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Author's profile photo Stefan Guertzgen

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 7: Total Workforce Management

Our series, Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry discusses the issues that industry organizations are most concerned about going forward in 2015. Based on extensive research performed by the Eventful Group, these key issues come directly from players in the industry ranging from small blossoming organizations to the household name manufacturing giants.

In this issue we will discuss the importance of managing your talent and workforce in alignment with your strategic direction. If you missed or would like to revisit the previous entries in our series, please follow the links below.

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 1: Evolution through Digital Transformation

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 2: Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 3: Business Process Standardization, Automation & Optimization.

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 4: Leveraging Data to Make Informed Decisions

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 5: Increasing the Speed & Accuracy of Decision Making – Analytics & Reporting

Strategic Imperatives for the Chemical Industry – Part 6: Innovative Technologies

Attracting and retaining talented, qualified employees is the first critical investment chemical organizations make when maintaining and optimizing their workforce. However, the industry has seen the operational focus on HR broaden into a much more holistic and strategic approach to total workforce management. Fueled by innovations in technology and systems as well as a growing role of functional and business leaders in ensuring their workforce needs are met – total workforce management encompasses the end-to-end management of knowledge and people. Total workforce management begins with hiring the right employees, empowering them through initial and on-going training, identifying and leveraging their skills and talents and finally ensuring effective knowledge retention and transfer within the organization.

Training & Education

Effective training is fueled by efficient and clear communication. The workforce better comprehends and utilizes their training when they understand the business processes behind them, the importance of adherence to their training, and when possible, the reason for those processes and their importance.

  • What are the mechanisms and strategies to consider when determining budget for initial and ongoing training?
  • How are mentor-ship and apprentice programs established, tracked and leveraged?
  • What are the best mechanisms to reduce missing skills and expertise?
  • What are the best practices for establishing user communities, super-user networks and subject matter expert programs?
  • What are the cornerstones of the most effective training programs? What are the best practices for ensuring that users have proper basic training? What are the best ways to track this training and supplement it with more advanced functional training?
  • How do companies manage the responsibility of training? Does training responsibility belong to the IT organization or live within the functional groups? How does basic training, differ from go-live training and ongoing training? When and how does the handover occur?
  • It is not just about training―it is also about certification, testing and tracking. How are companies conducting ongoing assessment and how are they applying processes to focus on employees who are not likely to achieve certification or pass testing”

Talent Development & Succession Planning

  • How do organizations attract and retain talent in a competitive industry? How are outside resources and recruiters leveraged to supplement talent procurement?
  • How are organizations meeting the “demands” of the millennial workforce to ensue long term retention?
  • What are the best on-boarding practices to ensure maximum employee retention?
  • What are the best practices for tracking workforce talent and ensuring a well communicated plan for advanced training and promotion?

Knowledge Management & Transfer

  • Veteran employees are considered mentors within the organization – how do companies accelerate the growth of the employees’ knowledge from learning their role/function, to accurately applying those learnings, to becoming mentors to new hires?
  • Mitigating the brain drain – How do companies capture, map and communicate critical knowledge held by the veteran workforce? What are the best ways to mitigate knowledge loss throughout the organization, and what are the best mechanisms for qualifying and transferring knowledge?
  • How is knowledge transferred from the project phase and go-live to the business-as-usual or post go-live?
  • The importance of sharing knowledge and best practices when taking new products to market or operating in a new market
  • How can companies eliminate the “sharing information is optional” mentality?

Change Management & Communication

Effective change management is critical to the success of any project, initiative or modified business process. Successful change management is founded upon effective communication–getting the right message for the right audience focused on the right outcome. When the return on time and investment is clearly communicated alongside strong top-down support, initiatives prove to be more successful and set the stage for openness to future change.

  • How can companies reduce the fatigue of continually changing business processes?
  • What are the best practices to accommodate the ongoing need to additional applications?
  • What are the best practices from a technology and process perspectives to eliminate the “why do we have to change” and the “we never used to do it like this” mentalities?
  • How can outside resources be best leveraged to facilitate change management?

Managing Human Capital

  • What are the most effective processes and technologies to manage the workforce?
  • What are the best analytical tools to assess and conduct workforce planning?
  • How do organizations most effectively track and leverage the skills of specific sets of employees? How do these strategies this differ from tradespersons, to skilled labor to professional labor and management?
  • What are the best Vendor Management Systems? Organizations are seeking use cases on success in utilizing solutions and applications to better procure and manage their contingent workforce

Are you also facing those issues above? To get answers to these, and other top industry questions, be sure to participate in our SAP Best Practices for Chemicals Conference on March 14-16, 2016 at the Woodlands Waterway, Texas.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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