Succession planning is fast becoming an inevitable culture in most organizations specifically in company’s strategic plans (Baldwin 2000, p.1). Lack of succession planning in the past has resulted into companies developing and nurturing inappropriate human capital strengths in the company, also has seen absence or inadequately continuous sequence of people with necessary qualities when the current pool of managers retire from the company and lastly lack of effective succession planning has derailed many future plans of companies (Baldwin 2000, p.1 The aim of this research will be to develop a plan that addresses internal labor needs in the medium to long term for the Billabong Company by borrowing heavily from the principles of succession plan and incorporating retention plan.
Billabong has continued to demonstrate its ability in global growth mainly through brand portfolio and increased international acquisition of retail outlets (Obrien 2008). International diversification and exploitation of new markets has also formed the company’s strategy. Envisioned as mid to long term strategy, the company aims to constantly deliver, double-digit earnings growth in all its key regions of business.
The ability and vision of Billabong to realize long-term growth especially in competitive markets will require the company to invest in adequate and dedicated labor manpower. An effective succession planning should have the ability to respond both to the short-term and long-term needs and plans of the organization and also its worldwide operations. Billabong strategy is long-term in nature and therefore it should focus on capitalizing on long-term labor supply to meet the almost certain and more permanent work demand (Vance, Vance and Paik 2010). Before any staffing is made the company needs to engage in thoughtful consideration of the nature of the present and future work demand and also the potential viable sources of labor supply. Operating in international environment the company has the opportunity to engage in a continuous scanning of the various labor markets in order to locate and identify the specific opportunities or problems that may be associated to the supply of labor in order to support the specific company objectives (Vance, Vance and Paik 2010).
Firmly guided by the company’s long-term strategic plans, the succession and workforce planning should have special consideration of efforts to utilize local and host country’s labor, set goals of recruiting, training and succession planning in the global environment that will ensure there is long-term availability of an effective supply of managers and other business professionals to carry out expansion goals of the company in international market.
Apart from operating in Australia Billabong has established strong presence in America, Asia, Europe and South Africa. Labor demands and supply in these regions differ but on overall labor demand and supply is influence d by factors such as economy, level of training and experience, technology, political climate in terms of policy mechanism and the changing rate of consumption of goods and services among the population. In identifying the current and future staffing requirements, succession and workforce planning process should be involved in analysis of the current and future staffing levels and to effectively go about this, there should be a thorough understanding of the labor supply, projection of the future staffing needs that reflects the current level of staffing composition, thorough identification of numerous and related factors that drive the current staffing level composition and also engagement (Hatrak Associates Approach n.d, p.7). An analysis of the current and future demand for labor will always reveals ‘gaps’ that can a succession and workforce plan can be designed.
In formulating a succession and workforce plan, Billabong has to accurately understand the various and specific staffing drivers which in turn will enable the company to make an evaluation of the existing alternatives to use in filling the staffing ‘gaps’.
The plan also should be clear on the programs that intend to transform and engage the workforce through such processes of, “identifying key jobs and skills across the organization’s hierarchy, documenting any current talent shortage (GAPS), consider broad shifts in economy and industry that will impact the need for key jobs, increase retention of the current workforce, and finally compare demand projections to supply projections and define critical gaps” (Hatrak Associates Approach n.d, p.8).
Staff turnover at Billabong has relative remained invisible although no outright rule can be passed of its non-existence. The company has outlined employee policy that incorporates aspects of international human rights enabling the company to full observe the needs and rights of the workers. Generally when an employee leaves a firm the particular firm experiences loss as hiring and training expenses will have to be allocated (Demkin and American Institute of Architects 2004). Further the productivity of the employee is lost which becomes difficult for the company to replace.
As a result, staff retention becomes a key strategic goal to be pursued by most companies. The traditional belief has been that employees are motivated by salary and other money incentives in order to stay longer in a firm but research has shown that currently this is not the case (Mushrush 2002, p.1). Most employees are looking and get attracted by the companies career development opportunities, work-life balance, individualized work options and benefits and feedback about their work which are seen to be the major factors employee will be motivated by (Mushrush 2002, p.1).
Billabong reduced staff turnover can be attributed to companies effort and culture of employing the right people and subsequently instituting amicable environment for the workers to develop their careers (Demkin and American Institute of Architects 2004). With strategies for long-term growth and expansion, Billabong has initiated numerous workforce upgrading programs; ‘fitting’ the workforce in the overall culture of the organization ensuring their goals; values and visions are matched with those of the company (Mushrush 2002, p.1).
Reducing staff turnover requires Billabong Company to invest in adequate programs that will address elements that results into high staff turnover, such elements may include: “non-competitive compensation, high stress, working conditions for the workers, monotony and poor supervision, poor fit between the employee and the job, inadequate training, poor communications and organization practices” (Mushrush 2002, p.1).
Workforce remains as the critical value to realization of the organization objectives and goals and therefore during organizational change there should be a unique and efficient workforce plan to help employees manage the change process successful.
First the company should have an accommodative decision-making and managerial structure that is able to incorporate the views, concerns and needs of the workforce during the period of change (Morrit and Siscovick n.
d). Thereafter, there should be a well developed motivational program that ensures appropriate reward, appreciation or recognition is carried out in the company for the participation and contribution of the workforce in the change process. Establishment of effective and functional human resources information system (HRIS) that is able to integrate employee and job information and safe storage. This will make it possible for the company to monitor the role of employees in the change process and where necessary provide back-up programs or changes.
Lon-term business strategy of growth and expansion depends much on the business ability to attract and retain goal-oriented workforce. Billabong with strategic vision to increase its market size and presence in the world and also in its already established markets has to establish an effective workforce strategy that incorporates organization’s goals and retention ideas that in turn will result into presence of a pool of talented workforce ready to drive the needs of the company.
The succession and workforce plan should in detail outline how talent management in the company can be spearheaded and achieved. This talent management strategy will involve: broad-consensus efforts to recruit, develop and keep the best and most talented people in the organization; Continuous training and development of people with unique talents for the company; conducting frequent performance and development coaching; recruiting a diverse workforce; supporting internal and external recruitment programs (Rothwell 2009).
Depending with the particular organization workforce retention programs have been designed based on the feasibility analysis by the particular company that take into account the business needs, job performance needs, skills and knowledge needs, preference needs and sometimes economic and legal needs (Phillips and Connell 2003). Generally in reducing turnover and strengthening workforce retention, Billabong needs to put focus on the particular structures of labor market it is interested or perceives to be important in facilitating the company’s goals, also needs to outline the critical preference skills or talents it needs and subsequently establish plans to develop the talents.
Billabong need to clearly identify the attractive retention factors that will thrill employees to remain in the company.
In this regard the company should focus its retention strategies to key areas of employee satisfaction, employee engagement, organization culture, the role of line managers in their supervisory roles, the general environment, communication channels that connect employees to the company in a more comfortable way, training and development programs, excellent career opportunities and lastly effective compensatory incentives in terms of pays and rewards (Zingheim and Schuster 2008).
Government has the ability and capacity to influence labor demand and supply through various political, economic and social policies. For instances economic policies may be expansionary or contractionary in nature with relation to labor market. When the government expand economic opportunities with less barriers then more investment become viable spurring demand for labor.
Billabong needs to understand the economic, political and social policy framework and environment of the host country or region it operates or intend to operate.
This will help the company to create a workforce that is in line with legal-political and economic requirement of the specific country.
Workforce planning is closely related to succession planning as both deals with efforts and strategies of changing the workforce. While workforce planning is concerned with, “changing the size, distribution and composition of the workforce to meet future needs in an orderly, controlled, and efficient manner, succession planning is concerned with replacing people or specific groups of people in the workforce” (U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration n.d, p.
1). Therefore Billabong needs an effective succession and workforce planning to realize its long-term goals.
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