Determining Future Work Requirements

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Forecasting or planning for future work requirements is a fourth important

component of any effective SP&M program. After all, it is no more likely that

work requirements will remain static than it is that the organization itself will

remain static. Organizational needs change, and so do work requirements. It

is therefore important to engage stakeholders and decision-makers in planning

for the expected changes that may occur in the organization and in its

work requirements. That is essential if individuals are to be prepared to meet

those requirements in the future. Few organizations regularly and systematically

forecast future work or competency requirements. However, the need to

do that is growing. It is simply not possible to prepare people if future work

requirements remain unknown.

Online and high-tech approaches have, however, provided new approaches

to job forecasting, scenario planning, and future-oriented competency

modeling. Job forecasting estimates future job requirements. It may

address such questions as these:

What will be the future purpose of the job? How will that be different

from the job’s present purpose?

What are the expected work duties or responsibilities of the job in the

future, and how are they expected to change?

What knowledge, skills, or attitudes are needed by individuals in the

future to qualify for those jobs?

How important will be the various duties or responsibilities of those

jobs, and which ones will be considered most critical to success in the

future?

Answering such questions is the process of job forecasting.

Scenario planning identifies possible alternative futures. Instead of assuming

that jobs or work will change in one way, as job forecasting does, scenario

planning offers probabilities. Scenarios resemble written stories about the future.

They help people plan by giving them clear descriptions of what the

future may look like, or different pictures of various futures. Groupware, described

in an earlier section, can be useful as an online approach to conducting

job scenario planning. It is thus possible to prepare different versions of

job descriptions for the future and then use those to stimulate planning among

job incumbents and their immediate organizational supervisors.

Another way to carry out scenario planning is to rely on software or Web

sites that make it relatively easier than it might otherwise be. One resource for

conducting scenario planning is the Web site of the Global Business Network

(found at the time this book goes to press at www.gbn.org/public/help/

map.htm). This Web site offers member services for conducting scenario planning.

While the key emphasis in most scenario planning is business planning

and financial analysis, it is possible to find help in doing job scenario planning.

Future-oriented competency modeling projects the future competencies

required by departments or job groups. Its focus, unlike traditional competency

modeling, is on what will set exemplary performers apart from fully

successful performers in the future. It is therefore future-oriented and is sometimes

based on trends.

Many resources exist to help SP&M coordinators conduct future-oriented

competency modeling. For instance, you can find a list of competencies

needed in businesses in the future by consulting http://cithr.cit.cornell.edu/

FutComp.html, or a compelling article about organizational core competencies

of the future at www.bah.de/viewpoints/insights/cmt_core_comp.html.

You can also purchase software for competency modeling, such as The Competence

Expert (described at the time this book goes to press at www.kravetz

.com/compexpert.html) or the Competency Coach for Windows (described at

www.coopercomm.com/ccchfact.htm) One other source is Kenneth Carlton

Cooper’s Effective Competency Modeling & Reporting (AMACOM, 2000),

which includes a working model on CD-ROM of Competency Coach for Windows.

Using Technology to Support Succession Planning and Management Programs 287