The Risky Business of HCM

business riskFor me, Labor Day always signals not only the end of summer, but the beginning of the conference season. The downside is the bad airport food and travel hassles. The upside is, lots of great conversations with people who are passionate about human capital management and organizational success. One thing that is starting to emerge in these early days of the fall conference season for me is the topic of risk. HR is at the center at a lot of different types of risk, and can play a critical role in helping organizations manage this risk. A couple of months ago, Brandon Hall Group published a list of the top five global talent risks, based on data from over 1,200 global organizations.

The list included:

  • Capability Risk: understanding the skills and capabilities within the organization, and how well they are aligned to business need.
  • Capacity Risk: putting in place the right succession and talent acquisition plans to ensure there is enough volume of talent to support business strategy.
  • Cost Risk: understanding the compensation models and managing the cost of recruiting and retaining the workforce required.
  • Connection Risk: risks around engagement and performance, and how well your organization can share talent.
  • Compliance Risk: the very real financial and legal risks associated with noncompliance with union rules, federal, state and local laws, and other regulations.

I think this list is fascinating because it lays out how truly important human capital management is to the business. What role can be more powerful than one that manages these categories of risk for the organization? Over the next five weeks, I’ll be exploring these five areas through the lens of workforce management, helping organizations understand what role HRIS systems, time and labor management, payroll, and compensation play in helping organizations manage their talent risk.

Capability Risk

Workforce management plays a critical role in managing capability risk. While capabilities and skills are certainly an important part of an organization’s learning and talent strategy, I believe they are critical intersection points between talent management and workforce management. When an organization plans to deliver goods and services, the job of workforce management tools – such as  scheduling solutions — is to help make sure that the right people are in the right place at the right times.

Understanding the needs of every role required to execute business strategy, and ensuring that the right people are deployed, is at the core of not only scheduling, but also longer-term workforce planning. And workforce planning is the number one workforce management concern, based on new data from Brandon Hall Group’s soon-to-be-released 2014 Workforce Management Study. To manage capability risk, organizations need to be focused on near-term scheduling, mid-range planning for development of current staff, and long-range planning for the acquisition and/or development of the workforce of the future.

Workforce management tools and data are also where an organization can measure the impact of its strategies around developing array capabilities. While training initiatives may be owned by other parts the business, using time and attendance data in combination with business performance data, organizations can start to measure the impact of their focus on the development of critical skills and capabilities.

With data and tools in workforce management, HR leaders are positioned to help organizations ensure that they always have the right person, in the right place, and in front of the right customer today and into the future.

Mollie Lombardi, Vice President and Principal Analyst,
Workforce Management Practice, Brandon Hall Group

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Mollie Lombardi