Talent Experience Podcast

Ep. 56 John Baldino - Looking Forward with Workforce Planning

October 20, 2022 Fuel50 / John Baldino Season 1 Episode 56
Talent Experience Podcast
Ep. 56 John Baldino - Looking Forward with Workforce Planning
Show Notes Transcript

Although workforce planning has been around for ages, it has taken on a whole new meaning over the past few years. On this episode of the Talent Experience Podcast, we are joined by John Baldino, President of Humareso, to discuss the concept and evolution of workforce planning. Hear how to make a strong impact with your business strategy, why succession planning is important at all levels of an organization, and the significant impact that talent mobility can have in your company.

Connect with John through his LinkedIn, Twitter @jbalive, or at https://humareso.com/, and for more insightful conversations visit www.talentexperiencepodcast.com. We hope you enjoy this episode of the Talent Experience Podcast!

Rhonda Taylor  00:25
Hello, I'm Rhonda Taylor, your host for today's episode of The Talent Experience Podcast. And today, we're actually talking outside of the scope of what we usually speak about. And it's because we have an authority on hand today to discuss workforce planning. So, I would like to welcome to the Talent Experience, John Baldino. John, introduce yourself.

John Baldino  00:51
Thank you, Rhonda, nothing like some pressure, the expert that I am, here I am. So, John Baldino, I am President of Humareso, which is a global HR consulting firm, and have been for a little over 10 years now. And just a hair over 30 years of experience in human resources and leadership development and organizational design and development and all of the goodies of HR.

Rhonda Taylor  01:24
Yeah, and John you and I go back quite a way. We both were influencers for the major movement of, gosh, it went from like Global Force to Work Human.

John Baldino  01:36
That's right. That's right. Yeah. Yeah, we were, like I say we were influencers. You know, I'm not sure what we influence anymore, but I'm glad that you and I are still connected.

Rhonda Taylor  01:50
Hey, I'm sorry, I do not want to put us in the past tense, because John, you and I are forever in the present. So, John, you know, workforce planning, used to always be considered something that was done just at the C suite level. And now with COVID, and everything else, we're seeing that workforce planning is taken on a whole new meaning a wider breadth, can you speak to that?

John Baldino  02:24
Sure. Yeah, I love that. And I will tell you, it is fascinating to me, really how long workforce planning quite honestly has been on the shelf. It's really been a concept that used to be very core to good HR practice in terms of being taught and in sort of, I would say, for those of you who are of a certain age as I am, it used to be that if you wanted to make the move from I'll say, the director level in human resources to either a VP or SVP level, this was one of the areas of concentration, that was sort of a litmus test to know if you are ready to sort of move into that more global organizational perspective, because workforce planning is not, is not your staffing strategy. And I think what has happened through the years since it was put on a shelf, is that that's what people thought, well, it's always I know, I keep an eye on, you know, what talent I need, and when I need it. Well, that is a staffing strategy. And let me make sure I say this, you need to have that. Please don't think I'm saying that's bad; you have to have that. But actually, that's a piece, it's about a third of the overall approach to workforce planning. So, the fact that they become synonymous is sort of doing a disservice to all of what workforce planning is supposed to be. I mean, on a technical standpoint, I will say to you, the building blocks of workforce planning is basically it's a third business strategy, a third staffing strategy, and a third talent management. That's really what the building blocks of workforce planning should be. And quite honestly, I gave them to you in a sequential order as well. So not only evenly divided, but you really need to have a handle on your business strategy before you get into your staffing strategy. And before then you really decide on what the tenants of your talent management strategy will be like. Now, Rhonda, I know you know this, I'm from Philadelphia, so let me be like, street about this, because that's a whole lot of technicals, right? For me that to just say, on the street. What is workforce planning? What do you want to accomplish? How you're going to get there and how you're going to use what you have. That's what this is. That's what workforce planning is what do you want to accomplish? How are you going to get there? And how you're going to use what you have. That's it, everybody. And I want it to be simplistic because I think there has been a fear for years about workforce planning. And I think you're absolutely right, Rhonda and those that are really trying to push forward through what's happening in the talent space today, are the ones that are trying to be wiser about resuscitating this perspective. I like how you put the street level I that's, it's so basic and so understandable. But you know, let's break down the three of them. Let's talk about business. What does the business have to have in place to evolve a true workforce plan? You know, it's funny, because when people hear business strategy, and they're like, oh, we have a business strategy. The first thing I'd like to say is liar liar pants on fire, maybe, maybe not? Maybe what the business strategy might be is, I don't want to irritate the CEO. That's not really a business strategy. 

Rhonda Taylor  06:17
Or I don't want to bring on something that might cost too much money, heaven forbid.

John Baldino  06:25
And it's so funny, you're saying that too, because these sorts of responses to a business strategy that are from that vein, are our defensive postures, right? And so, what that means is instead of a business strategy, you're really developing a PTSD strategy for your organization, because you're just going to build everybody up to have some sort of stressful response to all of the factors that are coming at them. Oh, no, what if this happens? Oh, no, what if that happens? And that is whether it's, oh, no, we're spending too much money. Oh, no, we have too much overhead. Oh, no, I'm going to irritate the C suite. Oh, no, I didn't make bonus. And everybody's mad because even it was like, if that's your response, then that's one that's reactive. That's not a business strategy. A business strategy is absolutely at its core proactive. It has to be looking forward. And it has to be looking forward collaboratively, creatively, right? With tenacity.

Rhonda Taylor  07:28
And everybody has to be drinking the Kool Aid.

John Baldino  07:31
The idea of trying to do this as one person rowing the Titanic is silly. But the amount of organizations that have one champion, and everyone else is sort of looking at that champion saying, "Yes, that's right. Good for you, keep us going." That one person is going to die in a pile quickly. The other problem for some businesses is that when you have a lack of clarity, in a business strategy, and everyone sort of thinks they know what it is now picture, a lot of people rowing the Titanic, but everybody's rowing in a different cadence in a different direction, the ship is not going anywhere. And so, you have this massive structure that you've been spending so much time trying to build, and it's not getting anywhere. It's just this ship that's never getting to port. And the problem for businesses today is hiring someone and ooh, you got me saying this, Rhonda, so I'm gonna get in trouble from somebody today. The problem for businesses it is that if you hire someone to just come in and help you do your mission, vision, and values, and have this wonderful workshop, and I'm not belittling that, but that is not your business strategy. It is a piece of your business strategy, but it is not the total ball of wax. 

Rhonda Taylor  08:56
It's, it's not the solution.

John Baldino  08:59
No, no. You and I both I know this have walked into companies and they've got their values, you know, on the lobby wall, and everybody's so excited. If I stopped six people, right, two of them won't know any of them. And the other four will guess at a few, right? What does that tell me? We spent a lot of money creating and crafting vision and values. But it isn't translating to the day-to-day work. There's no impact, right? My strategy for my business, those things should have a heartbeat and the heartbeat of the people that are carrying them out because here are the objectives we're running towards as an organization. And don't make it a 10-point list, have just a couple. You may have a really good single tagline that really encompasses a lot of the directional emphasis for your organization. Terrific! But people need to know what that is. If you're Walt Disney, you say we want to make magic for people every day, that's fantastic. What does that mean? When I'm sweeping the streets versus working in marketing versus, you know, doing the ice cream behind the counter? What does making magic mean? Someone needs to be able then to translate all the way down the org structure.

Rhonda Taylor  10:16
Okay, so just for the sake of time, we're gonna move on to number two,

John Baldino  10:20
I'm sorry, yes. You know, you got me going! 

Rhonda Taylor  10:22
That's okay! We're going to talk about workforce planning. And we're talking about the staffing element of it. And how does that evolve? Now I'm gonna give you an example. We went into something really interesting during COVID. A major drugstore, company came on board, and they actually, you know, we were talking about succession planning, and they actually weren't right down during COVID and said, you know, what, if our forklift drivers do not come into work today, with the vaccine and COVID, and everything, there was a big disconnect in the chain. So, they had to have a succession plan in place, whether it was for a one day or a five day, they had to have somebody filling that position. Yeah. And, you know, we used to always think of succession planning as being something only done at the C suite. Yeah. But COVID taught us that it has to be done in every position within your organization.

John Baldino  11:38
And I think that stepping back into the staffing strategy perspective, and I would say what often is forgotten is that this is supposed to be how we will get there, right? It's a how, it's not just what. Right? What will take us there, no, how will that take us there. So, if you don't have the people to run the forklifts, we're gonna have a huge problem. Our internal supply chain is going to come crashing to a halt. And so, you have to be able to say, today, Mary, Joe, you know, Bill, I know you have a manager in your title, but not today. Today, your title is forklift driver, because you'll have nothing to manage if we can't get this stuff where it needs to go. And I think COVID also taught people that it's rolling up your sleeves, is not a dirty perspective. It's a worthwhile endeavor. I remember years ago being in HR for a distribution for a distribution center for a major retailer in this country. And going onto the line and tagging belts that had come through for distribution to I think, 38 different stores. And it's a union shop. And the shop steward came over to me and was said, John, you know, you're not allowed to be on this line. And I looked to my left and to my right, and there were two workers who English was a struggle as a second language. And I said, "Do you want me to leave?" And both of them grabbed each of my hands from either side and said, "No, no, no! Stay stay!" They were happy I was there. It wasn't about I'm in the Union, you're not. I'm against you, I'm for you. It was about together; we had a whole lot of work to get done to get distributed to all the stores that were waiting for this product. And I was there to help because they were short staffed, nobody cared about my union card that day, they care that I had a heartbeat and would roll up my sleeves and participate. If you have to be at that level for your staffing strategy. You're not too proud for that. But then obviously you want to then allow that to influence what kind of needs you have moving forward to hire for skill sets that you might be missing, etc.

Rhonda Taylor  14:06
Yeah, and you know, that staffing strategies are so important, and they tie in, it was interesting that you actually put staffing strategy separate and talent next because there is a marriage between the two of them. So much more than, you know, the business plan and the staffing. I really see in workforce planning that staffing and talent are the heartbeat. The business development side of it all is the brain. But the heartbeat is the talent and the staffing. And, you know, where do you see the talent side because I have some strong views on that, so I'd love to hear yours. Where do you see the talent side in workforce planning?

John Baldino  15:05
I mean, I think that it's a couple of things. One, really good talent management. And again, I'm going to refer back to the progression. What do you want to accomplish? How will we get there? And how will we use what we have? If we're at the place where we're going? How are we using what we have, that requires me to know what I have? What I would say that has to happen in talent today, with a little bit more decisiveness is intentional diagnostics to know what your talent can do. And it isn't just in the role that they have, I'm talking broadly. There are skills and talents, aptitudes and abilities that your teams have, that you may not know about, or you're not taking advantage of. And I don't mean in a negative way, you're not providing them an opportunity to exercise these competencies. Why not? I remember some years ago, there was an organization that wanted to begin to offer another vertical to the services that they offered as an organization. And yet they were worried about budget. And so, they kept saying, you know, we really don't want to increase the payroll too much. And I said, look, let's do a capacity analysis in a couple of the departments. And we did. And one of the things that capacity analysis said was, you've got people working at 80% capacity. It's not terrible, but you pay people for 100% capacity, just as an FYI, to everybody listening over 100% capacity.

Rhonda Taylor  16:45
You remember that you're the boss, John!

John Baldino  16:49
And then on the other side of it, we started doing some competency analysis, what do what skills do people have within these two areas? And what we wound up doing is pulling two people out of one of the departments. And the capacity went from 80% to 95%, for the remaining people, because they were picking up the extra work. And those two people went and launched that vertical for this company. And we didn't increase payroll by a nickel, that took the time to do some of these analytics and manage your talent effectively. Do you think these two people who got this opportunity weren't excited? They were thrilled! Because they didn't know there was a place for them to use some of their other abilities for the organization. And the organization was, you know, ready to post jobs randomly online and see and hope that someone would apply, they already have loyal people right under their noses. And they needed to do that. That's where good talent management needs to be done more effectively today.

Rhonda Taylor  17:47
And you're so right, and we're finding out the analytic side of it all like it, the skills capabilities, you know, they, they all have to be, you know, addressed. And the value they bring to the company, the value they bring to the position and John, like, the analytics that can come out of the workforce will dictate the future challenges that the company has. So, it's really interesting, because we talked about business being the brain and making the decisions for workforce planning. But at the end of the day, if the talent and capabilities of the organization are not in sync, and reaching the goals, the organization dies. Or is paying a lot of people who are not functioning at 100%. 

John Baldino  18:56

Listen, you know, the best made plans, right? How many times have we sat at the leadership table, C suite, whatever you want to call it, and been a part of business strategy. And this is why honestly, one of the secrets of my success, I believe, through the years has been sitting in those meetings and listening to all these wonderful ideas and then saying to people, do you know how much it's going to cost for us to do those things? Do you know what we have within our building right now to help you accomplish those things? And to listen to I mean, honestly hear CEOs say things like, "I think Mary knows how to do that." Look around the table, right? You know, Mary? She does that. Okay, so all of this is on Mary shoulders, I'm sure she's going to be thrilled at the pressure that that's going to mean for her, and you can't be serious that this multibillion-dollar company is going to go and ask Mary. That's not a business strategy. You're not asking her to do you a favor. This is an intelligent person who's got competencies ready to be used who cannot as a solo practitioner, do it by herself. That's, that's craziness.

Rhonda Taylor  20:02
Oh, exactly, exactly. And I was just laughing at you because, you know, "Mary can do it" or the one thing now that if you know the C suite is throwing in, "Oh, well, everybody could probably do their job better if we bring in a wellness program." And, you know, I really feel sorry for wellness companies right now, because sometimes they're being brought in and they're the scapegoat. Oh, well, you didn't do anything for our workforce.

John Baldino  20:36
If you're bringing wellness in responsibly, or reactively? Absolutely right. If you're bringing in in proactively as an uplift, I see I'm seeing organizations that are doing well, if they're doing it from that perspective, if it's a plug to try to keep people from leaving, again, that's reactive. No wellness program, no any program will work as a result of that.

Rhonda Taylor  20:57
Exactly. And I really feel sorry for wellness companies that get caught up in in that scenario. So, John, what's the future of workforce planning?

John Baldino  21:13
Check out my book. No, I'm just kidding. The future really is twofold. I would say one, as I said, right at the beginning, I think it requires a commitment on behalf of someone within your HR department to get back to it in the referential learning of workforce planning. We cannot sort of treat this cavalierly; we must treat this directly and intentionally. Learning, know it, and then you can apply it. The other thing that I would say about workforce planning is there's a component to a staffing strategy or I should say there's a few components to a staffing strategy, but one being borrowing employees, that I think we're going to start to see a lot more happening over the next 10 years. And sort of this duality, even, you know, three, four companies, it's not about gig as much as it is about, you know, real and the US real W-2 employees that are just at a few different places. And so work weeks, and leveraging talent, where they're working for one company that winds up feeding the second company that they're working for, as well, I think you're gonna see a lot of borrowing going on more than maybe we've seen before.

Rhonda Taylor  22:37
Right, right. And that's all it boils right down to companies looking for the talent and the capabilities in the workforce. And they will take, the future says that these companies will take them for 10 hours a week. And probably 10 hours at a much higher rate than what they're being paid on a regular full-time job. But and that's the future because these individuals will walk the high wire, and we're seeing maybe about 10% of the workforce doing that now. But you know what? They're walking the high wire and there's no insurance that they're going to have a paycheck.

John Baldino  23:21
Yes, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that individuals, we've got 10, close to 10 million jobs open in the US 6.6 million people to fill them. Well, I wasn't a math major, but those numbers tell me we don't, we don't have enough people to fill the jobs that are open. So, we're going to have to be creative. And workforce planning is a way for you to define that creativity and then implement innovative strategies.

Rhonda Taylor  23:50
And, John, on that note, I want to thank you. You're such a good friend, and it's so entertaining.

John Baldino  23:58
Thank you very much. I appreciate you having me here and it's always a treat for me.

Rhonda Taylor  24:04
This is Rhonda Taylor with the Talent Experience saying have yourself a great day!