America’s and Chicago’s workforce continues to struggle but the new year brings some good news. First employee engagement is surprisingly high, at 81% especially compared to 10 years ago when the engagement rate was 77% according to the Society of Human Resource Management.Chicago Tribune reports that due to increases in the US services section in December 2012, 2013 may be a better year. And the Global Economic Intersection has predicted that 2013 will be a “muddle-through” year for the US with the last quarter of the year showing promise. Chicago organizations, however, have their part to play to make this new year a good one.
Here are some workforce strategy tips to prepare for a better 2013:
- Healthcare. First of all, all US firms have to prepare for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Society of Human Resource Management has several webcasts on this but you can also contact your benefit broker or attorney to discuss the pros and cons of benefit coverage under the new act.
- Workflow. This year may be a good year to analyze your workflow in relation to your deployment of personnel. Investing in process reengineering can have several benefits. It can improve the quality of the services and products you offer while reducing costs. Employees deployed correctly are more satisfied. Although some employees may be displaced, the effect is a more efficient and engaged workforce. Chances are, if the reengineering is done right, the displaced workers have been dissatisfied for years already and are ready to go.
- Using temporary arrangements. Agility is important for organizations today especially in today’s economic environment. The use of temporary staff and contractors may be useful in the overall human resources strategy. There will be segments of the workflow of the organization that ebb and flow and the use of contractors and temporary employees can be helpful in these situations. In fact, larger organizations can organize their own internal temporary staff, perhaps utilizing those they displaced already.
- Total Rewards. With a streamlined staff, an organization then can determine the best way to reward their employees and create even higher engagement and loyalties. As the organization becomes more efficient, it can reserve cost savings to reinvest in its employees. Incentive plans should be targeted to the “personality” of each department. For example, research and development may see a better reward for their performance in time and resources to work on their own ideas and projects. A grant system could be set up to reward these individuals, maybe creating the next post-it note. For some, it can be time off and others bonuses tied to the successful completion of a project. The key is that the reward be customized to what that segment of the organization values most.
This year will definitely be a better year but how the year turns out is dependent on the strategies an organization develops to make the most of its opportunities.