The Challenge of Change

March 21

The TMP Worldwide Headquarters recently moved to an amazing new location on Broad Street in New York City. The new space offers a sweeping view of the New York Harbor including a view of Lady Liberty, a dazzling array of new and enticing restaurants, and a historical and vibrant new neighborhood. Despite the excitement of the change, the move generated mixed feelings for me. My routine was different, things weren't where they use to be, and reliable familiarity was gone. As a whole I welcome the change but, my initial reaction caused me to ponder the overall experience of change as it relates to our world of recruitment.

The pace of workforce staffing is changing. Accenture recently conducted an internationally based report; "The High Performance Workforce Study 2010".The report offers interesting information with a broad perspective regarding future workforce development.

Some highlights include:

  • Although 51% of respondents reported that they had decreased the size of their workforce during the economic downturn (28% stated they increased their workforce), 54% stated they intend to return staffing levels to pre-recession levels
  • 39% expect to increase their staffing base
  • 85% of respondents reported they had increased or maintained their current workforce planning initiatives during the past 12 months – only 11% had decreased efforts

Clearly workforce staffing is at a fork in the road. You can either maintain the status quo and try to meet the demands for increased staffing when the 25 new job requisitions land on your desk, or you can prepare now. I'm a firm believer in a modified "Plan, Do, Check, Act" model. In the case of workforce planning, it works well. Consider the following:


From a clinical and leadership perspective access growth area, evaluate turnover risks, analyze metrics including source of hire and time to fill. Understand mission critical staffing needs for the next 12 months to 5 years – do a rudimentary succession plan if a formal plan is not in place.


Do your homework. Assess best practice sourcing strategies. Implement new tactics even on a trial basis. Evaluate your relationship with educational institutions and reach out to renew relationships as needed. Understand the gaps in your recruitment processes as well as your staff and make adjustments now. Get a sense from your recruitment colleagues regarding what trends they are experiencing.


Check your plan with your customers: department heads, hiring managers and new hires – and if you are a manager: your recruiters. Talk to content experts including your recruitment advertising agency and different media outlets. As a frame of reference in this regard many of our clients are actively working on re–invigorating their branding initiatives, their Employee Referral Programs, and their websites and related collateral materials.


Pull the trigger on your plan. Implement as needed, evaluate it at least every six months and, most importantly, measure its effectiveness.

It is important to keep in mind that you can create the most dynamic and inventive "Plan, Do, Check, Act" roadmap and it will fail if you do not engage staff in the initial planning process. It is critical to understand how the recruitment team and your key constituents react to change. Do they have aversion to change and have difficulty adapting? Perhaps those most resilient to change can be helpful with others during the transitions. Or perhaps you are fortunate and work with individuals who facilitate and welcome change. Regardless of the temperament and reaction to change, understanding your roadblocks and challenges is imperative.

Whether you are changing your commute to work or your entire workforce planning strategy, it is essential that you communicate, collaborate, implement and always be ready to modify. As far as my change initiative – I am happy to report I am now biking to work – it's even better than before!

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