The Importance of Planning in Talent Management
While every step in the talent management process is important, planning is absolutely the most critical period, as it will determine the types of talent you hire as well as your overall goals and strategies for long term business success. Within talent management, workforce planning is the key; however, if your company's business plan is out of date or incomplete, all of the best workforce planning in the world will not necessarily generate business success.
Every company needs a business plan, whether you are a freelance consultant or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, your business needs a plan. Most business plans are developed during the inception of the business and unfortunately are often left alone once the business is up and running. Unfortunately, this can be a major error in judgment on behalf of companies. A business plan should be looked at like the United States Constitution, it is a living document, perpetually reexamined and reshaped with new experience, development, and wisdom. Most businesses are most successful when long term business strategies are kept at the forefront of their minds and actions.
A business plan incorporates many different aspects of what the business is hoping to do as well as how it will achieve its goals. Many plans are written on a 3 to 5 year basis and should be evaluated, at a minimum, every next 3 to 5 years after that. Ideally, business owners and managers will continue to explore different possibilities within their existing business plan on an ongoing basis. The changing world is constantly evolving and providing new and different avenues for both businesses and consumers; it is to a company's detriment to overlook new developments, new competition, and new resources. Thus, while companies can operate on a multiyear set of goals and objectives, strategies should be developed and then optimized continuously. Considering the internet and wireless technology landscape, it would be foolish for the vast majority of companies to ignore rapid development within these areas and what they can gain from this development.
A successful set of business goals typically will include continuing to provide excellent goods or services as well as the development of new product lines, new partnerships, better provisions or services, more highly developed resources, expansion of goods, and so forth. For each goal, there For each goal, there should be multiple objectives that measure and define success for each goal. For example, a brewery operating out of Washington State might have a goal of expanding into new markets. That goal might then be broken down into having their beer sold in nearby states such as Oregon and California, developing a light or dark version of their existing brews, or similar other expansion objectives. Each objective should be measurable and specific as well as time oriented so that it can be recognized and defined within the larger long term plan and strategy.
For a thorough business plan, each objective must then be evaluated and broken down into a list or steps of what is needed to accomplish the objective. A staff increase, new warehouse, new equipment, and so on may make the list. Important relationships might also make the list such as building an affiliate program, developing partnerships with related businesses (such as grocery stores or restaurants, might be appropriate for the brewery example), and so forth. When each objective is broken down into the steps necessary to achieve success, you should begin to see patterns developing and areas where workforce planning will be a key.
One important aspect of planning your goals, objectives, and steps is not only to assess opportunities for new growth and development but also to recognize and consider areas that are problematic or faulty. Every business has some (and usually many) problems within their operations. Whether it is your existing work force, poor management, low quality goods or services, or anything else, you will want to not only further develop your strengths but also to solve the existing problems and repair any damage that has been done due to those problems.
When a company has determined its goals for the future as well as its overall strategies for how it intends to achieve those goals, it should be better ready to determine what type of workforce planning is necessary. When it comes to workforce planning, you will need to consider talent and typical employees that will be necessary to achieve your goals; within both of those categories, you should also then be able to establish the who, what, and when of your workforce development.
What will the position consist of?
Staff roles that are critical to the long term success and strategies of a business require highly skilled human capital (aka talent). When you identify that certain objectives or strategies will require these employees who operate at a higher level, you will need to begin building a concrete description of the role each talent hire will play. Eventually this will whittle down to a job description with specific tasks but for now concentrate on the overarching goals of each position. How will the person in this position be responsible for moving the company forward? Will they require more expertise, more education, or more vision (or all three)? What will this person been doing to move your company to a new level of success? You cannot choose the right person for a job if you have not decided what that job is going to entail.
Whom should you hire?
Obviously, locating and acquiring talent is further down the line than simply planning your work force, so you will not know whom you want to hire specifically at this point. However, this is precisely when you should be defining who we want a higher in terms of the type of experience, education, and other attributes that you want each individual to have. Obviously, if you are in charge of a medium or large company or department, you may not need to answer this question for every person you hire but you will need to do it for your talent. The following questions should help you determine the type of person you want to hire.
What level of education is ideal for this position? What level of education is the minimum required for this position? What areas of study would be valuable for this position? How strongly do you care about the place where a potential employee received their education? Do you have a minimum GPA or other achievements necessary for this position?
What level of experience is ideal for this position? What is the minimum level of experience? How necessary is it that the person has exactly the same experience for the position compared to similar or an adjacent experience? Can experience and education be substituted for each other and if so, to what degree?
How thoroughly do you intend to check the background of candidates for this position? How important of a role might a criminal background play in your decision? Do you care or prefer candidates who have worked in many fields or companies compared to candidates who have stayed with one or two places of employment? How important is it that past employers speak highly of the candidates?
What type of business culture does your company have and how important is it that the talent you hire is conducive to that culture? Is the business culture strong? Is it inclusive? Does it reflect the environment where your business works? How much friction is likely to occur if you hire a person who is significantly different from the majority of your staff?
What is the culture of the department where the new talent will be working? In addition, how does the supervisor or manager overseeing that position interact with employees? If the manager has a strong personality or style, how important is it that new hires are similar or different from that personality?
Does the role you want the new talent to play inherently require certain personal or professional characteristics? Does it matter if the potential hire is brash or unassuming? Does it matter if they are very different from the people with whom they will interact? Does the position itself require someone to have or exhibit certain attributes?
When should this position be filled?
When a business owner or manager sits down and develops a long term strategy for success, it can be very easy to try to move the company along at a high speed towards those goals and objectives. Unfortunately, the nature of long term goals means that you cannot simply make it happen by rushing the process. Sometimes it is necessary for things to take a long time to develop and you can harm your chances of being successful by making substantial changes too soon or too late.
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