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Workforce Planning Is About the Process

Discussing workforce planning with an HR professional of a government entity in Singapore we explained our approach that starts from customer and strategy, goes via processes and concludes in workforce needs, in short. The answer I got from my client was “Why do you look into operations in order to do workforce planning. We want to do this without dealing too much with processes.”

I was surprised to get this reaction from an HR professional.

Not looking into processes whilst planning the workforce for the next couple of years reveals some very risky assumptions.

Firstly, you assume that everyone who is busy is really adding value or – in other words – is busy doing the right things. Is this really fair? Ask yourself: how many subordinates have ever asked you for more work because they were not busy? Not too many I guess. Being busy is seen as being productive – although it has nothing to do with this. To the contrary: if you can do your job in less time, you are more productive.

Additionally, you think that jobs will not be changed, enriched, redesigned based on new technology or new ways of doing things. You suggest that customers basically have the same requirements over time. And you assume that improvements or innovations will not be possible nor necessary in your processes.

The worst however is, you suppose that HR does not need to know about what the workforce does.

In my opinion, HR professionals can add much more value to an organisation by going beyond the traditional HR responsibilities. HR can only be seen as a partner for the leadership team if HR understands the business and basic methods for business management and improvement.

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Uwe H Kaufmann

Dr Uwe H Kaufmann is the founder of Centre for Organisational Effectiveness (COE Pte Ltd), a business advisory firm operating out of Singapore. As consultant and coach with many years of experience, his passion lies in supporting organisations to improve their effectiveness.
Uwe is a German national and Permanent Resident of Singapore. He has four children and nine grandchildren … and counting.

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