This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

November 9, 2005

Workforce Planning Will Engage Educators

Corporate leaders develop carefully conceived plans to determine what their organizations will do in the future. Typically, planning periods emphasize the next five years, but often extend ten years ahead. These plans, when done thoroughly, include a vital staffing component. Without the right people in the right place with the right skills and experience, employers will not be able to accomplish their plans. Wise employers invest in serious long-range human capital planning to assure that they will have the right people with the right skills when needed.

Where will these future employees come from? How many are employed by the company today? What competencies will they need? How will they be educated, trained, prepared for the work they must accomplish in five years? Eventually, these critical questions will be addressed seriously by employers. However, few employers have created plans for building the employee strength they will need, and even fewer have made any significant progress.

Very soon now, employers will become aware that they do not have the people they need to meet future---or even present---requirements. Some will react with panic, with various members of management blaming each other. Others will continue in denial, certain that this condition is not affecting them. Smart employers will plan and act.

Concerned employers will work with high schools, colleges, universities, and technical colleges to prepare young people with the knowledge and skills they’ll need. More and more employers will offer future jobs as part of a learn-earn-turn sequence. Employers will invite promising student-employees to learn particular bodies of knowledge, earn as a co-op or intern, and turn their education and experience into rewarding careers. The Think-Big Program with Caterpillar dealers is a shining example of this type of partnership.

Collaborating with educators to prepare young, entry-level workers will be an essential part of the strategic staffing process, but not the only answer. Older workers will participate in retraining programs. In many cases, they will be preferred over younger workers who lack experience---any kind of experience.

Employers will become increasingly proactive in building their future workforce in cooperative relationships with educators.

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