Workforce Planning...the vital role of leadership
Where does leadership start if it's the primary key to unlocking the value of human capital?
According to The Community of Leaders, firstly with the organisation's Board - followed by the Operational Executives who need to ensure that they are deeply involved in supporting the workforce planning that needs to be done.
Workforce planning is the systematic identification and analysis of organisational workforce needs so that the planning and implementation ensures sustainability and achieves strategic and operational objectives.
If one explores 'dysfunctional' entities whether in the public or private sectors, the underlying factor is usually a disconnect between strategy and structure. In an opinion piece entitled 'how to overcome the workforce planning disconnect', Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith - a contributor to Forbes, asked readers whether their organisation had strategies in place to address human capital gaps. More importantly, the question was posed as to whether one knows where the gaps are as she is of the opinion that there appears to be a 'distinct disconnect in supporting and implementing' the value and strategic importance of workforce planning.
Who is accountable or responsible for taking the lead in managing workforce planning, and implementation? The main distinction between accountability and responsibility is that responsibility can be shared while accountability cannot. Accountability also includes responsibility hence the need for collaboration across an organisation - particularly between the top decision-makers and HR practitioners.
In the October issue of this WorkInfo Newsletter reference was made to a Knowledge Resources collaborative survey on leadership development trends, priorities, and challenges in South Africa. One of the dominant results was that leadership is viewed as being hierarchical. In turn we referred to a Forbes article about leadership hierarchy often impeding the leveraging of human capital.
Leadership capability was one of the imperatives identified by Vuyokazi Dwane - Human Resources [HR] Director at LexisNexis South Africa - in a Mail & Guardian article on the HR journey that lies ahead. Dwane also referred to HR as being 'a core function of business strategy' and highlighted the need to ensure that the organisation is endowed with people whose skills are matched to its strategic goals and priorities.
The fundamental requisites of an effective leadership profile include strong communication skills, self-confidence, the ability to manage others, and a willingness to embrace change. Effective leadership includes the ability to be inspirational, to take calculated risks, and to persevere in the face of failure.
South Africa's greatest example of inspirational leadership is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Perseverance is best described in his leadership related words..."It always seems impossible until it's done", and "part of being an optimist is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward".
Mandela's words resonate with those of the author of The Future of Work, Jacob Morgan. In a recent video Morgan identifies three simple things needed to prepare for the 'future of work' - having the right people in the position of power, listening to employees, and investing in the right technologies to connect people.
Does the role of leadership only vest in people in top positions? In brief...no. What's important to look at the ability to reach out to others. Mike Myatt, a contributor to Forbes on leadership myths believes that 'many of those desiring to get ahead, have no desire to help others get ahead'. A good leader, regardless of the person's position in the organisation, is someone who has that desire.
Leadership is the cardinal key for unlocking the potential of human capital growth, meeting the challenges of a looming recession, and effectively governing risk management.
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