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Uncertainty Calls for Resource Optimization - Not Elimination

Uncertainty and complexity are understatements in terms of what lies ahead in 2017. Issues such as healthcare, immigration, trade, deregulation, jobs, taxes—all hang in the balance. While some countries will fare much better, salary increases in the U.S. will be about three percent despite a tightening labor market, which typically results in higher wages. But with economic growth all but stagnant at 2.8 percent, a strong dollar dampening export opportunities, and political unknowns, organizations want to hold tight to their budgets.

Regardless of the economic, political, and societal uncertainties we are facing, the need to create a workplace that is engaging enough to attract and retain talent is necessary to keep organizations moving forward. These efforts cost money. Yes, spending in 2017 might be tight, but spending will be a must.

The challenge is to make the right funding decisions and demonstrate that those decisions pay off. Resource optimization is the name of the game. Here are some tips to help HR optimize its resources to take advantage of 2017 opportunities:

Answer the Question, “Why?”

Before making an investment, get clear on why the organization needs to change. Forbes prognosticators indicate that we will see changes in performance management processes in 2017, with greater focus on wellness, and efforts to not only improve employee engagement, but to improve the overall employee experience in the workplace. But before investing in solutions, identify the specific business measures that need to improve that can improve by making these changes. Explore your data to make connections between talent needs and business opportunities. Determine if opportunities are worth pursuing by tying them to potential profit, cost savings, or cost avoidance.

Select Feasible Solutions

Take the time to assess multiple approaches to address organization needs. Critically assess solution feasibility and project the benefits of its implementation. Address technical, regulatory, legal, organizational, societal, and economic feasibility. Use scenario planning to explore implications of various implementation strategies for larger projects. Forecast the benefits of solutions and compare to the cost to determine the potential ROI for each solution.

Design for Results

Whether you build, buy, or borrow your solution, make it your own. Set objectives and targets for success that matter to your organization. Design its implementation to enhance the employee experience. Position it so that employees want to adopt the solution and that they know how to adopt it to get the most benefit for them as well as the organization. Create a system that will make it easy for employees to adapt the solution to their work.

Measure and Optimize Results

Measure the success of your solution implementation. Explore what worked, what didn’t, and the payoff for investing. Adopt blackbox thinking to optimize results. Replicate the successes; learn from mistakes. Apply lessons learned to the next iteration or a future solution. Nothing speaks louder than success and nothing offers greater opportunity than failure.

Uncertain times call for resource optimization, not elimination. Wise use of resources allows HR to take advantage of the opportunities and drive business value, keeping the organization moving forward.

Read more 2017 talent predictions by other thought leaders.