Thursday, February 7, 2013

Five Steps for Developing a Strong Workforce


        Five Steps for Developing a Strong Workforce

Having a capable workforce is critical to building a successful organization. Here are five steps that can improve the workforce building process.

Screening – Assembling the “right” group of individuals for your workforce is important. You can test for competency but being part of a team means that individuals must have personalities that can work together. Assuredly this means that some subjectivity will enter into the screening process. It may also mean that wrong choices will be made and will need correction. The subjectivity and chance for errors can be reduced with the introduction of 10 tips from About.com Human Resources at

http://www.humanresources.about.com/od/recruiting/tp/recruiting_employee.htm

Defining job responsibilities – even with the “right” personnel, the workforce can be dysfunctional if each member’s responsibilities are not clearly defined. It is management’s responsibility to understand how each job contributes to the organization’s success and to clearly articulate the requirements of each job.

Defining job success – After each member of the workforce understands the requirements of his/her job it is important that he/she understands what success looks like. This can be presented in terms of meeting specific deadlines, producing specific results in production or sales or levels of customer satisfaction. It is important for individual members of the organization to understand how success in their job relates to the overall success of the organization.

Establishing metrics – Favoritism and improperly set work rules can destroy the morale and ultimately the effectiveness of a good workforce. Setting specific metrics for job performance lets individuals know how their performance will be graded. If developed properly it will eliminate favoritism and improper work rules.  The University of California suggests using the following SMART test to determine the quality of performance metrics.

S = Specific: clear and focused to avoid misinterpretation. Should include measurement assumptions and definitions and be easily interpreted.
M = Measurable: can be quantified and compared to other data. It should allow for meaningful statistical analysis. Avoid "yes/no" measures except in limited cases, such as start-up or systems-in-place situations.
A = Attainable: achievable, reasonable, and credible under conditions expected.
R = Realistic: fits into the organization's constraints and is cost-effective.
T = Timely: doable within the time frame given.


Workforce participation in job design – Most individuals spend the majority of their time in the workplace. For the highest level of productivity, members of a workforce should feel that they are part of the organization and can have real input into how jobs are designed. The workplace can be a site for individual growth and learning as well as a place to produce goods and services. If individuals understand what is needed for the organization to succeed, participation in job design can lead to higher productivity for the organization and higher morale with lower turnover for the workforce.

My firm, GWR Research, uses and recommends the above process along with standard of performance system job design and metrics. In every case we have used this approach productivity has increased significantly (up to 100 percent) with high morale and low turn over in the workforce.

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