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Closing the Talent Gap

Ad hoc approaches will fall short when the workforce crisis strikes.

Fortnightly Magazine - August 2008

service providers, pipeline projects, and industry organizations. These sites might consider implementing retention programs that offer bonuses or accelerated career progression to outstanding employees who commit to stay for a period of time. Organizations facing significant retirement threats might institute part-time employee programs and strengthen knowledge management and retention efforts.

Beyond guiding talent-sourcing efforts and formal workforce management initiatives, gap analyses will help in other workforce efforts such as guiding deeper workforce analyses and workforce satisfaction surveys.

The analysis, of course, must be in tune with the constant change an organization faces, so changing circumstances will modify the assumptions of the analysis. Every year, as the analysis is updated to reflect the latest demographic trends and assumptions, the workforce initiatives in place will be calibrated accordingly. The progress of these initiatives should be assessed on a regular basis as well, to determine their efficacy in mitigating talent shortages.

There is no single answer to the question of how to address talent shortages. Each company will tailor its strategy to its unique business circumstances and operating environment. The most successful employers will develop a creative mix of tactics for addressing five key areas of the workforce management process: defining workforce needs, attracting the right employees, helping people manage their careers, engaging the right workers so they stay with the company, and transferring and managing critical knowledge. Tactics must not only aim to fulfill workforce needs, but also do so in a way that promotes workforce diversity.

Talent shortfalls facing utilities in the near future cannot be addressed satisfactorily with the ad hoc , reactive approaches that have prevailed in the past. Active workforce management processes will allow utilities to identify critical risk areas before they impact business operations, and to craft customized solutions. A structured, data-driven approach to projecting staffing needs on an ongoing basis, combined with active risk management, will help utilities to optimize staffing decisions and emerge with a stronger, more balanced workforce.

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