Redeploy for Productivity

Many large companies shut down divisions and lay off workers while at the same time starting new business ventures. This firing-and-hiring trend seems to prevail regardless of the state of the economy. There is a perception among some that companies do not have the time for internal redeployment, so organizations turn to the external job market to fill the positions. However, the notion that external hiring is the most expeditious misses the fact that new external hires take longer to train and become productive. In reality, corporations must be nimble in assigning and reassigning talent to meet rapid product development cycles, accomplish project-based work, and otherwise respond to rapidly changing business environments. Redeploy Talent Companies in the midst of reorganization would do well to consider retaining top talent by redeploying them within the company. Corporations have long been motivated to identify and accommodate top performers to combat outside offers to key players. In periods of time when the company is both laying off in some divisions and hiring in others, internal redeployment avoids high staffing costs, the hidden costs of lowered morale, and a drain on organizational knowledge. The “Mellon Learning Curve Research Study” gives corporations compelling reasons to resist the urge to fire and hire. According to its findings, internal hires get up to speed at their new jobs one-and-one-half to two times faster than external hires for most job categories. Internal hires tend to reach a higher level of productivity more quickly, and have 50% fewer unproductive days during the ramp-up period. Though it may appear that pursuing a strategy weighted toward external hiring fulfills corporate goals fastest, the goal properly conceived is having a productive contributor, not a body on board. Recruiting speed alone isn’t enough ó it is productivity that counts. An internal candidate who is well matched to his or her position will contribute more, sooner. Internal Systems For certain, a company will not have the time to devote to internal redeployment if it does not have systems in place to know what skills and aspirations exist in its employee base prior to the need to hire. Without the right systems in place, this information can be time-consuming to gather and mine. An employee skills inventory database maintains profiles of employees, their skills, and abilities, for use in matching to internal opportunities. Self-service web-based staffing management solutions empower employees to create and update personal profiles and apply for career opportunities. Having a skills inventory database allows an organization to allocate resources optimally, redeploying employees as needed. Matching a skills database with a database of employee profiles enables strategic workforce planning, aligning existing talent assets to present and future requirements. As detailed in the iLogos report Internal Mobility, two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents consider an employee skills database to be important to the success of an initiative to redeploy internally. With a skills inventory database based on a robust technology platform, organizations can benefit from being able to mine a transparent internal labor pool and profit from a clear understanding of the human capital it controls. Just-In-Time Staffing The pace of today’s business cycle calls for just-in-time staffing. However, a staffing strategy that is driven purely by speed may mistake an intermediate milestone, the body on board, with the ultimate goal: a productive contributor. The desire to save time by hiring externally must be balanced by the longer time it takes for external hires to become productive. When companies are in a situation of having to let go of some employees while at the same time rapidly filling new positions, all talent sources should be an option: contingent hires, internal redeployment, or permanent external hires. The sourcing decision should be made on the basis of an accurate assessment of the skills needed and of the talent available that will become productive in the least amount of time. A decision made because of a perception of a lack of time may end up costing the company money in lost revenue due to delayed productivity.

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Alice Snell is vice president of Taleo Research. The specialty research practice analyzes the best practices and economics of talent management. Taleo Research focuses on critical issues and key trends in talent management that impact organizational performance. Taleo Research is the strategic research division of Taleo, which provides on demand talent management solutions for organizations of all sizes, worldwide.

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