Identifying and recruiting the best talent for the job presents an ongoing challenge for most organisations. That’s hardly breaking news. What is surprising though, is the fact that so many organisations are still struggling to do this, lacking even the most basic of information, for example number of hires needed to meet actual resource requirements or what internal skills are currently missing to cope with the upcoming pipeline of work.
Clearly the first hurdle lies in being able to accurately judge capacity. That is easier said than done though when you consider only 43 percent of companies currently plan for unexpected events such as employee attrition and/or influxes of new business. So when these events do inevitably happen, organisational leaders tend to ‘panic hire’ - finding themselves retrospectively filling a skill gap and coming to a dry talent pool. The result? An employee who is a bad fit for the particular requirements of the client, or even worse, hiring to plug a non-existent gap. It’s an illogical not to mention, very expensive, exercise.
Of course, there are many business leaders who do their best to optimise capacity planning processes and outcomes with the tools they have to hand. They recognise that losing talent and/or customers is always a possibility, and rightly so, they try to contingency plan. The problem is that for the vast majority, these efforts still equate to disparate Excel spreadsheets with manual data entry, both of which leave significant room for human error, creating uncertainty and often resulting in a tendency to recruit regardless (if only for the feeling of comfort that comes from having more people available). Yet more people does not necessarily equate to an increase in productivity, especially if those people are lacking the requisite skills or experience for the job to which they have been assigned.
Doing away with default recruitment
So why are so many organisations recruiting unnecessarily? The most obvious cause of ‘knee-jerk’ recruitment stems from the fact that decision makers don’t have access to real-time, robust data. Simply, they can’t see what people they have and which skills exist internally, let alone map these against projects and customer needs.
But despite the fact that media rhetoric tells us people are more stretched than ever in their working lives (and that may well be the case), businesses may have more resource capacity than they think - a realisation that can increase profit margins by enabling better planning tracking and forecasting of people and their skills against customer and project needs.
Therefore, many organisations are currently wasting valuable time and money on recruiting for a non-existent gap. And, when presented in these simple terms, it becomes apparent just how harmful ‘knee-jerk’ recruitment really is in business terms. Imagine instead a scenario where business leaders had a comprehensive view of their organisation’s capacity levels based on real-time, accurate data and not just retrospective utilisation rates. Would they still claim to be under-resourced? Perhaps so, but probably to a lesser extent.
So how can organisational leaders get their hands on this data and start to make more informed decisions?
Business technologies such as FinTech, HRTech and MarTech are now well established and play a pivotal role in optimising organisational processes and outcomes. Yet, until more recently, the same cannot be said of operations tech (OpsTech) - something that is fundamental to managing capacity and recruitment in an optimal way.
The rise of OpsTech is remedying illogical resourcing by helping organisations to distribute their workforce in the most optimal, equal and agile way, ensuring that staff productivity levels remain consistently high without burning-out. With the ability to create a real-time view of the workforce, OpsTech works by providing a visual understanding of which people and teams have capacity, and how requisite skill sets align with this capacity. The result? Better decision making, improved productivity and reduced cost.
Better employee experience, better retention
Another significant benefit of OpsTech is its ability to lessen the perceived need for recruitment in the first place. How so? It helps to ensure people’s skills are put to best use and that they are assigned projects and customers where these can be deployed in line with their own personal areas of interest. It sounds simple, but it’s fundamental to ensuring that jobs are not only done faster and better, but for optimising talent engagement and retention - and with the average cost of replacing an employee being £12,000, it’s critical to business outcomes.
In addition, employees are also far less likely to feel overburdened because managers and team leaders will, for the first time, have a much better understanding of any one particular employee’s capacity - another factor that is key to better balancing utilisation versus availability, and preventing work-related demands from negatively impacting employee experiences.
The automation element of OpsTech can support better employee experiences, too. Take timesheets, for example. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who enjoys the arduous and admin-heavy processes involved with completing these. Automation in these instances gives employees the all-important gift of time, enabling and empowering them to spend more time discovering and developing their skills and individual areas of interest. Without this breathing room to focus on professional development, the employee will soon tire, productivity will wane, and ultimately, they will seek an alternative employer who can better cater to their needs.
So where do we go from here?
Organisations must realise that the future of accurate and informed capacity planning - and therefore the end of knee-jerk recruitment - lies in acquiring real, actionable data via a smart technology system. Trying to optimise resource planning and mitigate risk in today’s fast-changing business landscape without this, and with just human judgement and siloed excel spreadsheets, is a sure-fire way to create workforce disengagement and reduced company profits. The benefits of OpsTech speak for themselves: improve employee satisfaction and retention, whilst ending the ‘knee-jerk’ recruitment that has long been hampering business productivity and profits.