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Afraid of Attrition? Improve Your Talent Management and Organizational Maturity

Executive Resource
Learn how Weaver's downloadable tool can help you assess the maturity of your organization’s workforce planning.
July 25, 2022

Is your organization searching for the “least objectionable” job candidates? Are you looking for a mediocre manager? Or an adequate division chief?

Probably not. But without thoughtful workforce planning, your organization might hire that very person, and repeat that mistake over and over. The nationwide labor crunch is not necessarily to blame. Mis-hires are a symptom of an immature personnel function, particularly around talent acquisition, leadership development and succession planning.

You can break this cycle and start hiring candidates that drive the organization forward. Start by discerning how mature you are as an organization in workforce planning.

What Creates Organizational Maturity?

Age and maturity are not a package deal. Established organizations can exhibit immature business functions, especially if those functions seem secondary to the core business.

Maturity is derived from process sophistication: how clear, consistent, and aligned processes are to strategic outcomes. There is no single measuring stick for functional maturity, but we can borrow tools from other industries.

IT, for example, uses maturity modeling to evaluate software development and IT management. At the bottom of IT maturity models, software and support are reactive. Products or processes address a single use case, and the outcomes are unpredictable. Over time, consistency and efficiency increase. After many iterations of trial and testing, the company produces something that works reliably, adds distinct value and plays well with others.

The same method can be applied to people management.

Is Immaturity a Problem?

Imagine a mid-market organization known for its courageous and collaborative leadership team. But when an executive departs, it is unclear how or to whom the torch is passed. With 2,000+ employees, surely top-notch candidates are in the wings. But a lack of process maturity in workforce planning is keeping them hidden.

Such growing pains are normal, especially if business lines or divisions expand at different rates. But immature workforce planning inhibits growth and introduces risk. Organizations need a more strategic approach to succession planning; one that accounts for current needs, mitigates potential weaknesses, and supports long term ambitions.

How Do You Measure Maturity?

Weaver applies maturity modelling to move an organization toward aspirational goals: assessing the current state of workforce planning and working together to identify the needed actions to meet strategic goals and objectives. Our custom model assesses five critical components of workforce planning, informed by specific attributes across a maturity continuum, from ad hoc to strategic:

  1. Talent Identification and Acquisition: Does the organization identify, recruit, and hire the people it needs to be successful?
    • Ad Hoc: little consideration for identifying talent needs and succession planning
    • Managed: HR manages workforce and succession plans, identifies talent needs
    • Systemic: collaborative talent identification and recruitment strategies, performance metrics on recruitment/hiring
    • Strategic: workforce and succession planning aligned with business objectives, transparent and cross-divisional identification of high potential employees
  2. Advancement and Retention: Do your people have opportunities for advancement and do your high performers stay with the organization?
    • Ad Hoc: compliance-based with promotion and advancement decisions on a case-by-case basis
    • Managed: annual review/adjustments of job classification, descriptions and compensation, retention/turnover metrics, DEI program
    • Systemic: executive led workforce planning strategy, performance/compensation bonus pool, annual critical position succession plans
    • Strategic: executive led strategy for retaining high-potentials, multi-level succession planning, predictive compensation/labor market analysis
  3. Knowledge and Skills Development: Are your people getting better at their jobs and acquiring new skills?
    • Ad Hoc: compliance-based professional development
    • Managed: professional development aligned to responsibilities, designed to improve skills, support promotion and advancement, including leadership competencies
    • Systemic: executive engagement in professional development planning, aligned to skills objectives and high potential employee needs
    • Strategic: professional development aligned to strategic business objectives, succession planning needs, and performance evaluation
  4. Performance Evaluation: Do you have an accurate read on how each person contributes to your success?
    • Ad Hoc: evaluation not performed at regular intervals
    • Managed: annual evaluation, identifies individual goals and opportunities and informs compensation and advancement decisions
    • Systemic: evaluation aligned to departmental goals, includes 360 or peer component, and interim assessments
    • Strategic: evaluation identifies future strategic needs in the context of individual performance, includes multiple feedback layers, and benchmarking discussions throughout the year
  5. Leadership Cultivation: Do you identify and nurture your people that have the potential to take on greater responsibilities?
    • Ad Hoc: no intentional assessment of high potential employees
    • Managed: leadership potential assessed through multiple channels, established mentorship program
    • Systemic: specific leadership competencies defined and integrated with performance evaluation and professional development, intentional identification of leadership potentials across the organization, emerging leader program
    • Strategic: executives actively engaged in leadership identification and nurture, personal development plans for potential leaders, transition report for new managers/leaders

The framework enables an organization to identify the current level of maturity across each of the five components. Assessing the current state of maturity of workforce planning leads to a discussion of “aspirational maturity” – where does the organization want to be on the maturity scale? And according to what timeline? Consider each of the five components and the expectation as you progress through the maturity model.

These components influence the entire HR management lifecycle, from pre-employment to onboarding, training and development. If these five components were optimized and aligned, an organization would have a framework to hire and retain the right people, with the right skills, at the right time and place – for any vacancy.

Download Weaver’s workforce planning maturity tool to guide the assessment of your own organization.

How Mature Do You Need to Be?

Not all organizations will desire to reach strategic maturity across all components. All organizations have differing priorities and resource constraints. Within an organization, not every department or function matures at the same rate. Manufacturing may be a well-oiled machine, while procurement suffers from growing pains.

Likewise, some parts of workforce planning advance ahead of others. For example, perhaps talent identification is systemic, while other components are ad hoc or managed. Therein lies the importance of determining aspirational goals. What level of maturity does an organization desire across the five components of workforce planning?

Rather than race toward a maturity finish line, try to sync up your maturity and strategic ambitions. Maybe being “immature” is part of a scrappy, startup culture. If immaturity is not holding a function back, then it may not need to be addressed.

Find your maturity goal by answering simple questions, like “What do we want to accomplish?” Make sure you understand the organization’s goals and objectives. You need to know where you are going to determine whether you are on the right track.

How to Gain Maturity

According to the Department of Labor, there are more jobs open than available workers right now. That’s a scary situation for hiring managers – and one of the reasons companies are pouring resources into hiring and retention.

Workforce planning ensures such efforts aren’t too little, too late. To build maturity into your succession plans, investigate the current state.

Gap analyses uncover what is keeping staffing goals out of reach. Maybe an ad hoc approach is working now but would not allow you to scale.

A Path Toward Maturity

Next, organizations need a plan; concrete steps to increase workforce planning maturity across the entity. The workforce vision should be led by executives. The C-suite sets the strategic priorities for the organization, but they need people to bring it to life. As such, succession planning is a primary executive responsibility.

While the function matures, leaders need the freedom to make hard decisions; to recalibrate their efforts and say, “That’s not working. Let’s try something else.”

And who will hold them accountable? In many organizations, the HR department acts as a strategic partner. It can connect people resources to strategic needs, and ensure talent management plans are transparent and clearly communicated.

Maturity Breaks the Cycle

To break the hiring cycle, assess your organizational capacity and maturity for people management. Use Weaver’s downloadable, customizable workforce planning maturity tool to help walk you through this assessment. Be honest: how mature are you?

Immaturity could be costing you candidates at a time when there are not many to spare. Effective hiring and retention practices are critical in this labor market. A new approach to organizational challenges, like maturity modeling, can help organizations manage through the disruption and beyond.

To learn how Weaver’s audit and advisory skills can help you manage unique operational challenges, contact us today.



Download Weaver's Workforce Maturity Model Tool.