It all started innocently enough. First came the crash, which occurred when someone unwisely decided to investigate various financial instruments and discovered a mountain of poorly backed debts that had been sold multiple times for vastly more than they were worth. If financial analysts were taught basic physics they would have known that nebulous moving objects don’t bear close investigation.
Then came the inevitable lay-offs and retrenching. Business courtesy flew out the window as recruiters were swamped with resumes and simple compassion for others was consumed by personal worry. Those were the darkest times for many.
Finally, people started rallying and a new spirit of optimism and connection was born. And yet, the world had changed:
Business leaders had discovered that products continue to ship with fewer people.
Well, they were bound to discover it at some point. But unfortunately, this epiphany for business leaders glosses over a number of issues, such as product quality, workforce engagement, customer service and long-term macroeconomic viability.
These are the themes that must concern us in 2011 if we are to recover from the greed, short-sightedness and personal tragedy of the previous two years.
So I am going to make a prediction and call 2011 ‘The Year of Visibility,’ because companies that rely on reactionary hiring, contracting and downsizing in lieu of informed business planning probably won’t be around in five years.
The kind of visibility I’m talking about is the kind that allows companies to maximize business performance and ride out economic cycles with minimum disruption by answering questions like these:
- Do you understand the skills and capacity of your workforce?
- Does the work people are doing align to business objectives?
- Are you able to determine cost and quality of work across organizations, teams and initiatives?
- Can you compare workers to determine optimal fit for job, skills, interests, location, or budget?
- Can you find ‘ready talent’ anywhere in your organization?
- Can you group workers into actionable talent pools to support strategic talent initiatives?
- Are you able to anticipate and avoid critical skills and leadership gaps?
- Can you reduce contingent labor costs by better utilizing existing resources?
That's why I predict that in 2011 HR professionals will be challenged to provide timely, accurate, operationally relevant information about the extended workforce.
Are you ready?