At an alarming rate companies are faced with the need to retain the knowledge of their processes and at the same time enhance and protect the skills of their employees. This takes time and is not done without a concerted effort and strategy to accomplish it.
A recent Forrester article addressed the need for State & Local Government, as well as Commercial companies to implement Business Process Management (BPM). They discovered that most of their clients face the daunting challenge of trying to address the lack of understanding of current processes, as well as not having their processes defined and/or integrated. It is also noteworthy to consider that understanding and defining processes is critical for knowledge transfer. Forrester deemed knowledge transfer as critical for business continuity.
In a past survey, the Bureau of Labor & Statistics (BLS) estimated that by 2010 24 million workers will need to be replaced due to death or retirement. In the most current preliminary data, the BLS indicated the following:
- Latest Job Openings Level: 3,990,000 in Dec 2013
- Latest Job Openings Rate: 2.8% in Dec 2013
- Latest Hires Rate: 3.2% in Dec 2013
- Latest Turnover Rate: 3.2% in Dec 2013
- Latest Quits Rate: 1.7% in Dec 2013
- Latest Layoffs/Discharges Rate: 1.2% in Dec 2013
Refer to http://www.bls.gov/jlt/
These percentages represent millions and millions of workers, putting added strain on employers who need skilled employees to meet the demands for their products and services. Additionally, some organizations could lose up to 50% of their executives in the next two to three years, providing additional justification for the immediate need to hedge against attrition.
As this generation leaves the workplace, the consequences of their exit and the steps necessary to ensure a smooth transition should be carefully examined. Younger workers are entering the workforce, but in many cases they do not possess the same skills as the workers they replace. The shortage of skilled workers is already placing new pressures on businesses. Companies can take measured steps now to offset against the shortage of skilled workers.
By adopting a Business Process Management (BPM) approach now you can avoid one of the most common mistakes in succession planning, which is waiting until it’s too late and failing to be forward-looking. Admittedly this takes valuable time; however, many specialists agree succession planning is vital to an organization’s continued success.
It is imperative to identify “critical talent.” First, define the skills that are critical to the organization’s business strategy. Next, identify the people within the organization who possess these skills. While companies have been devoting a significant amount of time to succession planning for top management, importance should also be placed on transferring essential know-how and skills to mid-level and younger workers. These individuals should be considered the “critical talent.” They possess highly developed, specialized skills and know how to get things done within the organization.
Many companies are looking overseas to avert the labor shortage, but the competition for overseas labor will be fierce. The United States is not the only country with an aging workforce. Europe and Asia also face a shortage of skilled workers as their own baby boomers retire.
Knowledge management has become a crucial new task for not only HR, but IT as well. In most leadership transitions, one of the greatest difficulties is the loss of critical, often unspoken knowledge. As such, the company can incur both the direct and indirect costs in reinventing the wheel.
The process of going about a transfer of knowledge is far easier said than done. Many traditional training programs fail to capture information, which many senior employees have, perhaps without even realizing its importance. While technology can support the process of diffusing knowledge throughout an organization, technology alone is insufficient.
It is important to take the first step in the transfer of knowledge – protect your investments in people, processes and technology.
How do you do this? The following steps are suggested:
- Protect your process investments – begin by capturing and defining the current environment – Defining Current State
- Increase operational efficiencies – institute a program for change that optimizes your current processes – Instituting Change
- Mitigate the risk of attrition – consider automating the people intensive processes that can be automated – Driving Automation
- Implement a comprehensive program – utilize a proven methodology that considers several critical factors– Implementing BPM
Defining Current State
Document “As-Is” business processes utilizing a BPM methodology and planned approach. This starts by creating models of your organization, processes and workflows.
Develop a roadmap for change that ensures the business processes are optimized. A workflow driven methodology should be used that includes framing the processes, understanding and analyzing the current state, designing an efficient future state and developing extensive business process models.
Examine all areas of the business to find key candidates for process automation. This requires in depth probing and analysis to find areas where duplication and inefficiencies exists. Use process automation methods and tools such as simulation, statistical process analysis, value stream mapping, etc. to arrive at remedies.
Define a comprehensive approach to assist stakeholders to understand the value BPM. For example, we use the proven concepts of Business Value Alignment (BVA™) to develop a strategy, provide training, institute the appropriate metrics, and create templates. What do you use?
Ask KEDARit about our BPM solutions that significantly improve business processes. We are a premier provider of process automation solutions that enable clients to protect their process investments, increase operational efficiencies and mitigate the risks of attrition.