When you work in HR or lead a department, you’re tasked with ensuring that your entire organization or department runs smoothly and efficiently. That’s a huge goal, and it’s clear that you need to break it down into more manageable pieces if you’re going to be effective. Assessing your current workforce is critical – how do you know what needs to be changed if you don’t know what you have and how it’s working?
The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that you can’t observe or measure anything without affecting or changing the thing your observing or measuring. So if you sit yourself in the corner of someone’s office to watch them work, you’re obviously going to get some skewed results. But there are ways to assess your current workforce and get a fairly accurate picture of what’s really going on – if you’re careful.
An all-too-typical scenario, unfortunately, is a top-down directive to eliminate waste. The mandate goes out – each department is required to cut a certain amount, whether by slashing expenses or eliminating employees – or something else entirely. Decisions are made based on columns in an Excel spreadsheet or a manager’s preferences – not necessarily on what’s best for the organization.
A better approach? Get out and talk to your people – all your people. Ask the guys on the factory floor if they have ideas about how to improve efficiency. Gather the low level managers and ask them what they need training on. Talk to the guys in suits and suites, too, but don’t only talk to them. Your front desk receptionist knows a lot about who takes long lunches and leaves early. The janitor knows who stays late – and what they’re working on.
You can create online assessments that prompt your people to share the areas they see that are ripe for improvement – and you’ll get answers to the questions the suits would never think to ask.
What are your tips for getting the information you need to make the right decisions for your organization?
Photo by timlewisnm.