Theoretical Physicist – Stephen Hawking once said, “Something happened in mankind which unleashed the power of our imagination.” This imagination is certainly true in our digital transformation journey. Look at the startup BeReal. Two French entrepreneurs found the social media site in 2020. Once a day, you will get notified to upload your photos, and you have two minutes to do it. BeReal does not permit any filters, and you have to upload the photos as it is. This seemingly simple idea has gained momentum, and Andreessen Horowitz and Accel Partners have funded this. It is a case of the Digital Universe rapidly expanding. Such expansion demands more and more digital talent.
When Henry Ford first designed the assembly line, he was questioned about the uniqueness of his design. People wanted to know what was unique about it. Henry Ford famously remarked that the use of the moving assembly line allowed for the work to be taken to workers rather than the worker moving to and around the vehicle. This seemingly simple concept changed the world. In my early days at General Motors, I was involved in a project to redesign the vehicle paint plant. We noticed that the technicians were moving around the car, creating lost productivity. We changed the design so that the vehicle moves and the worker is stationary. A simple design change resulted in productivity improvement. Henry Ford also realized that this change meant workers had to be versatile and conducted many scientific studies on skilling and labor tasks.
Such assembly line and supply chain concepts are beneficial in Workforce Planning and Recruitment. If we imagine skilled workers as inventory required, the macro trends show the need to create more skills within the company (at least as one of the action items). We recently studied the growth of knowledge workers across the various regions. While APAC and LatAm are expected to grow compared to other regions, the imagination of digital opportunities is fueling rapid demand. In the BeReal case, we do not know which digital movement will demand workers. Many studies show that globally we will be short of about 90 million professionals by 2030. (Our models show that we will be reaching this shortage in number much quicker).
Applying the assembly line and supply chain concepts, we conducted a brainstorming session to build a model to help in Recruitment. Our research showed the early day pioneers developed the following best practices to excel in the supply chain:
- Inventory required (in our case, skills) should be mapped to different channels (local, global)
- Direct Channels for inventory should be mapped with indirect or alternate sources
- In case the suitable inventory materials are not directly available, establish an intermediate processing plant to transform materials to meet the requirements
- Keep adapting to customer needs, so be very agile about sourcing the proper inventory
These principles are very much valuable for Recruitment and Workforce Planning. Let us imagine a scenario where we need to scale in a place like Atlanta from about 100 resources to 1000 resources. Supply Chain principles will require us to map granularly the channels and the target we need to set towards those channels. Here is a snapshot of the model we put together
Through this model, we can map out what should be our targets across the channels of career fairs, direct campus, Reskilling, Internal hiring, Peer Hiring, Referral, Digital marketing, Hackathons, and Remote Hiring.
If these are the goals, you can back into the goals and set targets. Using a base case, worst case, and best case, one can build a Probabilistic model
A probabilistic model can help you set realistic targets across each channel. If the external target hire is around 131 resources, we can assess system variability and fix the boundary values based on a Buffered approach. If you want to add 131 resources in a year, plan to add them in 8 months instead of 12 months. In Scheduling theory, the remaining four months are not taken away from the project, simply kept as a buffer to use only when we do not meet the goals. Such excellence in scheduling and supply chain concepts can rapidly transform your Recruitment Machine. Workforce planners should ideally work closely with Recruitment to make this Command Center approach. The command center should simply monitor the available Buffer across various channels and design a plan of action as per the status. Complete integration of supply chain principles with Recruitment. You can gauge the true throughput of the system.
Another aspect of using supply chain theory is to map alternate peers. Here is an example of the same.