Developing such a plan while lacking historical data is a challenge, but it can be done.
I have been given the assignment of establishing a strategic plan for staffing to become a "world-class staffing department." The trouble is, lack of data into our past: All historical information compiled from our previous HR manager got tossed during a reorganization. So how do we gain insights into where we have been, so we know which directions to take going forward? Any suggestions?
—No-Information Overload, health care, Missouri
Dear No Information:
Developing a plan with little to no historical data is definitely tricky, but not impossible. While it isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, there are some basic strategies that any organization can use, but keep in mind that specifics really depend on the size (and type) of the organization, talent needs and budget. For instance, in the health care field, it's important to focus on your brand (what unique value propositions you offer for employees, etc.) because you're dealing with such a specialized talent pool. But first, make sure that data collection and record maintenance are part of any strategic plan you develop, so you don't run into the same predicament again.
Leverage the data you do have: Sometimes, all it takes is creative digging to uncover the data you need. Board reports, for instance, can tell you how many new hires took place in a given year, and finance departments can usually give you an overview of placement and recruitment costs by year—offering perspective into past hires and processes.
Understand the current state: Get to know how the processes work today—from talent recruiting and sourcing strategies to the selection systems that exist. Are your applicant-tracking systems and assessments currently used? If so, do you know which vendors support those processes? Engage your staff, and ask for insight into what has and hasn't worked well in the past regarding hiring. Talk to current vendors to get their perspective as well. And don't forget your customer. Interview business managers and other stakeholders to get their thoughts on what has worked well in the past when it comes to staffing and what needs to be improved.
Develop your vision: Now that you have a good idea of where you've been and where you are now, it's time to figure out where you're headed. Talk to senior leaders about what talent they think is needed for your organization now and in the future, and ask how they will measure the success of the staffing department. Ask others inside and outside your industry about what they're doing from a staffing perspective. Use third-party resources such as reports from Aberdeen Group and similar research firms to gain perspective on industry best practices. Based on your understanding of the future direction of the organization, identify what talent "gaps" might exist, and make sure that your strategic plan addresses them. For instance, you will want to consider whether there is enough internal talent to fill key positions in the future. Consider what "people intelligence"—measures of people performance, potential and behavior—you will need to support your plan, and ensure that you have a good strategy for retaining that data so you can refine and improve your strategic plan over time.
SOURCE: Caroline Paxman, pesident, Americas, SHLPreVisor, Minneapolis
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