by Traci K. and BrightMove Recruiting Software and Staffing Software

With job cuts leveling off, corporations find themselves trying to make sense of those left after the dust has settled.  Job descriptions have evolved and been altered to absorb the responsibilities of the employees that were part of any reductions in force.  More with less has been the theme of many an organization over the past few years.  Now that things are shifting into a steady mode, how do you take the current employees and positions and create a new “normal”?  The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has some ideas on how to figure that out.


In a recent post online, SHRM identified the need to reanalyze current staff and figure out how to move forward: “The right workforce mix is unique to each company’s needs, but there’s a fairly standard process that companies can follow to determine the best mix of employees for achieving company goals.”


The article offered a few suggestions given by Kip Wright, Vice President and General Manager for Manpower subsidiary TAPFIN.  “Recognize that there are ‘various buckets that your workforce comes in’ and that each of those buckets offers distinct benefits and drawbacks.”  Each bucket represents a different category of workers and assesses the good and bad of each.  Wright goes on to explain:


One bucket comprises the full- and part-time employees who are hired and paid directly by the organization. The benefits of this group: These workers ‘are loyal, you have knowledge retention, and you know the costs’ associated with keeping them. The drawbacks, he said, are that it is difficult to manage their use based on business peaks and valleys. Also, these employees require a significant long-term investment and may not maintain up-to-date skills.


Temporary workers make up the second bucket. With these people, “it’s easy to acquire new skill sets, but knowledge leaves with the individual,” Wright said. And, temporary workers have less loyalty to the company and are less a part of its culture.


The third bucket is made up of workers hired and provided by an outside firm, or contractors. The main benefit of this group is that by turning to an outsourcer for a project, “the time to market is generally faster,” Wright said. But “you need to have a tight definition of your expectations, and you have to know how to manage an outside contractor.”


Another piece of advice Wright provides concerns what is termed “Workforce Mixology”.  Employees possess different talents, Wright identifies that:


Getting the right mix of talent is critical. Consider the skills needed for the work and whether existing employees have those skills, Wright says. Does some work require particular expertise that can be developed easily among workers with the company, or are the required skill sets rare in the workforce?


The percentage of workers in each bucket tends to ebb and flow for companies based on their needs, according to Wright. “Never say ‘I need [the workforce] to be 73.5 percent full-time employees,’ ” he cautioned. “Say that 70 percent to 80 percent [of employees] with [a particular] skill set needs to be full time, and you can track and monitor that.”


Wright works with companies to develop a workforce model by asking:

What might an optimal model look like, based on your needs?

What is your talent acquisition strategy?

What are your goals and objectives?


By answering those questions and following through in the hiring process, he said, the company “begins to shape the direction of the workforce over time.”


After assessing the diversity of talents and personalities on your team and deciphering how they should work best together, the next step is ensuring that they do work well together.  There are numerous teambuilding resources online, whether free or through consultants, that can help make any team reorganization or transition easier. 


Companies such as HR Solutions, Inc. provide consultation services and tailored solutions to meet the needs of departments and teams for varying types of companies.  For those without a budget to work with for this kind of initiative, there are also free online resources: EHow.com, About.com, or Teambuilding-Leader.com


In can be difficult to find the right workforce combination and learn how to ensure the highest level of efficiency.  After analyzing your team, promoting a cohesive work environment is the next major step.  There is no shortage of studies or surveys that link teambuilding to productivity.  Create that cohesive work environment and improve your productivity. 


Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children

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