Strategic workforce management planning: earn how to implement it properly


strategic workforce management


With the evolution of the socioeconomic and technological realities of humanity, culminating in the Age of Communication and Knowledge, labor propositions have changed considerably in focus, as well as strategic workforce management in organizations. This can be thought of as presented in Maslow’s Pyramid Theory.

The aging of the population – evidenced by the fall in birth rates and the increase in life expectancy – means that there are many more professionals already experienced in the market, who are no longer seeking just a secure job.

They seek opportunities that enhance their self-esteem, provide confidence, and by which they can earn the respect of others through their deeds. In this aspect, the people management strategy is fundamental, as it aims to understand the employees of a company and align their interests with those of the organization itself.

That is, without such strategic workforce management planning in organizations, companies can suffer greatly from talent attrition. If your company does not yet have a people management strategy, we’ve written this article to help you understand what it is and how you can implement one.

If strategic workforce management is already a reality in the day to day of your organization, check if the actions adopted are among the best practices in the market. Enjoy reading!

What is strategic workforce management in organizations?

Maslow’s Pyramid Theory, quoted in the introduction to this article, states that the human being has different personal needs to be fulfilled. Such needs change according to individual human development and the circumstances provided by society.

At the beginning of a professional career or in times of crisis, for example, people tend to have a need for job security. While in moments of economic prosperity or consolidated professional development, people tend to have more of a need for  self-esteem and personal fulfillment.

Because a company’s employees are human beings subject to emotion – and the variation of their needs, as Maslow shows – managers need to be able and careful to align the needs and interests of professionals with the goals of the organization.

Exchanging components in a company’s human resources is not as easy as that of fixed assets and equipment and tends to be burdensome to the organization. Thus, strategic people management should realize these nuances and understand the importance of feedback, for example.

After all, just as a contributor can be impacted by negative feedback, positive feedback is able to generate satisfaction and contentment amongst the individuals in a team, especially when they feel involved in activities.

Nowadays, strategic workforce management is consolidating in companies, which are migrating from the functional model – already surpassed – to the systemic model, in which each sector plays an important role during the production process or the growth of the business.

In other words, this model is no longer a competitive differential to becoming an essential practice in overcoming tightly competitive markets and the various crises that affect world markets.

Do you want to know, then, who is responsible for maintaining this indispensable balance of interests in organizations, seeking to understand the employees and the context in which they are inserted, as well as channeling the satisfaction of those involved to the growth of the company?

What is the role of the leader in strategic workforce management in organizations?

The responsibility of the leader in strategic workforce management is great and requires, in addition to a lot of knowledge, flexibility. Only by this statement, can we understand that business leadership does not only correspond to management or managerial positions.

In fact, leaders have become primarily responsible for the success or failure of organizations. This is because it is the role of management to motivate their teams, make them engaged and committed to the development of their activities and overcome the goals set by their companies.

Thus, a good team manager requires skills that surpass the skills of a good manager or boss – several technical and human characteristics are required. Leaders need to understand the processes that their teams perform, but also must be able to know, listen and seek to understand their subordinates.

Among the basic characteristics of a team leader, we can highlight the ability to motivate and recognize the efforts of the employees involved, convey their ideas clearly and in a way to influence people and be able to turn groups of professionals into true teams.

In addition, it is necessary to recognize the need and the time to reward people, to delegate tasks and to stimulate challenges, to create development and training plans for each staff member and to transform conflicts into a source of learning for all.

Phew! It’s a lot, isn’t it? These are just the key characteristics of a leader, who helps build and sustain the 5 pillars of strategic workforce management in organizations. Shall we discover what they are?

What are the 5 pillars of strategic workforce management in organizations?

Anything that is built needs pillars on which to stand. Strategic workforce management is the same way, when well structured. For the result to be a solid and admirable building that helps take a company to the top, the 5 pillars of strategic workforce management below must be well executed.

1- The proper motivation of employees

This is the basis for the development of others and requires a deep analysis of what motivates the professionals in your company. Although many managers believe that the only way to motivate their employees is through high remuneration, a good manager is able to motivate the team without too much use of monetary stimulation.

For a professional to do their best, it is not only about receiving a higher amount at the end of each month. We are not claiming that financial incentives are not effective. However, in most situations, the simple helpfulness of leadership to its people already produces results similar to or better than a salary bonus.

This is due to the behavior of leaders, who position themselves as the mentor of their subordinates, developing their technical and human capabilities. In addition to good leadership, companies can use other methods that permeate the pillars of strategic workforce management good practices in organizations and are very effective in the proper motivation of employees.

To put them into practice, you need more managerial good will than cash in hand. One is to take measures for the comfort of professionals. However, be aware: we are not just talking about large tables and ergonomic chairs.

The manager who needs extra commitment from his team, for example, can reward them with the bonus of hours or days off depending on the success of a particular project – or even more flexible working hours for professionals. This motivates them to live and breath the job and reduces the sense of obligation that a working day can impute on their routine.

2- The communication process

Already said Chacrinha: “those who don’t communicate are doomed to fail”. Thus, one of the main pillars of strategic workforce management is to maintain clear, objective and two-way communication.

That is, a company must transmit its goals and objectives in a clear way and its managers and leaders should always remain open to dialogue with their teams. A strong feature of companies that communicate well are those that adopt and encourage a feedback culture.

By encouraging both team leaders and team members to evaluate each other as well as institutional actions, it becomes much easier to correct mistakes, align goals, and get better results. However, it is not enough just to say it, it must be done. It is essential to stimulate communication throughout the entire organization.

A good way to stimulate such bilateral communication is to deploy official channels of communication that allow professionals to express their opinions, criticism, and praise. At first, it is possible to stimulate the process anonymously.

With the consolidation of this culture, however, the feedback process can be performed in a group, allowing everyone to interact freely and spontaneously in order to really enhance the dialogue. However, this work should be highly valued at the grassroots level and not just at the top of the hierarchy.

It should be remembered that developing a sense of belonging is a powerful performance enhancer. That is, before even establishing channels of communication, leaders and managers need to be educated and understand the value of communication in strategic workforce management in organizations.

3- Teamwork

For there to be quality teamwork, each member of the group must clearly understand their role in the overall process

In addition, leadership needs to keep the work objectives of each of the professionals well aligned and in synergy with the company’s goals.

It is also important that individuals in a team understand how their work is interspersed and how the quality of one’s activities can positively or negatively influence the results of other professionals – as well as the results of the company.

A great way to stimulate this perception is to abandon the Taylorist model, where each professional is only an expert in their respective production processes. Meaning, in order to reinforce teamwork, it is critical that a professional understands the importance of their work at the end of the process.

In the same way, it is interesting that they understand the activities the other sectors perform, their limitations and how the improvement of their work facilitates the flow of the processes for the whole team and the organization. This is easily achieved through the implementation of working groups to discuss innovations and solve company problems.

Another strategy to form successful teams is to build them up from the joining of multidisciplinary professionals. Thus, employees of the same team will have complementary capabilities and, with due incentive, begin to assimilate new knowledge and develop their own individual abilities, eliminating the professional limitations.

4- Skills and knowledge

Understanding the importance of skills and knowledge is intrinsic to good leaders. After all, an organization is made up of people and each of them have their competencies. On a daily basis, it is the company’s ability to manage and aggregate these characteristics that allow it to stand out in its industry.

Understanding this diversity, a manager realizes the importance of the management of competencies, which is nothing more than optimizing the result of the tasks according to the ability of the professionals that make up the team. This skills management is only possible when assessing individual attitudes and knowledge.

With a performance appraisal, the person in charge of a team is able to better target the demands, stimulate results with greater productivity, develop their teams and better monitor the performance of their people. That is, through the management of competencies, companies maximize their results.

The more knowledge an employee has, the more developed and varied their technical and human skills will be. It is therefore important that a manager knows the capabilities and limitations of each of his or her people. Only by managing these attributes will they be able to invest more effectively in the personal and professional development of the components of their team.

5- Personal and professional development

As we are in the Information and Knowledge era, it is no wonder that one of the 5 pillars of strategic workforce management in organizations is precisely the investment in constant personal and professional development.

We must remember that organizations are like living entities and need to be in constant transformation to follow the development of technology and society in general. For this to be possible, you have to invest.

There is no other way to stimulate the personal development and professional evolution of the employees who make up your team if not through investment – be it in training or in gratifications according to the technical evolution of the individual. So there are two main ways you keep your staff constantly in personal and professional development.

The first of these is to invest in training, whether external or in-house, by hiring companies and professionals specialized in certain subjects or areas. The more qualified and representative the speaker is, the more easily the knowledge will be absorbed and assimilated into the routine of the participants.

However, it should be remembered that it is not enough just to have a technical team. For a company to succeed, it must have better human beings. Therefore, investing in human development training, such as speaking and interpersonal relationships, for example, is also necessary.

Another way to stimulate the constant improvement of professionals is through special gratifications, aimed at those who have invested in their own training. For example, an employee who has completed a graduate or postgraduate degree in an area of ​​interest of the company has their salary range automatically readjusted.

This is quite logical, since – in theory – the company will have an even more qualified workforce than when it hired the professional. With the five pillars presented, it is easily possible to see that they interact with each other and are even dependent on one another. Therefore, it is very important that the organization strives to consolidate all these aspects simultaneously.

How do you elaborate the goals you want to fulfill?

A sixth very important aspect in strategic workforce management in organizations is the definition of work goals to be fulfilled by teams. It is not enough to concentrate on motivation, communication, teamwork stimulation and the development of human and professional skills if managers propose unreachable goals.

This aspect is perhaps one that most helps to differentiate good leaders from average leaders. By knowing the limitations of the members of the team and understanding that the goals of the team are the leader’s responsibility, a leader should not impose impossible goals.

The most effective goal setting process for teams is the goal plan. Individual goals should be set according to a company’s overall planning. That is, how much each of the professionals in the team can collaborate so that the overall goal is achieved.

At this point, it is very important to know your leaders analytically, so that each one receives goals that are consistent with their attributions and capabilities. For example, if a company of 100 employees wants to reach a billion dollars in sales, there is no point in stipulating that each employee should generate 100 thousand dollars.

A salesperson can achieve or exceed this goal, but what about the professionals in the Human Resources department? In this regard, it is important not to focus on sales alone. Process optimization can generate savings that you never thought possible. This makes a company more profitable because it will be able to produce the same with less investment.

Another thing that is very common in companies – but a mistake nonetheless – is the distribution of goals without even talking to professionals and understanding the demands and reality of each one. After all, a professional may be limited due to the internal processes of other sectors or the lack of tools that potentialize their work.

Finally, the best way to develop goals in strategic workforce management in organizations is through constant process monitoring. Every good team manager knows how this is an important and fundamental practice in setting realistic goals and achieving desired results. However, if necessary, do not hesitate to redistribute goals or readjust them, either for less or for more.

How do you evaluate the results?

Many people will say that the best way to evaluate results is through numbers. However, an absolute number does not always mean what it represents. For example, if the sales force raised its average sales by 50% over a given period, while the marketing sector invested 100% more in advertising and sales strategies over the same period, the result was not so positive.

Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the results well in order to better evaluate them. The best way to better understand a company’s results, whether individual or by group, is through the definition and monitoring of so-called key performance indicators (KPIs).

These indicators, by facilitating constant updating, allow managers to observe how close the goals are – or are not – being met. As a result, they are able to more easily gain insights from actions that can enable the proposed goals to be reached more quickly.

The same goes for strategic workforce management. The performance indicators of each professional can be accompanied by periods. Thus, a manager can identify possible problems with greater ease – such as absenteeism rates or the drop in professional performance, which can mean demotivation, private issues, or even problems with immediate supervisors or co-workers.

To achieve this level of management, the best path to take is the automation of processes and the adoption of technological solutions that facilitate the instantaneous monitoring of performance indicators. The technology helps to identify flaws in the management process and even proposes corrective actions or actions that aim to boost results.

In the market, there are platforms that are able to bring together all the performance indicators of the various teams of a company in the same environment, simplifying analysis and reporting.

Therefore, as you can see throughout this article, strategic workforce management is a highly recommended practice and has proven to be fundamental in the development of companies.

Today, it is no longer only a competitive advantage, but a necessity for professionals to develop competencies and achieve results that, without stimulus and team motivation, they would not be encouraged to do.

Throughout the text it was also possible to realize that it is not enough to only establish a strategic workforce management plan to be included in the annual report of a company, based on the 5 pillar people management strategy for organizations. You need to structure it well and invest in the consolidation of strategies, which often do not even require monetary investments, such as a feedback culture.

That is, for correct workforce management in organizations you must take strategic workforce management seriously and incorporate it into the corporate culture. Very interesting, don’t you think?

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