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Future Skills Planning

Posted on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 03:51PM
Alex Gallon
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Overview: A 7 step process to arrive at your core competencies and management capabilities for the future.
Author Biography: Alex Gallon FCIPD has spent many years designing and implementing training solutions that meet business needs, more particularly solutions that add value to an organisations competeitive edge.
Alex is a human resources professional with experience in senior HR management roles for a wide range of organisations.

Organisational Development. Employee engagement strategies, Investors in People, Management Development, Management Training & Performance Management
Future Skills Planning

Organisations of the future will require greater flexibility in the management of their resources. We will have far fewer people with permanent contracts of employment and far less full time employees.

The “core” skills that each organisation needs will be a critical HR decision for organisations, however large or small.

These core skills will be made up of:

1. Those critical professional & technical skills that give us our competitive edge – our core competencies

2. Management capabilities that provide leadership and direction and also provide a sense of common purpose for everyone who has an impact on the organisation’s performance.

As Charles Handy stated in “The Age of Unreason” (1989): ”a learning organisation is properly selfish, it is clear about its role, has goals and is determined to reach them. The questions behind a proper selfishness in an organisation are clear:

- What are the organisation’s strengths & talents?
- What sort of organisation does it want to be?
- What does it want to be known for?
- How will its success be measured?”

Core Competencies

C K Prahalad and G Hamel 1990 “Competing for the Future” suggest three factors identify core competencies in any business:

1. They provide potential access to a wide variety of markets
2. They make a significant contribution to perceived customer benefit of the end product
3. They are difficult for competitors to imitate

Examples :

Dell - online bespoking for customers of each computer

Saga - clear distinctive brand proposition focusing on a closely defined customer group

Tesco - reliable and efficient delivery infrastructure

Management Capabilities

Capabilities are best described as behavioural dimensions that affect job performance. Some people carry out these behavioural dimensions better than others. These dimensions would also include values, preferences, motives and aptitudes.

In our attempt to determine the organisation’s needs, we should consider the knowledge, skills & behaviours that impact on performance of the individual, teams and ultimately, the organisation as a whole.

Different organisations require different management capabilities for their senior executives. For example, Cadbury’s key capabilities for their management team are Strategy, Drive, Relationships, Persuasion, Leadership, Ability to follow, Analysis, Implementation, Personal Factors; BP’s also have Strategic Thinking, Drive – Personal and Organisational, Persuasion, Analytical Power and in addition have Impact, Communication, Awareness of Others and Team Management.

Having defined the skills that will be needed in the future, it is now possible to identify the process for putting the skills into place.

It is essential to have a strategic HR development plan which starts with the organisation’s business plan and then follows a structured approach.
Step 1 - do I know the business values, vision, objectives and milestones, giving me a timescale for skills planning?
Step 2 - do I have the new strategic core competencies and management capability descriptions?
Step 3 - do I have the suitable diagnostic tools to enable me to specify the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the business both has and needs?
Step 4 - can I therefore define the generic shifts for particular teams and the individual shifts for each resource?
Step 5 - am I able to evaluate the learning capability of individuals against these requirements?
Step 6 - who can best provide me with the optimum learning solutions to meet specific learning objectives?
Step 7 - what then are my resource planning decisions between make (skill change), buy (recruit) or subcontract?

By answering the above questions and following the steps, you will arrive at your core competencies and management capabilities of the future.

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