Workforce Transitions Overview
Workforce Transitions create risk and stress. Organizations have to be in step with the demand of the times or may end up paying a heavy price. Highly unpredictable business environments may create challenging situations – whether economic, technical, or spurred by competition - related to skill functions or product/ service offerings and the organization has to make adjustments in order to deliver on business development plans, or measure up to customer expectations.
And, still do all this while being able to retain talent without allowing costs to escalate beyond established parameters .
Whether it is mergers and acquisitions, layoffs, retirement programs or outsourcing work, transitions can be a difficult time for the organization. It is especially important to ensure efforts are directed towards achievement of the stated objectives while mitigating all possible risks effectively and efficiently.
Technology & Workforce Transitions
Workforce transitions serve a variety of objectives. For example, it could be related to reducing workforce costs, where the impact of terminating services of low performers, or even closing of the unit altogether, has to be estimated as accurately as possible. Smart software solutions are available to help analyze current scenarios and model the impact of potential decisions.
Not only can scenarios be generated, technology exists to help organizations avoid the pitfalls of unfair discrimination, bias and non-compliance. Programs can be automated to maintain detailed records of all decisions which could have a bearing on the organization, right from the start, in a systematic fashion.
Steps to a Successful Workforce Transition
An effective workforce transition plan can be broken down into three phases – the Design, Build On and Execution phases. In the Design Phase –
- Review the existing conditions to determine the exact needs which are in keeping with the organizations larger objectives.
- Gain an organization wide commitment, including commitment from Senior Management, to the need for a transition.
- Form a broad based transition team to manage the process where every member brings in a special capability to help manage the transition effectively.
- Determine the impact of the transition on the organization, effectively using scenario planning to consider the “what if” pictures.
- Ensure that all regulations, laws and policies have been complied to.
- Study similar situations in the organization to see how they were handled previously and to what effect.
- Develop a plan keeping in mind: timeline, impact on workforce, costs, contingency staffing plans and so on.
This is followed by the Build On Phase where –
- A proper communication strategy is put into place. Effective communication is vital for a transition to be successful. Communication channels should supply all vital and honest communication to minimize any fears and rumors spoiling the effort.
- Tie Technology and Strategy together and to create well-thought Plan.
- Review impact of the Plan on the organization continuously as certain fluid conditions may require frequent review and modification.
- Review the plan for any possible “glitches”.
- Arrange for outplacement counseling services for the impacted employees.
- Have proper measurement mechanisms and metrics in place so the impact of the transition can be measured.
In the Execution Phase, the Plan is put in effect, and, if handled well, will take the organization from strength to strength.