A Dangerous Worker Shortage Is Coming
The authors of Impending Crisis write that most senior leaders are unprepared for the impending labor crisis they will be facing in the very near future. They cite Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers indicating that there will be a shortage of more than 10 million workers by 2010. Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, two strategic business futurists who specialize in workplace trends, have teamed up with Tom Olivo, a measurement specialist, to profess their beliefs in this impending workforce crisis, and offer solutions.
They write that this dangerous worker shortage is compounded by deep systems problems in the way companies operate today. Senior corporate executives, they explain, "are aiding and abetting corporate homicide by continuing to aggressively support systems and philosophies that inhibit the stability, the success, and the future of their organizations." To address the growing skills gap, the authors offer an explanation of critical workplace and workforce trends and what can be done about them. Along with offering ways for employers to evaluate their vulnerability to the impending labor crisis, they also provide viable plans to help leaders manage its impact on their organizations and help them avoid extinction.
Building Human Resource Strength
Impending Crisis begins with an examination of the roles an organization's top executives play in building its human resource strength. The authors believe that without a decisive change in the mindset of these corporate executives and boards of directors, employers will be vulnerable to the workforce crisis. They write, "Employers lulled into complacency by the demands of economic, stock market and competitive issues will soon face a crisis for which most are unprepared." To help employers discover where their organizations stand in their levels of awareness of the problem, the authors offer these four stages of understanding:
- Stage 1: "No Clue." About 25 percent of employers fit into this category. People are treated as a liability rather than an asset.
- Stage 2: "Awareness." About 50 percent of corporate leaders are aware that there may be some sort of labor shortage. These employers see the crisis as an HR issue and a recruiting problem.
- Stage 3: "Appreciation, Preliminary Understanding."About 20 percent of leaders are in this category. They are highly concerned about the labor shortage. These employers recognize the importance of people and are beginning to measure costs of turnover, quality levels and potential impacts on customer satisfaction and service.
- Stage 4: "Comprehensive Understanding, Internalization." These employers have quantified their human capital requirements and recognize talent. HR is often measured as a "profit center" and not an "expense."
The authors explain that employers must assess, plan and take action to move to Stage 4 or they will be at a disadvantage on many fronts. They also warn that if organizations do not make improvements in their HR programs over the next two years, they will be vulnerable to extinction. And for those business owners who see the challenge as insurmountable and are thinking about selling their businesses, the authors explain that a large portion of the mergers and acquisitions that have recently taken place were done to acquire talent, so a lack of sufficient staffing can endanger a potential sale of the business.
A Crisis in Health Care
After examining the dangers of high employee turnover and the importance of educating supervisors about employee retention, the staffing crisis is presented from the perspective of health-care employers, who are facing what the authors say will be the kind of crisis that most other employers will be facing in the next three to five years.
The last half of Impending Crisis is a guidebook of solutions for senior leaders and top executives, and offers ways they can counteract the workforce crisis. Some of these strategies include:
- Listen carefully to feedback, then act on it. Management of the crisis must be action-oriented.
- Know what to measure, how to measure it, and how often to measure progress. Know what to do with the measurement information you collect.
- Do not stop at succession planning. Invest in succession preparation, too.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
Impending Crisis is a call to arms that not only thoroughly describes a problem that is looming on the horizon, but it also offers numerous ways for organizations to tackle workforce issues before disruptive problems come crashing down on them. Its focus on measurements and action makes it a useful tool in developing a strategic workforce plan that will help organizations face these human resources issues head on before the crisis they predict kicks into high gear.