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Workforce and Succession Planning – now is the time to get stuck in

Workforce and Succession Planning – now is the time to get stuck in

Part 1 – Are your annual strategic plans being derailed by failing to focus on long term outcomes?

Copyright © 2007 Shirley Haddock
Used with permission of the author:
Author: Shirley Haddock
Workinfo.com www.workinfo.com
04 December 2007

Back to ... Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007

Part 1 – Are your annual strategic plans being derailed by failing to focus on long term outcomes?

In my short time with Workinfo.com, I have met with many companies who all openly acknowledge that they have many short-term plans in place such as employment equity plans, skills development plans, talent management plans, remuneration plans, attrition plans, BBBEE plans….. and the list goes on. Unfortunately there normally isn’t one single plan pulling this all together and linking it back to the business.


Why then are people astounded when their shorter term plans get halted by management? When business managers turn around and say “Sorry, there’s no money for your Talent Management Plan – come back next year.” If the talent management plan supported the workforce and succession plan from the beginning, there would be no doubt in the minds of your management that your talent management plan was necessary and no one would ever dream of slashing your budget.

“There really is nothing new about Workforce and Succession Planning. It’s really just another term for Manpower Planning, but it sounds a lot sexier. Simply put, Workforce Planning provides managers with a framework for making human resource decisions based on the organization’s mission, strategic plan, budgetary resources, and a set of desired workforce competencies.”

[Source: US Department of Interior, Office of Personnel Policy, August 2001]

Whichever term you use to describe it, it’s a task that South African companies have neglected because they have been focusing on shorter term objectives. Instead of looking ten years ahead, we’ve been completing plans that seldom look more than twelve to thirty six months down the line.

Workforce and succession planning is not about predicting the future, drawing up an inventory of all positions, creating reports and plans that no-one ever refers to. It is about building a longer-term context for short-term decision making, focusing on positions where you need to be proactive, creating plans in response to changing strategies, and solving staffing issues. In many ways, it the only way to be sure that you are on the right track with all your shorter term goals.

I wonder whether we’d be facing the current skills shortage in South Africa if we’d spent more time aligning our short-term focus areas with the longer term requirements of our businesses?

In my next article we will explore some of the specific outcomes one can expect from workforce planning and how this empirical and systematic approach towards HR planning feeds into our critical HR outcomes.

Shirley Haddock joined Workinfo.com in September this year as managing director after spending 15 years in broadcasting and financial services. Her aim – to provide the best possible services and resources for the Human Resource profession. She can be contacted at www.workinfo.com.

Short summary
Linking short-term HR plans to long-term HR plans will align HR strategy with business strategy.

Keywords and relevant phrases
Alignment, attrition plan, BBBEE, business objectives, change management, decision making, development, employment equity, employment equity plan, goals, HR outcomes, HR planning, human resource, long-term, management, manpower, objectives, outcomes, planning, remuneration plan, requirements, short-term, skills development plan, skills shortage, staff, strategy, talent management plan, workforce and succession plan,

Back to ... Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
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