How Long to Change a Light Bulb

As leaders and executives, some of our most difficult tasks are to find and hire the best fit for the jobs we have open.  In many companies I work with, the hiring process is more of a
“one off” hiring process that is really not planned for until theneed arises.

In fact, the workforce development plan should be seen as a process that begins with the company’s longer term plan in mind.  Each individual job placement is part of the evolution of the company plan.  It should never be a surprise that a particular talent is needed as growth occurs.  It should also be clear where that talent is to come from (inside talent, hired talent, outsourced talent, etc.). In the following article, we explore a process to make hiring more of a
science than an art.

Enjoy the read!

Ormond Rankin

How Long to Change a Light Bulb

As the old joke goes, it takes XX number of people to change a light bulb. Insert any identifiable group you want to poke fun at-political parties, university students or professional groups. The number of people needed for the task shifts depending on who is changing the bulb.

When we think about a particular organization, the number of people required to change a light bulb depends on whether we have the right person doing the job. If we do, we will NEVER be in the dark. If we don’t, the organization could be in the dark for as long as we are willing to put up with the darkness, or for as long as it takes us to fail-whichever comes first.

No one wants to fail, of course, but leaders don’t always understand how not to fail, especially when it comes to putting people in the right places to get the job done. We hire someone who is intelligent, motivated and able to do many different things. Then, without considering our decision as thoroughly as we should, we put the person in a job that is completely unsuited to him. The demoralizing result? The job is not done efficiently, is not done at all or the person quits in frustration. Or we let him go.

We don’t have to operate this way. Experts plan with their workforce in mind. Then they combine that plan with well-chosen tools so that they can get the company on target and keep it there. See below to discover how our team of experts views this planning process; perhaps it can help your organization identify flaws in your own plan:

1. Establish where your business is going. When you are on vacation, it’s exciting to get to your destination by leaving the main road. When you are executing a business strategy, the “getting there” part matters more. You must ignore the side roads. You have to know the areas that you want to grow, the areas you want to maintain but make more profitable, and the areas to get rid of. You will also need to know how far and how fast you can move. Knowing your strategy helps you create a meaningful plan without distractions.

2. Understand where the labor market is going. You want to be where your potential labor force is. You must know and evaluate economic forecasts, demographic trends, regulatory changes, and where-and why-the talent is moving. This knowledge will help you realistically plan how long it will take to fill jobs and how much you will pay for talent.

3. Identify future talent needs. What jobs do you need to keep, create or phase out? What will be your most important roles to fill in a year? What employee groups will be
most critical to your organization? In other words, which groups can help you accomplish your strategy?

4. Assess your current talent pool. Knowing who fits, who doesn’t fit and who is capable of changing jobs will help you plan. Put some blinders on to keep from being swayed too much by personality. Focus on ability. Here are three questions that will help, if you answer them honestly: How well does the worker fit the new job? Will he/she have the skills to perform? How long does talent stay at our company?

5. Identify your talent gaps; plan how to close them. After you’ve done the assessing in step 4, you know what you need to do. Now focus on the four Bs: build your talent; bounce those who don’t fit into new jobs or out of the organization; buy new talent by recruiting it; and borrow labor on a temporary or contract basis. You don’t have to use all four tactics. Employing only some of them might work just fine.

6. Implement the process. The key word here is “process,” meaning that this is an ongoing practice, not a one-time deal. To succeed, you will need top-level support. Executives will need to focus on priorities in order to build momentum instead of trying to achieve everything at once. And you will have to track what happens by the numbers. This means that your decisions will be based on facts rather than gut feelings.

So, how long is it taking your organization to change light bulbs? If the process is too long and drawn out, it’s probably not the bulb that needs changing.

Source: Profiles International


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