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Advantages of implementing WMI by IBM enabled many new instruments for optimization of business, as “dual-hatting”, for instance. According to IBM report, Professional Marketplace and Workforce Dashboard tools improved IBM managers’ efficiency by 80 % at the end of 2007. WMI has saved more than $276 million of company’s money. Despite of such outcome, MacDonald was not certain about the success of the project, since the restructuring was too radical. He tried to get his opportunity to be in the same pace with innovation and to lead, asking his HR team to bring a difference to the organization, protecting the human assets and ignoring jargon like “business partner”.
In general. every problem stated by the enterprise before the starting point founds its solution.
Table 1. Why the Workforce Management Initiative was put in the place
No design for end-to-end resource supply chain.
No central accountability for workforce management.
No standard for defining the workforce.
Labor pools managed independently by business units.
Limited forecasting of anticipated resource demand
Difficulty in linking training investments with market needs
No unified sourcing strategy.
Management systems that did not encourage cross-unit collaboration
Common supply-chain design based on best practices
Central oversight of measurements and investments
Workforce is consistently cataloged across business units
Labor supply pools are optimized at the country level
Resource forecasts use one common language
Training investments driven by forecasted shortages
Optimal use of resources
Alternative work models and labor mix
This approach supports HR theories that line mangers are accountable for talents. However, instead of “notifying people on their weaknesses and giving them time to do something about it” the approach should be on focusing on products the company offers to potential applicant – the jobs. Does it have enough autonomy allowing space to maneuver and to make decisions without seeking constant approval from above? Does it have a clear link between daily activities and business result? Dick Vague’s rule of thumps was: “I aspire to create an enterprise where everyone’s job consists of at least 80 % of things they love doing” (Elizabeth G. Chambers at al, 1998). People should be viewed and managed as a “portfolio of assets”. (Shepherd O. Shonhiwa, Harold L. Gilmore, 1996)
IBM’s Expertise Assessment program allowed more than 95 % of its professionals to classify and document their skills. The WMI identified 490 job roles and internal analysis defined job roles each employee had (usually one or two, rarely – three), what were the core activities of each role, what functional expertise and skills were required. Over 4,000 skill sets were defined, measured and monitored by IBM HR team. At the end of the year, self-assessment was completed by each employee and reviewed by direct supervisor, to discuss the level of competency achieved in each skill set.
MacDonald’s plan was to provide each manager with a checklist of skills needed for the job and measuring how well employee performed in each skill set. The rating from zero to three was developed for each skill measurement. After assessment managers verified what skills sets were obsolete for each employee and what job would be suitable and available for him or her. Training support was provided. The whole project had an “early warning approach” and MacDonald’s plan was to use the approach as a morale buster for notifying people and giving them enough time to do something about it. This approach allowed MacDonald to easily trace who at IBM had the skills required for an open position and fulfill it quickly. However, this meant less security for employees, since they weren’t aware what they job going to be and where it will be in the future.
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