Workforce solutions: Act now, plan later
I’m usually a big advocate of workforce planning, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that companies today need to take action with their workforce solutions right now. Not at the end of the month, or quarter, or year, when your regular workforce planning meeting comes around. They need to do so today. Waiting around and doing nothing is detrimental, and frankly, employees are getting tired of treading water.
I enjoy reading books about exploration. Magellan, Columbus, and Cook all experienced periods of time when the sea was totally still. No currents, no wind. Just ships sitting dead in the water in the area known as the doldrums.
In these instances, the captain would be tasked with boosting the crew’s morale. Typically the routine of chores and watch duties helped. But really, action of any kind elevated spirits.
Take action – any action
After the recession, it feels like we’re in the doldrums. If you’re in a position to influence the workforce solutions your company can implement, now is the time to get things moving. The wind of the economy is blowing ever so weakly, but it’s not enough to propel the movement that we need.
I’m not suggesting that you take any wild action — just something to generate forward momentum. Temporary hiring is up and many companies are using contingent labor to fill gaps. Project-based recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a good, controlled way to find workers for specific areas or projects. Statement of work (SOW) engagements also are helping to move projects forward.
Project-based RPO or SOW engagements need oversight and direction, but they can provide the needed relief from the doldrums. And if your captains (executives) are not taking company-wide action, starting in your department might be the best way to go.
Why taking action now can help
- It shows that you have a plan. A plan equals hope. Sometimes all people need to see is that you have addressed the issue (or at least you know there’s an issue) and they’ll begin to get on board. Even if you don’t have a full workforce solutions plan right now, it will feel like you do. At the very least it will feel like you will have one at some point.
- It shows short-term willingness to act. Workers want action, not words. We’ve all heard a lot in the past 24-36 months. Talk is cheap. Completing projects or filling an open spot speaks volumes.
- It leads to planning. If you’re thinking about workforce solutions now and can get top executives on board, it should lead to good things down the line. Movement will get people talking and thinking about the future. Right now the mindset is that inaction means you aren’t spending money. While that might be true, it’s probably not getting you anywhere.
Even though your organization might not be ready for massive or long-term hiring, you need to take action now to convey to your current employees that an end to the doldrums is in sight. Tapping into workforce solutions for temporary talent can provide the reinforcements needed to gradually ramp up production and show your workforce that you’re confident about your future.