All You Need To Know About Manpower Optimization

Understanding Manpower Optimization and it's various applications is something very important, even though it is not a novel term, especially for HR professionals. Different meanings and interpretation comes to mind for different people, and some say that it is just HR’s another sneaky trick to facade retrenchment. As practitioners of Operational Excellence (OEx), we at JSSB see this concept of Manpower Optimization not through the typical lens of traditional HR deliverables.

All You Need To Know About Manpower Optimization

Manpower Optimization (MO) is not a novel term, especially for HR professionals. However, the term does conjure up different meanings and interpretations for different people. Some say that it is just HR’s another sneaky trick to facade retrenchment. In contrast, others say it is all about keeping the organization lean and agile. At the time of crisis and uncertainty such as now, these conflicting notions could only make things even murkier and confusing. Going back to the basics is vital to sift the myths from the truths.

As practitioners of Operational Excellence (OEx), we at JSSB see this concept of Manpower Optimization not through the typical lens of traditional HR deliverables. On the contrary, we will see it through the lens of organizational efficiency and effectiveness, which are both at the heart of OEx philosophy. It is the attainment of these two strategic goals that all Manpower Optimization projects and initiatives should be governed by and be expected to deliver to the organizations that they are meant to impact.

MO is all about the R-word?

The R-word is undoubtedly something that many people don’t like to hear. But let’s be frank, with Covid-19 and the engulfing economic crisis, retrenchment is undoubtedly, an elusive reality for many of us. So, is it true that MO merely is another way to say the R-word?

Well, although it is not entirely untrue, an MO exercise can bring us more than just retrenchment. It can offer us a wide array of other benefits and insights which are to the surprise of many, more important than retrenchment. In other words, MO is NOT all about retrenchment. Bluntly put, it is more than that.

It would be folly to argue that MO does not lead to retrenchment. However, what is more, critical is to see MO as a process that any organization needs to undergo in order to take stock of its overall manpower size as well as its organizational efficiency and effectiveness. MO, as a process will facilitate us to understand those hard, uncomfortable questions that most organizations try their best to avoid.

“Why do we need this function?”

“Do we really need that amount of people in the department?”

“Does our staff deliver what needs to be delivered?”

So, in short, MO will provide us with better clarity on our actual organizational needs, be it retrenchment or even better improvement of our staff’s work deliverables. It can elucidate the organizations on which functions need some trimming, which functions require better allocation of manpower and which ones that need further work re-arrangement or perhaps work simplification.

MO is more about the P-word

With all the fuss about the R-word, it would only be fair if we also talk about the P-word that is Productivity. When we see MO as a process that all organizations need to go through not only during a crisis but also in other relatively normal times, we can appreciate that all in all, MO is more about the P-word as compared to the feared, R-word.

As previously mentioned, the No.1 objective of MO is to assess the current organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Thus, it is only natural that MO should revolve around the question of our manpower productivity. So, how do we need to approach this?

At JSSB, manpower productivity should be evaluated not according to HR’s whims and fancy. This important question about our staff productivity must be approached scientifically. Yes, you read it right! The keyword is SCIENTIFIC.

MO should be done in a way that is based on data-driven evidence. And when say data here, it means real, direct data that are based on the on-the-ground, repetitive day-in, day-out of routine and non-routine deliverables done by our staff whose Productivity is under the spotlight.

From our humble observation of many other typical HR strategy consultants, their MO facilitation mostly take indirect data collected from the eyes of higher management detached from the real, on-the-ground work done by their own staff. This detachment is dangerous. In fact, this detachment is actually not only dangerous but more worrying is that it is misleading.

In contrast, our 5-Step Manpower Optimization methodology tactfully handles this by opting for the more tiresome approach that involves the direct observation of all the works done by the staff either through our DILO (Day-in-the-Life-of) method or our BPM (Business Process Mapping) structured interviews. Since it is a direct, no-nonsense approach, our patented 5-Step methodology produces a more comprehensive, detailed and evidence-based outcome to our clients. It may be tiresome, but it is always better to err on the side of precision rather than on the side of an incomplete picture.

Our MO is a journey

Earlier, we have said that MO should be seen as a process and not simply a destination. However, at JSSB, we see MO as more than just a process; in fact it is a journey. What makes it even more fulfilling is that we take this important journey together with our clients. MO with JSSB is never transactional, it is our undivided commitment to our clients to realize their full potentials.

We don't only take hand-holding with our clients very seriously when it comes to MO, we even impart our technologies to the respective project champions so that they can build-up the organizations’ own internal capability to make MO more impactful and truly realize its true value to our esteemed clients.

That is why the final step in our 5-Step methodology is Change Management. We will not only equip our clients with the right mindset and right methodology to deliver the required organizational change as part of the MO in the most effective way possible, we will also make ourselves available to facilitate the change process itself so that the required impact is assured and guaranteed.

In other words, the MO journey with JSSB is never a lonely journey. It is beyond hand-holding, and in fact, the motto will always be, “let’s dirty our hands together”!

So, this is all you need to know about Manpower Optimization. In sum, it is a process, not a destination. It is not only about retrenchment but as a matter of fact, it is more about our manpower productivity. While our expensive competitors do it superficially, we take MO seriously via our very own scientific 5-Step methodology. And the most exciting part of all, we take this journey together with you. Surely, the ride is all worth it.

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