance Management
A noteworthy change is the evolution of the job landscape. Financial security, which once deterred employees from leaving their jobs, is no longer the sole factor. Jobs now offer employees opportunities for growth, continuous feedback, flexible working hours, remote or hybrid work options, and comprehensive benefits, enhancing their work-life balance. These trends underscore the imperative for businesses to shift towards employee-centricity to achieve strategic objectives and foster sustainable business practices with reduced turnover.
Employee performance management will witness further changes, particularly in performance review and goal-setting. The workplace will increasingly focus on personal and professional goals, transforming performance reviews from a process into project-based evaluations, enhancing the workspace and contributing to a more sustainable business.
To prepare you for the year ahead, The KPI Institute can equip you with the industry-leading tools and skills required to nurture employee performance. Sign up for the Certified Employee Performance Management Professional and Practitioner courses now and secure your slot here.