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How to assess your current workforce

This article is part of
Guide to succession planning

How to assess your current workforce

When it comes to assessing your workforce, client satisfaction should be your starting point, according to David Murphy, managing director of Talent Acumen.

He claims this qualifiable measurement is sometimes a better guide that more ‘quantifiable’ variables, and it can help with moving the business forward, beyond simple succession planning.

He says: “If you can find ways to gain feedback from clients on the service they are being provided with this is a great way to score staff’s impact and uncover areas that need to be improved upon. It is direct from the horse’s mouth.”

Productivity and efficiency is also key from a management perspective, adds Mr Murphy, but it needs to be  addressed and made easy to report on. 

He recommends the use of internal key performance indicators (KPIs) to allow direct monitoring regularly in relation to levels of output as well as detailed quarterly and annual reviews carried out as part of a pre-agreed development plan.

“Progression is key,” adds Mr Murphy. “Ensuring staff develop is not only important for their own growth and moral but also important for your business to evolve.”

“Building up skills and competence also builds up confidence and more independence among your team. Setting challenging targets for them to work towards is really important to show a long-term commitment from both employer and employee and this kind of approach helps build a strong long-term relationship.”

Lisa Winnard, HR and business services director at Sesame Bankhall Group, agrees that continual assessment of the workforce is key to a smooth succession experience, priming the business for a successful sale.

She says: “We favour people assessment through a performance evaluation programme, which assesses performance against set objectives and a competency framework. This involves reviewing not just what is delivered, but also reviewing skills, knowledge and behaviours.

“This provides data to feed into a learning needs analysis to identify where you need to invest your time and money into developing capabilities to deliver your business objectives. “

Continual assessment of your workforce is critical in helping you to establish the key capabilities, drivers and development areas of your staff. However, you still need to invest the time, management skill and effort in order to embed a performance assessment process that really works for your business.

Tim Scott, a partner for Knights Professional Services, says that owner-managed businesses need to be particularly careful when assessing their workforce.

“Vendors need to demonstrate the business won’t fall apart without the managing director which will ultimately allow vendors to maximise proceeds on day one.”

“Too many owner managers decide to take higher than market rate salaries and run expensive cars; it’s important to illustrate what actual earnings are and how much profit would there be in a different buyer’s hands.