Harnessing Workforce Dynamics for Competitive Advantage
Your workforce represents the greatest investment in the production and distribution of products and services your organization provides. It can be a competitive advantage. Yet, little is done at the operational level to harness its potential. This book will help you address workforce issues that impact you and your organization and provide you tools to use today to gain the advantage. More
Institutional knowledge from boomers leaving the workforce and the mobility of younger generations is happening. Beginning on January 1, 2011, baby boomers started turning 65 (Carpenter, 2010). In fact approximately 10,000 are projected to reach that age every day for the next 19 years (AP, 2010); that is approximately 3,650,000 people per year. The economic downturn has contributed to delaying the exodus, but even in this economy, people are leaving jobs. Those who can't get out because they have insufficient funds to retire will stay in the workforce longer than they (or you) thought. Some are waiting for their retirement portfolios to recover and with the stock market at its highest point in US history (May 2013) the financial recovery for some may have arrived. Some may wait until they have saved more or have less debt. Gen X-ers are ready and waiting for the economy to improve so they can advance their careers. That means your workforce is going to churn. Do you know who has the knowledge your organization needs to sustain operations today, to operate in the future? How will you determine if you need to replace a worker or let attrition occur on its own as the work and your workforce changes? What costs will the churn have on your organization?
The threat, fear or desire of baby boomers to leave the workforce is not the only reason to be concerned with the loss of employees and their organizational knowledge. Actually the loss of key employees and institutional knowledge has always been a potential issue for employers. When hasn’t the workforce been in transition, perhaps in a long ago agrarian economy? From a macro point of view it hasn’t been stable since the industrial revolution. Employment has always been impacted by supply and demand, the weather, economies, market conditions, governmental policies, trade agreements, generational characteristics, the valuation of currency, individual interests and needs, etc. Does this mean that workforce planning is an impossible task? No, it doesn’t. What you do about it may be critical to your organization and its ability to adapt to changing conditions.
Competition for the best talent has always been high and is exacerbated when the demand exceeds supply. Lost institutional knowledge comes at a cost to your organization, but that cost is not often measured but it does impact your competitiveness. This book will help you consider your own course of action to protect your organization and mitigate the risks of the changing dynamics of the workforce and loss of institutional knowledge. A wide range of ideas are presented along templates to get you started, even in the smallest of organizations without a budget. The book is supplemented with a blog (http://www.workforcecatalyst.wordpress.com) to keep the dialogue fresh and share new ideas and best practices.