WORKFORCE BLOG

Workforce Development Plan

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

So what is workforce development?

It is an umbrella term for implementing strategies that help you bridge the gap between your current workforce and your target (future) workforce.  Workforce development strategies address the gaps that you find when you undertake workforce planning and training needs analysis where the output is a workforce plan.  The strategies could be about attraction, recruitment, retention, career progression, succession planning, job design, skills and competencies, values and behaviours, KPI’s and performance.

Generally when you write a workforce plan you cover the same time frame as the organisation’s strategic plan which could be 5, 3, 5, 10 or 20 years depending on your industry and budget cycles.  The steps are reflected in the document itself starting with 1. Context and environment, 2. Current workforce profile, 3. Future workforce profile including forecasting demand and supply, 4. Gap analysis, priorities, implementation, 5. Review, monitor, evaluate.

Review your workforce plan regularly – about every 6 months or if there has been a major workforce change or refocus of the business.  The workforce plan is a dynamic document resulting in a prioritised action plan identifying who will do what and by when – it’s not uncommon for organisations to have numerous updated versions of their workforce plan over the timeframe for which it has been designed.

As job roles change and you implement workforce development strategies, the framework that measures your workforce capability also needs to change to reflect the organisation’s structure and focus.  You may want to build a capability framework to help you measure your workforce capability and capacity.  Revisiting your demand and supply forecasting is important to see if you are on track.

The process is facilitated transparently, involving people from across your organisation to help identify strengths, development needs and issues.  Communication, consultation and education is critical so you know what to do and what you are aiming for using a practical, straight forward approach – don’t over complicate it!

CEDA Skills and Workforce Development Forum

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The CEDA Skills and Workforce Development Forum held on 14 April 2011 in Adelaide focussed on the link between skills, innovation and productivity.

Opened by the Hon Jack Snelling MP, Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education an interesting line up of speakers provided these main messages (as interpreted by Workforce BluePrint):

– Malclom Jackman, CEO Elders Ltd – move towards a high performing organisation, Go 2 client = client focussed sales, recruitment from the widest possible talent pool, challenges in managing a widespread, remote workforce

– Professor Sue Richardson, Principal Research Fellow, NILS, Flinders University – skills depth which is difficult to shift and skills breadth which is more easily transferable, stock of Human Capital = inflows/outflows, depreciation of skills

– Adrian Smith, Chair, SA Training & Skills Commission, Managing Director SYDAC – SA needs a wise investment in skills = evidence based, higher level, qualifications and skills

– Guy Roberts, Managing Director, Penrice Soda Products – moving beyond “stay in business training”, current competencies – target competencies, competency based job descriptions, graduated career ladder; value for money to adding value to creating value; change management – over educate and over communicate

– Chris Wood, Manager Corporate Human Resources and Organisational Development, Santos – huge people challenge with 80 000+ people needed by 2020, 6 years to develop employee to “autonomy”

– Tom Karmel, Managing Director, NCVER – SA against Australia has an over representation of Certificate I’s and II’s, we need higher levels of general education, shortages are about churn they aren’t structural = need for retention stratagies

A whole range of workforce development and planning gaps and issues were raised and I’d like to ask:

What is the number 1 priority for skills and workforce development in South Australia?  What about for your organisation?  What strategies could be implemented to address these issues and gaps?

For those people working on the Skills for All implementation I’d suggest we to:

– undertake a training needs analysis beyond what is on an RTO’s scope and that matches competencies with job roles and organisation capability

– make RPL opt out of not opt in to i.e. all clients/learners undertake an up front RPL process unless they choose not to

– skills development is about foundation, multi-literacies  and transferable skills (breadth) as well as industry and job specific skills (depth)

Overall, South Australia needs an evidence based approach to determining workforce demand for jobs and skills over the short and longer term (for enterprises, industries and regions) – this is the number 1 priority for me.

PS. A statewide skills stock-take would be great too!

Evidence based approach to workforce and client demand

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Increasingly you are being asked to provide evidence of demand for jobs and skills that are linked to your contracts, funding and proposals as well as your programs and services, and that reach specific outcomes and targets.

So how do you,

  1. Make sense of the data on business and industry (I), major projects and regional trends?
  2. Analyse demographics (D) information?
  3. Know who you should partner (P) with?
  4. Examine your client (C) profile?

AND

Marry all 4 areas to identify opportunities for new products and services, develop engagement and support strategies, and provide crucial evidence demonstrating how you can meet demand now and into the future?

Workforce BluePrint has developed a methodology and a process to help you quickly and simply understand the industry (I), demographics (D), partners (P) and your client (C) profile resulting in engagement (E), and support (S) strategies, this is what is looks like:

Workforce Demand

A skills profile (SP) that details foundation skills, transferable skills and industry specific skills plus a competitor analysis (CA) are options you may want to include.

Methodology

–        Action research and collection of data for the specified regions, Local Government Areas (LGA’s) or Employment Service Areas (ESA’s)from a range of national, state/territory, local, major projects, regional and industry sources covering industry workforce demand and social demographics

–        Analysis of your client profile for the location/s

–        Comparison of industry workforce demand profile and social demographics with your client profile

–        Identification of themes in the data and validation of analysis with team members working across the specific locations to value add with local intelligence

–        Partnership map development with local team members

–        Option of skills profile and/or competitor analysis

–        Development of an action plan with priorities, engagement and support strategies and validation by team members

–        Documentation of the whole process so it is repeatable and can be used across your organisation and at other locations/regions.

Outputs per region or location may include:

–        Industry and business workforce profile

–        Social demographics

–        Partnership map

–        Client profile

–        Skills profile

–        Competitor analysis

–        Report and action plan

Get the evidence you need for your business case, tender submission, funding allocations, new program or workforce plan.

Send an email to wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au with the various components that you are interested in – I, D, P, C, SP and/or CA.

Skills for All and Opportunities for You

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Skills for All, the Strategic Direction for Vocational Education and Training in South Australia 2011-2014 has been published and was great weekend reading with the pink highlighter pen out!

What does Skills for All offer?

  • extra $194 million over the next 6 years for an additional 100 000 places
  • transition to a National VET Regulator in 2011
  • income contingent loans and concession fees for low income earners
  • Skills in the Workplace initiative to upskill employees in support of their workforce development – sharing the costs with government where more than 200 employees – at least 50%; 100-199 employees at least 25%; less than 100 employees at least 10%
  • independent and endorsed workforce development advisors
  • subsidies – full for Cert I and II; 80% for Cert III and IV; 70% for Dip and Adv Dip; up to 100% for priority qualifications, critical skills and specialised occupations
  • designated skills set training once/year based upon advice from industry
  • move towards fully contestable training market
  • from 1.7.11 the Office of TAFE SA will be formed
  • training information portal
  • plain language document on provider services and outcomes for students, awareness of opportunities to feedback concerns or complaints from students and regular info campaigns
  • $6.4 million in additional funding for foundation skills and Adult and Community Education (ACE)
  • reduction in VET cost per hour closer to the national VET average
  • Skills for All providers will receive subsidies for delivery in rural locations that reflect additional costs with thin markets
  • targeted professional development initiatives that address contemporary education and training and workforce development practice
  • nominated capability building initiatives to ensure good practice for providers
  • a new Employer Recognition Program initially recognising employers of apprentices and expanding over time for employers who are committed to developing the skills of their workforce
  • employers co-investment with Government in integrate workforce development plans, encourage industry uptake of workforce development, industry investment and skill development for new and emerging industries and technologies
  • workforce development support including toolkits, workshops and resources

So here’s some ideas on what to consider now so you are ready for the roll out:

  • training providers must demonstrate the demand for skills and jobs, links to industry and funding required – this means taking an evidence based approach and analysing workforce, industry and regional demand
  • registration and qualification requirements as a Skills for All training provider – this is additional to the minimum AQTF standards and you’ll need to be on the look out for when DFEEST releases the requirements
  • increased focus on recognition of prior learning and identifying student learning needs – think about RPL as opt out of not op in and who you can tap into for learner support
  • at enrolment students and their provider will develop a customised training plan – do you already have this in place or will you need to develop a template and tools?
  • the subsidy price will be paid monthly to qualified providers based upon module completions – how will your cash flow work and what systems will you need to put in place for reporting?
  • one website will have information about Skills for All providers – how will you keep this up to date and what about your own website, maybe time for review and some advice?
  • DFEEST will provide information to students – how could you maximise this promotional opportunity and do you need to rethink your marketing strategy?
  • ACE partners – who do you know?  who can you work with? do/can/will you deliver foundation skills?
  • VET costing – do you know all the inputs, all the outputs and the return on the investment?
  • Delivery in rural locations – get familiar with the Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) to determine regional loadings and classify your target markets based upon industries, student cohorts and regions – locality, SLA and postcode are important data sets here
  • need to better engage and support SME’s – facilitate a workforce development style conversation and identify all their needs
  • employer recognition – what about the commitment of your own organisation to workforce development?  are you leading the way?
  • focus on workforce development – this is moving beyond training and assessment and workforce skills development towards a workforce planning approach

What’s next – have a look at the key implementation milestones with the Skills in the Workplace program due for August 2011 with most activities kicking off publicly from June 2011 through until 2012-13.

Make sure you subscribe for further updates and what you are looking forward to?

Top tips for your first full time job

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Where do you look for your first full time job?  It can seem daunting and hard to get started so here are 6 steps.

First of all brainstorm the type of job you’d like, the industry and the type of company you want to work for.  Think about the hours, environment and location you would like to work in.  Have a short plan on what you are going to do to get the result of winning that first job.

Secondly do some research to develop your database of potential employers via the internet (Google, Facebook, industry/professional associations and company websites), local phone book, papers and family/friends networks.

Thirdly understand the best way to approach your database – does the company specify inquiries and applications via the web only, via email, only in response to an advertisement, or do they welcome direct contact via phone or face to face.  Some employers think that by calling in to their business you are showing initiative and they get to meet you but for others it’s probably not appropriate.

The fourth step is to change your introductory letter/email and resume to suit the company – use the same key words that they do on their website or in company documents and try to match your experience to their jobs.  Ask for help from family members, friends and other people you know in business – many people are very well networked and happy to help you out.  Check if you need any licences or minimum training for example to work in the building and construction industry you’ll need a white card and to work in a hotel, you’ll need responsible service of alcohol.

Fifth be aware of the different ways that you could be employed by a company including Australian Apprenticeships and federal or state/territory government initiatives and use this to your advantage by including information in your pitch to potential employers.  Also be aware that potential employers may use the internet to search on your name so check what’s out there about you and think about how things like your Facebook status updates, posts and photos could be seen.

Finally, keep going with your plan as sometimes it can take a little while, change things if they aren’t working for you and above all ask for help with your search.

Workforce profiling for an island or region

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Identifying current skills needs by employers in existing employees and their future workforce and profiling the workforce for an island or a region enables better informed decision making and longer term workforce development strategies.

Analysing the results can provide regional and industry development agencies, local networks, government and funding bodies with insight into strengths vs sustainability, community assets and common development needs.

Collect information and data such as numbers employed by industry, age profile, gender, employment status, skill level, advertised vacancies by month, job type, location, skill level and industry.

Ask business owners about their workforce issues and challenges, the skills needs for their employees and themselves and aggregate the results with the most common development needs.

Design a skills profile that includes foundation skills, transferable skills and job specific skills and map to units of competency from National Training Packages with Skillsbook to make formal recognition and the purchase of training and assessment services easier.

Validate the data analysis, skills profile and dig a bit deeper with businesses to understand what is really casing them problems and what solutions could work.

Summarise the results and trends making recommendations that can be implemented by local people with an action plan.

Publish the report, present the information to all stakeholders including the businesses in the survey, follow through with the actions and keep the action plan as a standing item for the local network with projects and funding built from it.

Move towards a workforce plan for the island or region and for each of the organisations by helping them assess the health of their business, provide support, information, education and mentoring.  Work with the businesses on immediate human resource management issues, strategic planning and chat quickly then do.

Paid Parental Leave

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Australia’s Paid Parental Leave starts on 1 January 2011 with links to relevant websites below:

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/

Information for employers starts here:

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/employers–what-will-i-need-to-do.php

Details on eligibility:

http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/working-parents—eligibility.php

Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator:

http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/individuals/ppl_working_parents_estimator.htm

Comments in the media:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/paid-parental-leave-the-icing-on-the-cake-for-new-mothers-20110101-19cm3.html

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2010/s3105655.htm

What do you think?

How to build a Competency Framework

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

First of all why do you want to build one?

Often it’s because people ask for training and development that may not be directly related to their job role, it may be dealt with ad hoc and often training needs aren’t aggregated at an organisational, project or team level.

Another reason could be that you are looking for an evidence based approach to assessing skill level and performance, you may be recruiting, looking at career progression or you may want to demonstrate your workforce capability for a tender, proposal, project or industry awards.

Whatever the reason, I suggest you start with the end in mind – what are you wanting as the out and outcomes and then work your way back.

Secondly, who needs to be involved to validate and who needs to be briefed and kept up to date with the framework as it develops.  Communication and consultation is absolutely critical so work out who are your audiences, what do you need to say, when and how often, and what communication methods will you use including existing communication channels.  Utilising a group of people representing their job roles, especially if they are well networked in their area is a good way to go.  Help them to know the purpose of the framework, what it will be used for and their knowledge, experience and understanding of the job roles in the framework to validate the competency and skills profiles.

Thirdly, think about the structure which needs to mirror the organisation or client (could be internal or external like a project) you are working with.  I like the structure of core competencies i.e. everybody needs these, functional competencies including leadership i.e. some people need different functions, and job specific competencies i.e. skills that make 1 job role different to another.  Draw a diagram of the competency framework and have the map to relevant skills sitting behind it.

Fourthly, what can we use the framework for?  Training and development needs analysis,performance management, competency based job descriptions and recruitment, career and succession planning, evidence against industry standards and for tenders, proposals, marketing and promotions.

A final word on who needs a framework – well it’s up to you!  I have developed a framework for a 1 person business up to a government department with 43 000 people because they had very real business reasons to build one in the first place.

Updating your workforce plan

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Generally when you write a workforce plan you cover the same time frame as the organisation’s strategic plan which could be 5, 3, 5, 10 or 20 years depending on your industry and budget cycles.

I like to review my workforce plan every 6 months or if there has been a major workforce change or refocus of the business.  For our workforce plan from 2009-2012 we are coming up to version number 4 as January 2011 will give us some time to see where we are up to and what we have achieved.

We haven’t changed our vision, mission, goals or values but the details in our strategic priorities have shifted a little bit as we have recently undertaken an exercise to simplify our brands and further segment our target markets.

As job roles change and we implement workforce development strategies, the framework that measures our workforce capability also needs to change and expand and we will revisit our demand and supply forecasting to see if we are on track.

The workforce planning process basically results in identifying strategies and actions to be put in places to bridge the gap between your current and future workforce.  Here’s an easy to use workforce planning template or a  checklist if you have already developed a workforce plan.

Recognition

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Yesterday I attended a CEDA luncheon with Hugh Mackay on his new book What makes us tick: The ten desires that drive us.

Hugh covered the ten desires including:

The desire to be taken seriously

The desire for ‘my place’

The desire for something to believe in

The desire to connect

The desire to be useful

The desire to belong

The desire for more

The desire for control

The desire for something to happen

The desire for love

Mackay asserts that the desire to be taken seriously is the most important one, “Not seriously as in ‘Oh what a serious person!’ but seriously as in ‘Please recognise and acknowledge me as an individual.’ (p.2)

So how does this apply to workforce management?  Well I’d suggest this desire relates to every aspect of working effectively with people – recognising their achievements, skills, performance, career aspirations, leadership, issues, ideas, work load, work-life balance and the importance of engaging people in decision making, problem solving and change implementation.  A good reminder really of the need to practice recognising people every day.