Human Resource Planning and Work Design

Quick Links Logout ?Help | Student Portal | PrintingJasjeet Kaur Jasjeet Kaur51Expand Global Nav Charles Sturt University Dashboard Tab 1 of 5 (active tab) Calendar Organisations Study Success Content Collection S-HRM502_201630_SM_I Human Resource Management Topics Topic 2: Human Resource Planning and Work Design Hide Course Menu S-HRM502_201630_SM_I (Human Resource Management) Course Entry Page Home Subject Outline Subject Community Announcements ONLINE JOURNALS – Assessment 1a only Journals (for Ass1b-1f, and Ass3c) Useful Contacts Learning Content and Activities Topics Getting Started in HRM502 CERA Website Resources My Grades Evaluation Turnitin Study Guides & Tips Grammar Check Additional CSU Support CSU Library Learning Opportunities Useful Links HRM502 – Class Signups Assessment Items My Groups HRM502 L1 – Class Signups – Thursday 1:00pm-4:00pm, Room : 4.04 Group Homepage: HRM502 L1 – Class Signups – Thursday 1:00pm-4:00pm, Room : 4.04 Topic 2: Human Resource Planning and Work Design Human resource planning and work design Israel “As you can see from our website, CERA is pretty clear about its vision and strategic choice. This is largely thanks to Mark French and Kellie Lincoln. We’ve sought to differentiate ourselves in the market by our high-contact service orientation and our innovativeness in design and engineering. One area that has been problematic for us has been workforce planning, or HR planning. We’ve tended to be fairly reactive to developments in our external environment. I guess also we’ve been fortunate that the work has grown at a rate that was manageable. But the attention to HR has been patchy, and it has only been recently that the company has turned its attention to HR in a serious way. In our senior executive team, I’d have to say that Kellie Lincoln and Jonathon Simon seem to be the most switched on when it comes to matters HR; but Rachel Amaro and Lane Scowcroft are lukewarm. I suspect that these two aren’t really very interested in my role as HR Manager, though they’ve never said it in so many words. Susumu Takada, the Manager, Finance, Legal and Administration, is supportive although I’m not sure how much he really gets what HR is about beyond payroll and administrative staffing transactions. I decided some time ago to bite the bullet on workforce planning, especially after doing some informal canvassing of industry figures and our own people about CERA’s prospects in the next five years or so. I thought it best to meet with each of the managers separately to test the wind before going too far. I decided to start off with Kellie and Jonathon, the two most switched on people.” “We met over a coffee at the cafe just near our building. Kellie Lincoln was pretty impressive, I must say. She had the figures on projected demand just about at her fingertips, and she could see the need for CERA to move beyond its core metropolitan footprint. She could also see that as Lane’s work on smart structures took off, the skills set of her team would need to diversify. In particular, she spoke of the need for a stronger environmental engineering focus in our people, as well as needing an adaptive capability to work on specific and unique engineering challenges faced in rural areas if CERA went down the path of moving outside greater Sydney.” “Jonathon Simon echoed Kellie’s views, especially on the need for environmental engineering capability. He also pointed to the need for his people to become a lot smarter at doing more sophisticated environmental impact assessments involving a broader range of stakeholders. Although he was fairly confident that his group was well positioned for some of the challenges ahead, he was cautious because the planning division was a small, tight team and there wasn’t room for mismatches between demand and supply of professional skills.” “Things went differently when I met with Rachel Amaro and Lane Scowcroft. I met with each one separately in their offices. Rachel was cool towards the idea of investing the time and effort in developing a workforce plan for CERA.” Rachel “Israel, we’ve managed pretty well for several years; why do we need this now?…. No offence, but it seems that since you’ve joined us, we’re suddenly ramping up the work that we have to do in HR. I mean, we are the front-facing groups that pull in the business, and your people are creating extra work for us and pushing more overhead on to us. I really don’t see the need for this extra work.” lane “No way. I know what I’ve got, and I think I know what I need. If I need people, I know whom to go to. The way things are going, I reckon we will need to grow a tad more in the next 12 months. Short answer: I have a plan and I don’t think CERA needs this workers planning, or whatever it is. Now, is there anything else?” Israel “As for Susumu, well he was broadly in support. He’s doesn’t seem to be all that cluey on HR matters, but he is something of an ally, I guess, and he doesn’t want to rock the boat anyways. Mark French had the ‘casting vote’, and with Kellie and Jonathon on side it was pretty much a fait accompli that CERA was on its way to developing its first workforce plan. Unfortunately, having come this far, things got worse before they got better. My team and I had had several meetings to work out how we would tackle this. Basically, our approach was to keep it simple – a four stage process: Stage 1 Gather external market data on potential demand under two scenarios (greater Sydney only, and expansion into regional NSW while continuing to grow in the greater Sydney markets that we were already working in). Stage 2: Run a workshop with the managers and their 2ICs to try to get a fix on translating the demand numbers into staffing. Stage 3 Take an inventory of numbers, skills and demographics in our current staffing. Stage 4: Analyse the gap/s and work out how to deal with them. Bottom line is that we did fairly well in stage 1, but things unravelled pretty fast thereafter. The workshop made some progress, but there was too much discussion on the interpretation of the demand numbers and no one really knew how to turn these into staffing. In hindsight, I think we tried to move too quickly from potential customer demand to staffing demand, and we didn’t explain well how to estimate labour demand from consumer demand. Stage 3 was ok, but we soon realised how weak the information on our own people was – poor quality, too difficult to extract and too difficult to analyse. This made Stage 4 highly suspect. All in all, I’d say that there was potential in our first attempt at workforce planning, but not a great deal was achieved. I guess the other thing I’d say in reflection is that we really didn’t have a good fix on how our strategy engaged with the projected consumer demand estimates – we developed these numbers by applying a factor (based on the historical demand pattern) to projected industry spend on infrastructure projects for the two geographic scenarios. I think we could have done better….” “Even though I wasn’t all that happy with this workshop, I was really pleased when Kellie Lincoln and Jonathon Simon called me aside after the session and invited my team to run a more detailed workforce planning session with the Civil Engineering and Planning Divisions. We followed a similar process covering a five year horizon, but we went in better prepared with a more structured process that used a combination of statistical methods and expert judgments. We first looked at labour demand using expert judgment based on the projected work coming in and the experience of staff in the two divisions. This was used to develop a five year projection of staffing. We then discussed the implications of this and did some reality testing under different plausible scenarios, including expanding the company’s reach into regional NSW. Next, we did some basic statistical analysis of staffing flows using ‘cleaned up’ information from our HR system together with anecdotal information. We developed a transition matrix. So, here are the initial results of that workshop. More work is needed now to analyse the numbers and work on goal-setting and action planning….” Human resource planning In the journal assessment task for this topic you will work on interpreting this data and making recommendations on strategies. To do this well, you will need to take into account (i) the slice of experience recounted above; (ii) the vision and strategy of CERA, using the information that the company has provided on its website; and (iii) the presentation by Israel in the last topic. But first, we will cover the key concepts that you need to understand and apply using Chapter 7 of Kramar et al. (2014) and some additional resources. Human resource planning is the process through which organisational goals are translated into HR goals concerning staffing levels and allocation. From these HR goals, an integrated set of HR policies and programs can be developed (Kramar et al. 2014, p. 210). There are some signals to pay attention to here. Firstly, note that human resource planning is not context-free – it directly articulates with organisational goals. Second, the primary or direct outcome is a set of HR goals for the whole organisation, or for part of the organisation. Third, this cascades down to policy and programs in specific HR practices such as work design, recruitment and selection, performance management, and so forth. The process of human resource planning follows a logical sequence, as shown in the diagram below from Kramar et al. (2014, p. 211). The process is fairly straightforward to comprehend; although doing it is another story, as Israel Tobin found out. Kramar p211 Source: (Kramar et al., 2014, p. 211) Grounded in the strategic choice made by the organisation, the process of human resource planning begins with forecasting labour demand and labour supply and determining the nature and size of the gap. Identifying the gap leads on to goal setting and planning. As you will see from Chapter 7 of Kramar et al., there are various options to close the demand/supply gap, depending on whether there is a forecast surplus or shortage of staff. Forecasting can be done using either statistical or judgmental methods. Statistical methods rely on historical trends; but there are occasions where labour market conditions or events have limited historical precedent. In these situations, the pooled judgments of expert staff may be important in making inferences about the future. Demand forecasts tend to be made around specific job categories or skill areas relevant to the organisation’s current and future state. Leading indicators such as government spending on infrastructure or planning schemes for commercial and residential development, may be useful as a basis for forecasting staffing needs. Determining labour supply is more straightforward. Organisations will look at current staffing in various job or skill categories, and then adjust these figures based on anticipated retirements, promotions, transfers voluntary turnover and terminations. A transitional matrix (also called Markov analysis) is a tool used to study the flows of people in different job categories into, through, and out of an organisation. Israel Tobin used this tool in his second workshop with the Civil Engineering and Planning Divisions. The two spreadsheet extracts that you saw earlier summarise data on labour demand and on labour supply. Here’s a short You Tube video (duration 7:19 minutes) that explains how this tool is used in the context of human resource planning. Use this video and the example provided in Chapter 7 of Kramar et al. (2014) to study how this tool is used. Then, try to read and interpret the transition matrix produced by Israel Tobin and his group in the slice of experience recounted earlier. Once labour surplus or shortage is identified, goals and plans can be formulated. The tables below summarise the options available, classified by speed and revocability. Kramar p216 Source: (Kramar et al., 2014, p. 216) It is very important to consider the strategic choice of the organisation and the organisational culture in making decisions about goals and specific plans. The final step in human resource planning is program implementation and evaluation. How does this work in practice? The following readings give you real-world, practical examples of human resource planning that will deepen your understanding of the process. icon reading Read Mayo, A. (2015). Strategic workforce planning – a vital business activity. Strategic Workforce Review, 14(5), 174-181. doi: 10.1108/SHR-08-2015-0063 (Click on the ‘Find it at CSU’ link to the left side of the screen.) access online Mayo opens with a timely, vital question: can some redundancies be avoided by better human resource planning? The larger issue here, perhaps, is that it is relatively easy to hire, but painful and expensive to exit people, especially if exit is seen as something of an easier fix that retraining and redeployment. After going over and commenting on some of the key concepts, he proceeds to set out a four-step process and demonstrates its application using a health sector example. This is a practical piece of work that has plenty of specific take-aways. I recommend it particularly for its clear, structured presentation and all-round accessibility to a wide audience. (If only more academic papers were written in this way.) icon reading Read Jacobson, W.S. (2010). Preparing for tomorrow: A case study of workforce planning in North Carolina Municipal Governments. Public Personnel Management, 39(4), 353-377. access online Jacobson’s paper is an older piece of work but a very instructive example of doing human resource planning. He takes a little more time to work through the basic concepts, the rationale for planning and the benefits before providing a more detailed discussion of methods. I selected this reading for you because it is quite easy to digest and it provides more detail on the questions to ask at each step in the process. The key points can be adapted to your own workplace. This is a practical, accessible paper. So, these two articles complement the discussion and brief examples in Kramar et al. by giving you a real world understanding of how organisations can do human resource planning. For those who are, or will be, working in larger organisations the technical material in Chapter 7 of Karmar et al. (2014) on human resource information systems will be useful, because it explains the value of using these systems to support human resource planning, as well as some of the key software applications that can are available. icon activity Assessment 1b – Topic 2 – journal activity: Human resource planning at CERA (5 marks, 400 words max; check due date in the Subject Outline) Your journal task for this topic is to apply the knowledge that you have gained so far to do the following exercise. Analyse the data provided by Israel Tobin above to determine whether there is likely to be a surplus or a shortage in staffing in each job category in the Civil Engineering Division and in the Planning Division, at Year 5. Show your calculations. (Hint: the first thing to do is to calculate the staffing levels in the transition matrix.) Depending on your answer, make recommendations on strategies that could be implemented to manage the gaps, using the information in this topic. Post your answer as a new entry in the Journal tool. Include citations and a reference list for all sources used. If you are taking this subject in a face-to-face class, your lecturer will provide instructions on how to complete these tasks. Let’s move on to the second part of this topic – work design. Mark “Look at this!” he exclaimed. Kellie Lincoln had just walked into the CEOs office. Mark French was standing at the window looking out over the train station at Sydney Olympic Park. “Do you see those people walking to the station, on their way home or to wherever? Did you know, Kellie, that some of the world’s and Australia’s better companies are located here? But how many of them are really innovative?” He pointed backwards to his desk. “See that report, there? Take a look.” I stepped back to his desk and noticed a book opened and facing down called, Australian Innovation Report, 2015. I picked it up and started to read where Mark had dog-eared page 87. Australian-Innovation-System-Report-2015 “Well, the bottom line is that too many organisations in this country talk the talk of innovation, but they can’t seem to walk the talk.” Mark French had moved back from the window and was standing beside me, watching me read, making sure that I was paying attention. “They’re talking about business culture in Australia, and the lack of innovative, entrepreneurial cultures in our organisations. Makes pretty interesting and disturbing reading.” “My question to you is this: is that report talking about us? I set up this company to be distinctive in its service to clients; but I also wanted us to be known for our innovative design and engineering solutions.” Kellie Kellie joined Mark at the window. “Yes, I know that, Mark, and I’d have to say that Lane’s Smart Structures people are making good progress….” “Sure, sure, and I’m not saying that this report is directly talking about us; but it is sounding a warning to all organisations, not just start-ups and the like. I’d like the senior team to have a look at the report, especially the material on innovative cultures, and then do some brainstorming on how we can inculcate an innovative spirit into the way we do our work around here. I mean, you know we’re thinking about making significant changes to our strategy as far as geographic scale is concerned…new opportunities, new challenges. I think at the same time we need to look at how we do things around here.” Rachel Mark distributed the Innovation Report to the senior executive team and called a meeting to discuss the implications for the way we operated. “When I first read this, I wondered what relevance it had for us. It seemed to be speaking more to new businesses, start-ups, venture and angel capitalists, and such.” Rachel Amaro hesitated. “But, I think there’s something in there about being open to creative thinking, to opportunities beyond what our clients think they want, or say they want, and to even look differently at our own processes.” (Israel Tobin wondered to himself: “Is that a political statement, Rachel; or are you really getting ahead of the curve?”) Israel Israel Tobin: “I agree with Rachel, and if we could take this a bit further, one of the things that struck me was that we might want to look into the design of our work systems. I mean, do they foster creativity and innovation. Do you remember that pulse survey that my people did about a year ago? We recall that you, Rachel, were a bit reluctant about it, but one of the things that survey pointed to was that our people were feeling like the company is losing its mojo.” (Rachel Amaro pursed her lips and her nostrils flared just a bit. She was looking directly at Israel as he continued.) “See, we started up in 2007 with a spirit of innovation, even brashness, in our drive to be different. Talk to our long-term clients and that’s exactly what they see in us, why they keep coming back even though there’s plenty of competition out there. But over the years we’ve become a bit conservative, even stodgy and hidebound.” Jonathan “Mendicant,we think someone said in that pulse survey thing”, interjected Jonathon Simon. “Maybe you’re onto something. I don’t really know much about work systems and work design, except for something you talked about when you first joined us and you were giving a presentation about HR.” Lane Lane Scowcroft: “Ok, Ok. Enough with the negativity. What I want to know is: what’s the connection between being innovative and work design?” For me, being innovative means developing new, or at least different, products and services, business models, maybe even processes. That’s what my team is all about – it’s our bread and butter.” Israel “Maybe we can do some pilot work with one of your areas to see what scope there is for aligning work design with an innovation strategy. Innovation is something that we do now, it’s something we’re known for, right? The issue we think is that, over the years, the way we work may have started to block or interfere with the execution of this part of our strategy. I’m not saying that there is darkness, and we want daylight. Not at all. In some ways, it is a work design health check that we need. Is anyone up for that?” Silence. Mark Mark French looked up from the papers he was signing: “Sounds like a plan to me. Rachel, how about you? You have a small team, and yours is one area where there is certainly some scope for an innovative approach, within the boundaries of external regulation and our own risk policies. You and Israel get together and have a look at how work design might be useful to us.” Israel Israel smiled to himself, and wondered how this little project was going to go. He noticed Rachel frown and shift in her seat as Mark was speaking. Not a very encouraging start, he thought…. Work Design Job design and work design are terms used interchangeably in this section, and often in HR practice. Work design is the focus of the second part of this topic. We will look very briefly at job analysis, which precedes the design of work; especially where jobs are created or significantly altered, or where positions have been established for some time. Let’s look at some relevant concepts using Chapter 6 of Kramar et al. (2014) and additional resources. The Business Strategy

of any organisation has an impact on the way jobs are designed and linked together. So, if a company is competing on the basis of cost, it will proceed down a certain path in regard to work design compared with a company that wants to complete on the basis of differentiation/innovation. In public sector and non-profit organisations, the way services are provided to clients will have a large bearing on the way work is designed. Work design, therefore, is contingent on the environment within which the organisation operates and the strategic choice it makes about how it will position itself in its environment. Think for a moment about some of the trends or changes that are impacting on the way work is designed in modern organisations. Here are two short videos that provide practical examples to stimulate your thinking. The first video deals with the challenges of working in non-profit organisations and offers some insights into how the nature of HR work and business processes in non-profits is changing, for example with a stronger commercial emphasis than in the past. The second video draws attention to the need for digitally-savvy workers to support the digital economy in Australia. What other changes can you think of that might be impacting on the way jobs are designed today? Job design is the process of defining the way work will be performed and the tasks that will be required in a given job (Kramar et al. 2014, p. 192). Job redesign, then, refers to changing the tasks or the way work is performed in an existing job. This is the area of interest in the slice of experience from CERA, above. Redesign, however, requires detailed information about the existing jobs (job analysis) and the way jobs relate to the larger unit’s workflow (workflow analysis). Job analysis contributes to several HR practices. It is a relatively passive process of garnering detailed information about jobs. It involves the use of workflow analysis, questionnaires, interviews, inventories, surveys and observation, to collect as much detailed information as is necessary and practicable on what is done in a job, the skills and attributes required, how it works, and how it relates to other jobs that sit around it. We do not study job analysis in detail in this subject, primarily because it is a fairly straightforward technical activity (though it is not without its challenges). However, please do read over the relevant content in Chapter 6 of Kramar et al. (2014) if you would like to know more about this aspect of practice. There are four basic approaches to job design, and these should be seen in the way of a menu from which choices are made that align with an organisation’s strategy and its culture. In other words, there is no one right way of designing jobs: it depends on what performance outcomes you’re seeking to achieve. The four approaches are: The motivational approach – perhaps the most popular today, but not necessarily always the ‘right’ solution; The mechanistic approach – which is still used today in certain industries and jobs; The biological approach – which is particularly relevant to jobs that involve physical tasks, and The perceptual-motor approach – which is quite relevant to jobs that have a higher cognitive load. The characteristics of these approaches are summarised in the figures below. Read about these in more detail in Chapter 6 of Kramar et al. (2014). Motivational job design approach Autonomy Intrinsic job feedback Extrinsic jon feedback Social interaction Task/goal clarity Task variety Task identity Ability/skill level requirements Ability/skill variety Task significance Growth/learning Mechanistic job design approach Job specialisation Specialisation of tools and procedures task simplification Single activities Repetition Spare time Automation Biological job design approach Strength Lifting Endurance Seating Size difference Wrist movement Noise Climate Work breaks Shift work Perceptual motor job design approach Lighting Displays Programs Other equipment Printed job materials Workplace layout Information-input requirements Information-output requirements Information-processing requirements Memory requirements Stress Boredom Source: (Kramar et al., 2014, pp. 193-194) Note that these are not discrete approaches: there are trade-offs involved among them, and elements of two or more approaches may be applied in a job. At this point, think about the characteristics of professional jobs that might support an innovation strategy in an organisation such as CERA. Kramar et al. provide some insight into this early in Chapter 6 and to some extent in the discussion of the four approaches, but the discussion is by no means thorough. To supplement your textbook, I’ve selected two readings that open up the issue. The first reading is by Ceylan (2013). icon reading Read Ceylan, C. (2013). Commitment-based HR practices, different types of innovation activities and firm innovation performance. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(1), 208-226. doi: 10.1080/09585192.2012.680601 access online The core idea that Ceylan is examining is that there are certain bundles of HR practices that have been found to be associated with the innovation performance of organisations, notably, so-called commitment-based HR practices. What are these practices? Find out as you read this article, and then start to make some connections to how work design might support an innovation strategy. Jain, Mathew and Bedi’s (2012) paper has a similar focus. icon reading Read Jain, H., Mathew, M., & Bedi, A. (2012). HRM innovations by Indian and foreign MNCs operating in India: a survey of HR professionals. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(5), 1006-1018. doi: 10.1080/09585192.2012.651332 access online Before leaving this topic, here’s one more thing to do to reinforce your learning.In your own words, explain the logical connection between the three HR practices that we have examined so far – HRM benefits to performance, human resource planning and work design. The reason we ask you to do this is that all HR practices are related – they are not random, stand-alone activities; so it’s really important that you see how the work you’re doing is integrated. top

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