When we examine current organizational approaches to training we discover that it is haphazard, wholesale, and frequently unplanned. Some HR practitioners’ attitude towards training has been that it’s a necessary evil, and training budgets must be spent somehow.
researchers found that only 17 percent of leaders indicate their workforce strategy is aligned with their business strategy consistently across the organization. This means that strategic plans are moving in one direction and Human Capital strategies are moving in another. The gap between organizational needs and available skill sets is widening. More and more organizations are failing to carry-out strategies, achieve objectives, and to deliver stakeholders’ expectations.
The Missing Link!
Organizations have to quickly adapt and fulfill ever changing customer and stakeholders’ needs and demands.
Strategic Planning and Human Development are operating on different fields. Leaders are developing their 3 to 5 years strategic plans in seclusion and behind closed doors while HR practitioners are developing their short-term training plans; one is focused in the future, while the other is concerned with “now”.
Technological advancements have made it easier for organizations to improve and change. New IT systems, machines, and software are being developed in high speed. Nevertheless, people in the organization are lagging behind; they are not being developed at the same rate. As time goes by the gap between available skill sets and needed skill sets widens.
Best Case Scenario
In the governmental sector citizens are becoming fed-up with bureaucracy, and in the for-profit sector market and consumer demands are getting more complex. From personalized services to technological advancements in Information Technologies, medicine, and Information Communication Technologies the playing field is becoming more complicated day by day.
Organizations are forced to adjust and reexamine their strategic thinking in order to keep-up with consumer and stakeholders’ demands, and increasingly aggressive competition. Meanwhile, in the governmental sector, organizations are forced to rethink their approach to dealing with citizens.
In order to satisfy stakeholders’ demands, new strategies and objectives are being formulated and new technologies and systems are being introduced in an attempt to catch-up with an ever-changing landscape. As a result, Organizational Knowledge Needs have been growing faster than employees’ knowledge, skills, and competencies. Training and development activities are lagging behind, and this is resulting in Organizational Knowledge Starvation.
The knowledge gap is widening day by day, and organizations are unable to catch-up because of flaws in their approach to Human Development. The result is unhappy customers, unhappy employees, and a slow creep toward disaster.
Human Focused Strategic Planning
Government and private organizations must realize that strategic planning can not succeed without a human focus. We can acquire the latest IT systems, the fastest machines, and optimize management systems, but without putting people first, strategic planning will not succeed.
Human Focused Strategic Planning (HFSP) insures proper integration of employees in the strategic planning process. This approach will help organizations re-align their Strategic Planning process with current and future human capital. The approach includes three main stages.
Stage I: Human Data Collection
In order for HFSP to succeed employees must be actively involved early in the Strategic Planning process and in every step until the completion of the plan. As a matter of fact, in many cases in the Middle East this might require an organizational shift toward “Human” focused culture. Organizations should start building an Organizational Knowledge Capital Database. The DB will contain detailed employee data, information, and knowledge, and it will serve as an organizational knowledge depository.
The human data collection stage is comprised of the following three steps:
- Assess your “human” related methodologies, approaches, and implementations.
- Build your Organizational Knowledge Capital Database through identification, collection, and inputting your people’s:
- Competencies, skills, knowledge, etc.
- Psychological Profile
- Motivational Profile
- Learning aptitude
- Performance details
- SWOT your Human Capital
- Strengths: identify what are major HC strengths that your organization could count on.
- Weaknesses: identify what are your HC weaknesses and areas for improvement.
- Opportunities: indentify your hidden HC potentials, and external recruitment opportunities.
- Threats: identify your internal and external HC threats.
Building an Organizational Knowledge Capital Database is a fundamental step towards an effective HC management. The DB will not only be an integral part of effective strategic planning, but also it will serve as an effective tool for employee motivation, career development, and performance management. It is a tool which will prepare employees to cope with the complexities and accelerated speed of an increasingly demanding organization.
Stage II: Analyze and Build
At this stage we assume that the organization has followed the correct steps in strategic plan formulation.
- Analyze data collected during previous stage
- Incorporate employees’ career paths and succession plans
- Build knowledge capital model
- Determine skills, competencies, and knowledge needed to execute strategic plans
- Prepare Strategic Planning knowledge matrix
Stage III: Align your Strategic Plans and Human Development Plans
Here we integrate human development and strategic planning. The purpose of this stage is to define organizational knowledge capital, knowledge needs based on Strategic Planning, and draw a picture of our current position, our destination, and define our roadmap. Success in this stage is dependent on accurate and complete execution of previous stages.
This process is comprised of the following approaches:
- Compare Strategic Planning knowledge requirements and knowledge capital model, and identify short-term and long-term gaps
- Devise organization knowledge development roadmap based on gaps
- Identify most effective human development methodologies
- Implement human development roadmap
- Plan and recruit talent not available in-house (based on roadmap)
- Incorporate new talent skills, competencies, and knowledge into Organizational Knowledge Capital Database
- Continuously measure skills, competencies, and knowledge
- Assess and continuously improve your development plans and roadmap
Aligning Strategic Planning with Human Development Plans is the final and most important stage of strategy fulfillment through human development. This stage requires great commitment and effort by all levels of the organization.
Human development should be the core of any strategic management methodology. During the current talent “drought” it is important for private and governmental organizations to move away from traditional strategic management, and move toward building human centered strategies. This will eliminate many Strategic Planning challenges, and solve many organizational human capital problems.
As in any change initiative, organizational leadership has a central role to play in this process. This role requires their full support and commitment to their people in order for this methodology to work. They must believe that talent acquisition and development is one of their greatest challenges. Additionally, they should realize that the business landscape in rapidly changing and becoming more complex, and the survival and success of their organizations depends on a qualified and motivated workforce.
Human centered organizations have greater chances to survive during the current economical downturn. Employees who know that their organization cares about their developmental needs are usually more motivated and productive. Happy employees will deliver services, and make products that make customers happy. This in addition to human focused strategic planning and development will insure financial success.
* Copy Rights: Fahmi Abdein, and Empower for Organizational and Human Development, 2010