If you own a business, you own its workforce skills plan

If you own a business, you own its workforce skills plan. Plan for the next 5 years, so you company stays strong, creative, competitive. Plan for people with new skills and fresh perspectives. Yes, it’s a crucial part of running your business.

If you own a business, you own its workforce skills plan. It’s about critical preparedness

Every month in the Ericsson Leadership team we were reviewing updates on Workforce Planning. Large organization and many functions. With the desire to constantly progress, HR leaders were driving a discussion on what kind of skills, where, when, how much do we need.

It was a discussion mirroring the business plan, valuable customer and projects’ plan; not a personal bias discussion (I need to hire X because I’m the boss), but a highly objective-data based review and decision. Many multinationals follow this practice.

You also need it, if you run a small-medium sized business

You think that running a small-medium business you don’t need such a human-factor plan? You absolutely need to sit calm and think your people’s skills, and where the gaps are. You have a good guy in export sales. A reliable store manager. Who’s the succession? With which skills?

You’ve outsourced your website or e-shop for development. Then you need a young professional to manage it. You get creative and content from some small agency. OK, you learn and you don’t want to absorb the costs. But what’s the workforce plan you should have in mind, as your business evolves?

You need such a plan for the Future

Cloud, digitization and the Internet of Things will somehow influence and automate your business. If you produce cheese, you need automation for logistics-sales-distribution. If you sell apparel, you’ll do 80% of your floor traffic through an app. If you sell insurance, your online support will replace the outsourced call centre.

For such a probability how exactly do you prepare, if you don’t ask, learn more from peers, and audit your organization’s skills and capabilities? Trust me, given tomorrow’s automation and data-driven workplace (sourcing, marketing, sales), talent will be scarce and the needs of your organization will change often. It’s not anymore an issue only for the big companies.

The PwC’s CEO 2017 survey shows that half of the CEOs explore how machines and humans can work together, considering the effect automation will have on their workforce. Will you wait for some big event, to assess which skills and positions you need?

Why do I advise on Workforce planning?

In every business, I visit there’s some issue coming out of old-times’ competence and blocking factors in the full business equation. I heard three owners in the last month only, worrying that “my people don’t get it“.

  • Make an inventory, a current list of your current team’s skills and next column, future gaps (you know your business areas best)
  • Put your skills’ search targets (what kind of profiles ideally you would need), no matter if you don’t recruit now.
  • Check similar companies and what they do in this field (best-cases only)

Your big benefit

This whole process will help you have an estimate; an outside-in view of your business plan and scenarios. I don’t advise to go into personal evaluations (don’t do this subjective mistake), but ‘mirror’ the combination of the business task – position – skills – digital change (in this position).

Talent challenge in Economy 4.0

You have heard many times, and owners like you say in surveys, that talent don’t match desired skills. I’m not saying that all recruiters are equally serious and well-fit companies, but the Talent challenge is here. If you expect to invest in sales exports positions, you think that universities and colleges prepare talented salesman? Or will you continue doing it as in the old-days…here’s a trusted friend, he will become a salesperson?

Stimuli to discuss and share

(for Curiosity and Empathy….)