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How WCI Contributes to Key HR Tasks

(as defined by the APQC Process Classification Framework)

This review of 10 APQC PCF processes relating to human resources (HR) with Workforce Competitive Intelligence™ (WCI) in mind provides an incisive view of the application and impact WCI activities can have in the HR world.

What is the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) Process Classification Framework (PCF)?

The APQC in Houston, Texas, is an internationally recognized resource for process and performance improvement. The PCF was originally created in 1992 by APQC and a group of members to serve as a high-level, industry-neutral enterprise model that allows organizations to see their activities from a cross-industry process viewpoint.

Our thanks to APQC for encouraging the wide distribution, discussion and use of the PCF as an open standard for classifying and defining processes. Anyone wishing to view the entire PCF may find it at the APQC website.

The PCF is a large body of thought that is divided into two “mega” processes. The first one is “Operating” and the second is “Management and Support.”

Operating Processes (categories 1.0 to 5.0) include all things necessary to develop and deliver products and services to customers, ranging from vision and strategy to customer service. Traditional competitive intelligence is woven throughout this mega process.

For example, the very first process under category 1.0: “Develop Vision and Strategy” is 1.1: “Define the business concept and long-term vision.” The first step is 1.1.1: “Assess the external environment.” And the first step under that, “Analyze and understand the competition.”

Management and Support Processes (categories 6.0 to 12.0) include all the internal activities that make the Operating Processes possible. Not surprisingly, the first of these is category 6.0: “Develop and Manage Human Capital.” We have selected ten processes or activities in 6.0 in which WCI can contribute to your success in carrying out that particular task.

We hope you’ll find this as interesting as we did when we connected the dots between the APQC human capital management process and WCI. Identify organizational strategic HR needs

How WCI can help:

The role of HR has dramatically changed in recent years, perhaps more than any other business function. A slew of factors, including external changes in the industry and marketplace, have driven the need to align HR with the firm’s strategic objectives.

Organizational strategic HR needs are derived from a solid understanding of the company’s corporate-level and business-level strategies. Each of these strategies has HR implications, which together define the organizational strategic HR needs. But these HR implications must take into account the external environment, including competitive practices and labor market conditions.

This means that the HR function itself must actively monitor external factors to identify opportunities and threats that impact strategic HR needs.

WCI sets up a robust process that assumes this continuous monitoring role with focus and confidence. Develop workforce plan

How WCI can help:

Strategic workforce planning depends on answers to these types of questions:

  • What are the upcoming changes anticipated for the firm’s workforce?
  • How do the recruiting, hiring and orientation processes support the changes??
  • Are there changes required in existing skill sets of staff?
  • Can training of existing staff fill the voids or should additional talent be hired?
  • What other strategies need to be considered? Will there be a talent shortage? Is it a demographic issue? Why does Competitor X always seem to get the sales talent my firm seeks?

Our approach is to conduct a survey and detailed analysis of both your firm’s and your competitors’ general workforce plans to supplement your internal reports. As the workforce planning proceeds, additional intelligence topics will likely arise which RivalScape can assist with.

WCI provides a process for continually monitoring the labor market to ensure that your workforce planning and compensation and benefits levels will provide the needed staffing to implement the firm’s strategy effectively. Develop compensation plan

How WCI can help:

At the heart of an organization’s recruiting, hiring and retention processes is a compensation plan. The firm’s success in these areas is dependent on having a competitive compensation plan. Questions that an organization needs to have answers to include:

  • How do our pay rates compare to competitors based on internal worth and external market conditions?
  • Do our compensation policies align the organization internally and externally with the firm’s strategic objectives?
  • What are the trends in executive compensation, stock purchase, stock options and incentives, and bonus programs? How do our plans compare to our competitors?
  • What are the trends in job pricing and pay structures for all other job families? And how do they compare with our competitors?

WCI helps your firm by providing targeted intelligence about your competitors’ compensation plans, supplementing other surveys in a unique way, and validating your firm’s perceptions via primary and secondary research.

We draw this intelligence from new hires via a Competitor Alumni Program™, from your own HR and recruiting networks, and from direct outside interviews in the marketplace. All in all, a proven program that adds value to your organization. Develop employee diversity planning

How WCI can help:

Some organizations do a very good job of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. This almost always leads to competitive advantage through more creativity, a wider range of thinking, and higher levels of customer and supplier affinity.

However, sometimes organizations get frustrated by diversity efforts that don’t yield the results they want. Competitors seem to be doing a better job.

WCI probes the diversity frontier, getting inside the strategies and practices being used by your competitors and isolating and analyzing those that can be incorporated and used advantageously by you. WCI also looks at what your employment brand says to potential applicants.

In addition, through selective use of a Competitor Alumni Program™, WCI allows you to conduct targeted interviews with your current diverse employees who once worked for competitors, and helps you identify and adopt their best practices. This process also provides you with the opportunity to identify and eliminate blind spots you may have about your current practices and attitudes.

The result is more effective employee diversity planning that contributes to competitive advantage. Measure HR’s contribution to business strategy

How WCI can help:

The best way to measure HR’s contribution to business strategy is to rate how accurate and useful the strategic HR planning process has been.

The strategic HR planning process is the foundation for every aspect of the people function of the firm, from recruitment to succession planning. This planning ensures that the right people are available with the right skills in sufficient quantities to be able to implement your business strategy successfully.

But in order to get this difficult feat done right, planners must have a good understanding of the external business environment and the trends that occur within it. WCI probes the external landscape on a constant and focused basis, looking at such factors as competitors’ talent pools, employment brands and compensation and benefit trends.

The resulting analyses feed directly into the continuous strategic HR planning process and improve the quality of HR’s input to the business strategy.

When we begin working with a new client, we conduct a WCI audit, including an opinion survey of key senior corporate and HR leaders to determine their current perceptions of the competitive landscape for talent and how HR is contributing to business strategy. We then track that opinion over time and tease out the real changes from the subjective ones. The results provide concrete measures that help demonstrate HR’s role in setting the firm’s strategy. Determine value added from HR function

How WCI can help:

At the end of the day, the challenge of determining the value added from the HR function hinges on two questions:

  1. Did our firm achieve a competitive advantage from its workforce in relation to our rivals?
  2. Did our HR function provide the right people with the right skills at the right price and at the right time and place to implement our strategy effectively, or didn’t it?

WCI contributes to the answer to both questions. First, it sets up metrics with which to monitor and measure how key competitors deploy their human capital in relation to your firm. WCI also mines the wealth of competitive knowledge that resides in your workforce as well as in your human resource and recruiting networks.

Second, WCI provides a process for continually observing your external environment and labor market to ensure that your workforce planning and compensation and benefits levels will provide the workforce you need to implement your strategy effectively. Manage recruitment vendors

How WCI can help:

Many Fortune 500 firms use third-party external consultants or outsourced collection firms to collect and internally disseminate intelligence about the marketplace and their competitors. However, the biggest problem our clients face is finding those unusual service providers who understand both CI and HR.

RivalScape will help you derive much more value from these outside relationships through better evaluation, selection, and management practices.

First, we audit your firm’s WCI collection requirements and the qualifications and performance of existing service providers. Second, we identify and find additional consultants or vendors who are experienced in workforce competitive intelligence.

We can advise you on contract terms and conditions, expectations, performance standards, and guarantees of confidentiality and exclusivity with these consultants and vendors. We consult with internal legal staff to create a clear legal and ethical roadmap for these vendors. We review with each vendor the requirements and types of intelligence they feel they can provide, and gain agreement with them about how source information, often in hearsay form, will be evaluated and validated. We then set deliverables, conduct kick off meetings, and provide regular feedback and performance measurement. Create/maintain employee induction program

How WCI can help:

Many new employees walk in your door with substantial knowledge of the external environment, and some even have direct and recent working experience with a key competitor or company of interest, whether as an employee, vendor or customer of that company.

One of the many goals of a typical employee induction program is that a new hire will learn how you do things in your organization.
Wouldn’t it be beneficial to both the new employee and the company if you asked him or her to participate in an interview about their perceptions of the competitive landscape?

In addition to gaining valuable insights, you will communicate to the new hire that you monitor your external environment and are always looking for opportunities and threats in order to maintain a competitive advantage.
These types of interviews are conducted as part of a Competitor Alumni Program™ (CAP). Perform competitive analysis of benefit and rewards

How WCI can help:

Do you compete for skilled talent in a tight labor market? Are your direct and indirect compensation costs a significant factor in total expense, and therefore in your competitiveness?

If so, competitive compensation and benefits analysis is mandatory. We go way beyond the typical boilerplate surveys that many companies subscribe to from large HR consulting firms.

Our approach with competitive “comp and ben analysis” is to supplement those general and even customized surveys with first-hand, direct intelligence about your key competitors compensation and benefits. We draw this intelligence from new hires via a Competitor Alumni Program™ (CAP).

There is also valuable information residing in your own HR and recruiting networks, and from conducting direct outside interviews in the marketplace. We can get answers from these sources to important questions you cannot ask them directly.

Think of it as the difference between the value of primary research over secondary. The compensation and benefit surveys are the starting point of our analysis. They suggest key questions, issues and trends that need to be confirmed or denied by primary intelligence collection through Workforce Competitive Intelligence. Develop plans to address skills gaps

How WCI can help:

Companies have to determine their talent needs for the future growth of the firm. And knowing their present set of skills is key to that equation. Employee development and training is also part of the equation. Future needs minus the existing skills and training to upgrade those skills equals a skills gap.

Another way of saying it is that the skills, knowledge, abilities and performance of the workforce must align with the current and future organizational and individual needs.

If your firm identifies functional areas that have skills gaps, RivalScape can conduct benchmarking of competitors and other industries to determine the type of skills and talent available elsewhere. We can then help you develop sourcing plans for implementation in-house, which will ensure that future growth is met in the most cost-effective manner possible.

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