The war on talent

HR managers have to keep up with increasing workforce demands

Tamer Amer.
Tamer Amer.

The transformation of GCC countries into a global energy hub has certainly exponentially increased the workforce manpower demands.

Hence it is the perfect time for HR managers and talent management strategists to evaluate how the existing workforce resources can meet the current and future demands of their respective organisations, or simply develop a workforce planning strategy.

Most HR managers realise that workforce planning is a moving target and, once developed, must be continually monitored, evaluated and recalibrated.

Any company’s environment is dynamic and not static – workforce changes will occur constantly whether we like it or not. There will be changes in age, skills, values, expectations, diversity, departures and additions.

Workforce planning serves to mitigate these changes. Workforce planning is certainly an integral pillar of the strategic planning for any company. It has many benefits. The most important are the introduction of a more efficient way of utilising staff and the development of realistic staffing projections for budgeting.

The route map to an optimal workforce plan for any company starts with a question that the operations team should be asking: “Where does the organisation want to be, and how do we get there?”

The first step of workforce planning starts with preparation – an organisation has to realise that planning is a company-wide effort; identify planned company and business objectives; and focus on the quantity and types of skills needed and how these needs will be satisfied.

The second step in the workforce planning process is a supply analysis of the current workforce demographics and trends. The third step is a demand analysis, whereby the focus is on the totality of skills required by the company.

It is important to realise that such a demand analysis evaluates both internal and external factors relevant to the company. The last step in the workforce planning is the gap analysis, whereby the supply and demand data are integrated and the gaps or surpluses analysed.

On the contrary, if the supply is greater than the demand, then we have a surplus and the company would have to develop strategies like redeployment, re-organisation, outsourcing and redundancy planning.

If the available labour supply cannot meet the current demand, then a gap exists, and strategies have to be developed to eliminate these. Gap analysis strategies include contract workers, internal staff development and succession planning.

One of the simplest solutions in fulfilling workforce gaps is the ability to recognise and evaluate all the available workforce resource category options whether they are internal or external. In addition, companies need to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each of these classifications.

The internal employees, being the first workforce resource, whether full- or part-time, are typically paid by the organisation, and are loyal, and the cost associated with them is fixed. One of the major drawbacks is the inability to manage the usage of these employees during the peaks and valleys of the typical business project cycle.

The second workforce resource category is temporary employees, who are also an excellent resource, since they give the company the ability to acquire new skill sets, but the knowledge leaves with that employee. One critical drawback is the lower level of loyalty to the company and the inability of the temporary employees to be part of the organisation’s culture.

The third workforce resource category is workers hired by an outside firm as contractors. The advantage is that they are the quickest group to deploy. However, it is very critical to clearly define the expectations and to understand the art of managing outside contractors.

In conclusion, the war on talent is going to get more challenging where human resources managers and talent consultants have to keep looking beyond the typical permanent arrangement to meet the increasing workforce demands.

Tamer Amer is HR and admin manager at Black Cat Engineering & Construction WLL

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