The Workforce Development activities undertaken by enterprises form an essential component in creating, sustaining and retaining a viable and productive workforce.
Growing the capacity of the nation’s existing workforce is a priority. The development of workers’ skills can be achieved through a number of initiatives that increase their competency and make them a greater asset in the workforce.
As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, TLISC is available to assist transport and logistics organisations with their Workforce Development and Planning activities.
The Workforce Development process aims to maximum the effectiveness of workers and may incorporate a review of a range of business imperatives including:
- training needs
- knowledge management
- recruitment and retention strategies
- support mechanisms and
Skills and Labour Shortages
In order to address a range of challenges imposed by the two-speed economy, the Government has developed a number of funding programs to support the cost of up-skilling the workforce and address the areas of greatest need.
The ageing of the population remains a looming issue, as older workers look to transition away from the workforce. Retaining these skilled T&L workers and the intellectual property that they possess will prove a challenge over the coming years.
Developing HR strategies to address these and other issues will require careful attention. There will also be much competition for workers as other industries (for example, those in the energy and mining sectors) will also be attempting to fill their labour shortfalls.
The establishment of the National Workforce and Productivity Agency to take control of the $558 million National Workforce Fund from October 2011 may offer additional opportunities to industry, associations and employment service providers to access funding from this program.
The Workforce Development Plan
A Workforce Development Plan can be developed to incorporate strategies that are specifically targeted to:
- attract, recruit and select new staff
- induct, train and develop workers
- motivate, manage and reward performance
- retain and support employees
- lead and communicate with the workforce.
Workforce Planning is a structured process of planning, strategy implementation and review which assists in providing companies with optimum skill and staffing levels and motivated staff to follow the business directions of the future.
The Workforce Planning process begins with an Environmental Scan for the business.
Development of an Environmental Scan
Environmental scanning is a research process that is used to determine what factors will impact on the way that the business operates in both the short and long term. It helps guide business directions and therefore, the workforce directions and strategies.
In order to develop an environmental scan, a range of factors in both the external and the internal environments must be examined. External factors might include Government policies, competition, technological change, market trends and demographic changes. Internal factors might also include company policies, the profile of the current workforce and the anticipated future directions of the company.
At the end of the environmental scanning process, a report is produced which highlights what the external and internal influences on the business are anticipated to be in the next 1, 3 and 5 years. This data is then used for Scenario Planning.
Developing scenarios is a way of outlining possible and probable futures. By developing at least two scenarios – a ‘most likely’ and a ‘least likely’ scenario, workforce planners can develop strategies to address each of these potential futures. Developing scenarios is not a precise science, but rather, a means by which workforce planners consider not only the most likely future, but also an alternative future and company needs.
Forecasting Workforce Demand
Demand forecasting is the process of estimating the number of people with the relevant skill sets that the company will need in order to meet its future business objectives. When undertaking a Demand Forecasting Workshop, it is important that planners consider critical job roles for the company and not the specific personnel currently in them.
Critical job roles are those which:
- require skills that are difficult to source
- require skills that need a long time to develop or grow within an organisation
- are critical to the core business of the organisation
- constitute a large number of people in the organisation
- the outcome of the workshop will highlight the workforce needs for critical job roles in order to meet business objectives.
Supply forecasting uses and analyses current human resources data, such as tenure, absenteeism, voluntary retirements etc to provide an estimate of how many and what type of employees will be available to meet the organisational requirements according to both scenarios and across 1, 3 and 5 year timeframes.
GAP Analysis, Strategy Development and the Workforce Plan
The gap analysis is the process of identifying the difference between the estimated demand forecast over 1, 3 and 5 years and the internal supply of workers to meet that demand.
Where there is a predicted shortfall of labour and skills, suitable strategies can be implemented to increase supply of suitable staff or redesign business processes. Such strategies might include buying in skilled labour, developing the skills of the current workforce or outsourcing certain business functions.