1 Introduction: Downsizing an organization in terms of workforce for making savings is related to a lot of adverse effect. Redundancy situation creates panic among remaining employees as they don't feel secure. This situation damages the morale, motivation and loyalty of residual workforce which hampers the efficiency of workforce. Here in this report we will discuss effective ways of avoiding such situation and also the ways to align workforce for the prosperity of the organization at the same time report also emphasizes on making efficient savings for the organization.
1.1 Background: Dealing in a scenario wherein the organization is undergoing budgetary constraints is very difficult; the most difficult aspect of this situation is to keep employees motivated so that the organization can come out of this situation. It is very important for the organization to keep workforce motivated as human capital is an asset which if motivated can make organization sail through any difficult situation. At the same time it is also important to make optimum use of the workforce and effective vacancy management to make efficiency saving for an organization which is undergoing down rise.
1.2 Redundancy is the last step any organization would like to take as human resource is the largest asset of any organization. People make the organization grow and flourish, in my opinion effectively managing vacancies and precise workforce planning are better way out to avoid redundancy situation. These two measures not only help in avoiding redundancy situation but they are the best tools to make savings.
1.3 Vacancy Management: Effective Vacancy Management is very important for an organization to gain efficiency and make savings. Vacancy once created is required to be filled, but the more important thing is to analyze the value addition that position is doing for the growth of the organization. If at all the said vacancy is not a key position in the organization and is not making any difference in the efficiency of a team or the department it is, it's better to hold the vacancy or discontinue it. On the other hand if it is very important and is adversely affecting the workflow than in that case the first step should be redeployment of staff from some other department or position which is considered to be efficiency saving. Redeployment will help creating more trained employees and will also help in breaking monotony of the employees who are doing similar job since a very long time, hence a proper redeployment would create employee satisfaction and make savings for the organization. Second option is secondment, a temporary transfer to another job or post within the same organization is termed as secondment, if organization need to hold the vacancy for long due to budgetary constraints and savings targets this measure adds a lot of value to increase efficiency and make savings. Secondment is also a very good tool to increase inter organizational cohesiveness. These all measures create a lot of opportunistic savings for the organization and also help in retaining the most valuable assets of an organization "The Human Resource" by keeping the redundancy situation in a distance.
1.4 Workforce Planning: In an organization workforce planning is a key to identify what types of skills are needed to get the job done. Workforce planning is an essential ingredient of human capital management, as said by Ann Cotton in her book seven steps of effective workforce planning(pg 13) it is about alignment of organization's human capital-its employees-to its business plan. In other words, it ensures that the organization has will to have the right people with the right skills in the right job at the right time performing their assignments efficiently and effectively for a common goal and the goal is success of the organization. To sustain a long term success an organization requires adequately planned workforce with the collective set of knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies. The challenges faced in an organization today are:
Competition among the remaining employees is growing.
Increased diversification of the workforce both ethnically and generationally
Great difference in personal and professional expectations of employees due to generation gap.
Because of the above mentioned challenges of today's scenario workforce planning has been a very important tool for an organization to achieve its goals successfully. Today's' workforce planning is much wider than the 3R's of recruitment, retention and retirement. Workforce planning comprises of a lot of other things like adequately training the employees for increasing their efficiency or flexing them from work, job rotation and timely transfers, redeployment etc. A proper career succession plan for the employees is also very important and is an integral part of workforce planning. Retirement at an age is inevitable with the help of a proper career succession plan for the employees we can always create alternative arrangement in the organization for the retiring experienced staff.
Workforce planning as defined by Ann Cotten in her book "Seven Steps of effective workforce planning" pg 13, has mentioned that workforce planning also share the below mentioned elements:
Alignment with the strategic goals of the organization
Identification of the human capital needed to achieve the goals
Alignment of human capital as needed to ensure success
The creation, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to ensure the right mix of human capital is currently and will continue to be available when and where needed.
2. Recession and other adverse factors have made organizations very cautious in their workforce management strategies. Downsizing the organizations in terms of workforce is a common practice to make savings for the organization. Now the question is downsizing or implementing compulsory redundancy is a righteous way of making savings for the organization, though I agree and recommend opportunistic savings but not by downsizing the organizations workforce. Effectively managing current and future vacancies and effective planning of placing people in right job at the right time collectively termed as efficient workforce management are better ways. By implementing right strategies at a time when there is an acute need of making savings for the organization will always help organization to come out of any situation which is adversely affecting the success.
2.1 Vacancy Management:
Redeployment: It is movement of staff by the employer from one position or location to another. Effective redeployment always adds to gain efficiency and make savings for the organization. Effectively moving staff always help in breaking the monotony of employees and makes them more efficient. While redeploying employees employers should keep in mind:
Alternative job offer should have the same status.
It should be within the employee's capability.
Should not cause unreasonable additional inconvenience.
Alternative job offer should provide similar earnings.
Secondment: Temporary transfer of a staff from one department/location to another. This measure is very effective in preparing alternative staff or secondees for different important positions in an organization. This measure also helps in developing inter organizational cohesiveness that results in smoother functioning of the organization.
2.2 Workforce Planning: Organization must have robust human capital strategies to meet current and future business needs. These strategies typically focus on talent management, succession planning, leadership, knowledge management, performance management, and accountability.
Planned Retirements Staff Assessment Exercise: In order to plan long term strategies it is very important to have a knowledge of retiring staff members. Not only the normal course of retirement but we should also take an opinion of the staff on their retirement plans.
Career Succession Planning: Now as we have data of retiring employees by the above two exercises we now need to implement succession strategies. Succession planning programs are key to ensure that a strong data of potential successors will be available to replace retiring employees. Common activities included in succession planning programs are job shadowing, job rotations, mentoring, and formal professional development. As said by Amy R Herd and Tracy Buschbom (26th feb 2010) Essential elements in succession planning are an understanding of both the competencies needed to fill positions and the current competency levels of employees(Volume 15 Issue 1, Pages 96 - 110)
2.3 Effective workforce planning and vacancy management complement each other as they go hand in hand. Laying out long term plans for an organization is not at all possible without effectively managing human capital. Reference to Ann Cotten in her book 'Seven Steps of Effective Workforce Planning"(2007 edition, Pg 19) Workforce Planning and Effective Vacancy Management closes the below mentioned gaps in an organization:
Retaining good employees with needed skills.
Recruiting good employees with needed skills.
Retaining organizational knowledge and building employee skills.
2.4 The measures discussed above will bring in change in the organizational structure, organizational culture and also in the leadership. These changes may rope in inter organizational conflicts. Changes are not an unusual phenomenon in the history of mankind, but this time the change would be well managed (Thomas Diefenbach, August 2006), the idea of change brings in a lot of confusion and a feeling of insecurity in the mind of employees. The only thing that the employees resist is the idea of change itself. The working structure now is more prone to changes one of the most important factor is
the technology, the more effective ways of communication such as email and internet had resulted in a more flatter and less hierarchical organizational structure with fewer levels and more responsibilities (Managerial Skills: what has changed since late 1980's, Pg 169, July 2007). Reference to Ann Cotten ("Seven Steps of effective Workforce Planning" pg 21, 2007 edition) Communication is another critical component to minimize the negative effects of change. Leaders and workforce planning team members must communicate with managers and employees about the goals, scope, and timeframe of the workforce planning effort. Once strategies are ready for implementation, they must be communicated broadly as well. Managers and supervisors need to understand their roles and responsibilities in workforce planning, and employees need to understand their rights. If planned effectively the measures like secondment and redeployment increase inter organizational cohesiveness. Reference to Dr. Sanghamitra (Module 6-Approaches to Change Management, pg-3) effective change management is a eight step process:
Initiation (communication of need to change to people),
Motivation (motivating people to change by involving them in the process of change),
Diagnosis (analyzing and finding out the main cause of change)
Information Collection (collecting information after diagnosis to figure out the change alternatives)
Deliberation (carefully evaluating alternatives)
Action Proposal (finding out the best alternative by inviting opinion from people)
Implementation (Implementing the best alternative)
Stabilization (getting the people adapted to the change by making them understand that this is the part of organization's life and the best alternative for growth)
Further as per Dr. Sanghamitra (Module 6-Approaches to Change Management, pg-8) the hrm techniques to align employees with the change is very well described in tabular format as mentioned below.
â€¢ Employee education and training
â€¢ Role clarification
â€¢ Individual-role compatibility
â€¢ Salary and incentives
â€¢ Employee appraisal and career path
â€¢ Behavior modification
â€¢ Team building
â€¢ Employee empowerment
â€¢ Management by Objectives
This table clearly states that for effectively managing change it is very important to have clarity of beliefs and action, to build a followership of mutual trust and commitment and unanimously sharing the new culture and statement throughout the organization.
3. In any case change is inevitable but the important aspect is how well it's managed and what positive results it can bring for the organization. After careful evaluation and study of the facts from different literatures I believe that Job rotation (redeployment and secondment) and workforce planning (planned retirements-staff assessment exercise and career succession planning) are the best options to be chosen to gain efficiency and make savings for the organization.
3.1 Job Rotation makes an integral part of vacancy management. Reference to Ricardo Semler(Maverick, pg 5) job rotation of any respect secondment or redeployment is a win-win situation for both employees and employers.
Benefits to Employees:
Job rotation makes life more interesting for employees as they learn new skills.
Job rotation increases value of an employee as they become multi skilled.
People get a broader view of the company through job rotation, which in return helps them understand the vision in a better way.
Job rotation helps people to break monotony of doing similar job over a long period of time.
Benefits to Employers:
Job rotation discourages empire building, as before people start building an empire they are asked to pack their bags and move to a different department/location.
It enables organization to prepare more than one option for a job.
Job rotation helps depersonalization of the organization and as a result the organization gets to know by its name not by an individual.
Job rotation helps building inter-organizational cohesiveness.
As people in the organization become multi skilled by job rotation it decreases the trauma of a key employee leaving the organization as he/she can be easily replaced.
This success of this vision is clearly demonstrated in Semco where these changes were incorporated by the CEO Mr. Ricardo Semler.
3.2 While planning the workforce requirement it is very important to know the retirement plans of the employees, as only after the knowledge of the departing staff a career succession plan can be projected and implemented. Reference to the Jenny McCarthy (Planning a future workforce: An Australian Perspective, year 2005) it reveals an excellent example of remodeling the workforce by incorporating the above discussed strategies. The report reveals that when it was found out that the maximum numbers of librarians in Australia were at a retiring age a strategic career succession plan was devised for the aspiring next generation librarians. Though the mentoring was done by the retiring librarians but this new generation came in with revolutionary changes by redeveloping and reinventing the traditional ways with an effective use of new technology. Some of the changes are listed below:
Identification and management of information beyond traditional published information, including, for example, learning objects and data sets.
Development of access systems to facilitate searching across multiple sources and systems.
Leading and managing new directions in scholarly communication (for example, open access publishing and self-archiving, institutional repositories, institutional academic knowledge management).
Creation of new knowledge products (for example, subject portals and subject specific websites to support learning and teaching).
Development of physical and virtual spaces and services to support new pedagogies, including greater partnerships with academic and specialist support staff.
3.3 One more important aspect of workforce planning is to have a database of skill sets of employees with an assessment of the fact that what other skills can be developed in them for the success of the organization. This skill inventory of employees not only project the availability of needed skills in the future but also serve as a great asset to determine the availability of manpower for the short term projects of the organization as or when required.(Ann Cotten "seven steps of effective workforce planning" pg 15).
3.4 Though I recommend vacancy management but opportunistic savings and Internal adverts are of lesser value, as we already are making savings for the organization by proper administration of workforce movement. In the light of the measure of employee rotation I believe that need to make opportunistic savings will never arise as we will always have secondees to rope in as on when a vacancy arises. These plans also complement career succession planning as a vacancy can always be filled by a successor if we have identified it as it is depicted in the example of the Australian libraries as mentioned above.
3.5 Conclusion: Change is an inevitable process and is not an alien word for humans. But when this change happens in the organizations it's the management of change that makes a difference. A change that was incorporated by Ricardo Semler in his company "Semco" can be taken as example of a well managed change. Though it is a long story of 25 years but the change was managed and incorporated in a very well managed way. It is only planned execution of strategy that makes a difference.