Government and commercial leaders routinely plan for five or ten years out – sometimes even more. They’re making decisions about what markets to pursue – and which to pull back from. What products or solutions to develop. Which target partners to engage with. And, to make it all happen, how many employees they will need – and where.

Yet many still make workforce allocation decisions haphazardly – without a clear view of the skills required to thrive in the coming years. But you can have a different experience. By collecting and tracking competencies, then mapping them to projected needs, you can better manage for the future. Let’s take a look at six ways to optimize workforce allocation with competencies. 

  • Start with Competency Tracking

    Before looking ahead, you’ll want to know what’s happening now. Start by assessing and tracking the competencies of your current employees. By analyzing the results, you’ll know the strengths and skill gaps in your workforce.

    Use this “point in time” view to guide your near-term learning and development programs. Focus on employee performance and productivity. But don’t stop there! 
  • Align Development and Recruitment Efforts

    As you start to look out three to five years or more, you’ll identify a need for skills that may not exist – or aren’t strong enough – within your workforce today. Align your learning and development programs to boost the skills of today’s employees for tomorrow’s needs. 

    Not all expertise can come from within. Supplement your L&D efforts by hiring professionals with well-honed target skills, to spark change. Use a competency-based recruitment approach to attract the talent you’ll need. 
  • Management Rotations

    A robust succession plan is multi-level, looking two or even three levels below each critical senior leadership role. Often, junior managers will be put into rotations, taking on leadership roles in different departments, divisions, and geographies to build strong future leaders. 

    Use competency tracking and mapping to align your rising leaders with future management rotation cycles. You’ll want the right people to gain the experience and master the skills they’ll need to be great leaders in the fast-changing, digitally connected, multicultural workplace of the future. 
  • Keep in Step with Product and Service Development

    Be sure to align your recruitment and development efforts with your future products and services, not just those that exist today. Just this month, Airbus announced plans for flying taxis in Paris by 2024. Future “drivers” will need to master vertical take-off and landing vehicles, in time for the Summer Olympics that year. 

    To crew the USS Gabrielle Giffords —a littoral (allowing swift movement in the shallows) combat ship built on the concept of modularity and its ability to adapt with newer technology — the U.S. Navy turned away specialists in favor of only one-fifth the number of “hybrid sailors” who have the ability to acquire skills rapidly. For this ship, they abandoned a long-held reliance on deep expertise, in favor of sailors who could take on a variety of roles and adapt quickly. 
  • Remember Cultural Competencies

    “In today’s world, when you start up, you’re instantly global.” 

    So claims Dean Foster in this Knowledge@Wharton podcast interview. Foster is a consultant and lecturer at American University’s School of International Service and author of the four-book series, The Global Etiquette Guide.

    The point is, even a local business or government agency has customers, suppliers, or contractors who operate beyond the direct community and market you serve – often, internationally. Your employees will increasingly need to be culturally competent across state and international borders.

    If you have expatriates, map competencies against market compliance requirements, country-specific rules and regulations, and culturally appropriate competencies. It’s a complex mix, but necessary to ensure individual and organizational success during (and beyond) the assignment. 
  • Harness Competency Management Technology

    Tying competencies to current and future assignments allows management to “see” and manage for the future. But workforce allocation planning has a lot of moving parts. 

    To pull this off, look for a robust-yet-flexible competency management system that can handle the data and tracking you need today – as well as the eclectic algorithms you need to make the more complex, longer-term decisions. The right competency management system can help you make your organization’s future happen in an intentional and ultimately more successful way.

Avilar has helped many corporate and government organizations collect competency data, map against compliance requirements, define projected workforce needs, and support management with short- and long-term workforce allocation insights. 

If you’re interested in getting started with using competencies to optimize your workforce allocation, contact us to see how Avilar’s WebMentor Skills can help. 

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