Sneeze vector

Sneeze vector (Photo credit: 729:512)

Much of the work we do in Strategic Workforce Planning involves taking both internal and external trends, and determining how they might play out for your organisation.  Once you’ve done that, you can determine tactics to harness or address these trends to prepare for the best possible future workforce.

Sometimes, there are clear trends happening inside the organisation that are unsustainable – high performers turning over, key skills being lost, etc.  Identifying those trends through workforce analytics lets you understand the nature and extent of the problem, and determine strategies for addressing them.  By targeting these initiatives to where you need them most, you can ensure that your HR and Talent Management strategies are effective and efficient.

On the other side of the coin, workforce analytics and environment scanning help you to recognise opportunities and areas that the organisation is doing well in, so that you can capitalise on those.  People who are trained in a particular skillset are 20% more productive?  There’s your ROI for the training initiative right there.

One of the key things to recognise in any kind of workforce futuring is that it’s not just about headcount – you need to take into account the skillset and the productivity of the workforce too… and some trends can effect productivity in ways that just can’t be predicted.  Key among these is engagement.  The good news is that engagement (like many emotions in the workplace) is contagious.  The bad news is that disengagement is twice as contagious.  Further, trends that are subject to “contagion” have multiplier effects that can’t be accurately forecast. In a coming post, I’ll be talking about the research that supports emotional contagion in the workplace, the implications of this, and what you can do about it.  Stay tuned.

 

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6 thoughts on “Emotional Contagion in the Workplace – Part I

    • Thanks Christopher. That’s so true – workforce planning is both art and science. Often people stop at the science part and generate hundreds of different metrics, without doing anything useful to address them. Even the scientific method involves hypothesis and testing, not just initial measurement.

  1. I think something that is key around this issue is that leaders need to be willing to admit there is a problem, or at least that they think there is a problem. You won’t get someone to use workforce analytics to help if they are deluded that the turnover that they are seeing is “normal attrition” or if they are so removed from what’s going in beneath them that they don’t recignise the disengagement is even a problem.

    • I agree Kate. In other cases I see people obsessing over turnover which isn’t very high, when in fact they should be focusing on where the turnover is happening, and in some cases the fact that their turnover is too low – and they have a looming issue with an aging workforce. This is a common issue nowadays as people have put off their retirements due to the economy. Now that the market is recovering, retirement is going to take a huge chunk of their most experienced workforce away.

      I find that doing predictive analytics by extrapolating current hiring and retention trends at times paints a scary picture, and that becomes the evidence that something needs to be done. Of course, you need to be doing metrics before you can paint that picture… so at times it’s a Catch-22.

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