Forecasting the supply of inside candidates

Knowing your staffing needs satisfies on half the staffing equation. Next, you have to estimate the likely supply of both inside and outside candidates. Most firms start with the inside candidates.

The main task here is determining, which current employees might be qualified for the projected openings. For this you need to know current employees’ skills sets – their current qualifications. Sometimes it’s obvious how you have to proceed. For example when Bill Gates needed someone to lead Microsoft’s new user interface project, his first question was, Where’s Kai-Fu? His firm’s voice recognition expert. Kai-Fu le was in China at the time establishing a new research lab for the firm. (Kai Fu later went to work for Google China).

Qualifications inventories: Manual or computerized records listing employees education career and development interests languages special skills and so on, to be used in selecting inside candidates or promotion.

Sometimes it’s not so obvious and managers turn to qualifications inventories. These contain data on employees’ performance records, educational background, and promotion ability. Whether manual or computerized, these help managers determine which employees are available for promotion or transfer.

Manual systems and replacement charts:

Personnel replacements charts: Company records showing present performance and candidates for the most important positions.

Position replacement card: A card prepared for each position in company to show possible replacement candidates and their qualifications.

Department managers or owners of smaller firms may still use several simple manual devices to track employee qualifications. A personnel inventory and development record form complies qualifications information on each employee. The information includes education, company sponsored courses taken, career and development interests, languages desired assignments and skills. Personnel replacement charts are another option, particularly for the firm’s top positions. They show the present performance and promotability for each position’s potential replacement. As an alternative you can develop a position replacement card. Here, create a card for each position, showing possible replacements as well as their present performance promotion potential and training.

Computerized Information Systems: Companies don’t generally track the qualifications of hundreds or thousands of employees manually. Most firms computerize this information, using various packaged software systems. Increasingly, as we’ll see, they also link these with their other human resources systems. So, for instance the employee’s skills inventory might automatically update based on his or her annual performance appraisal or training.

Most computerized skills inventories work more or less the same. The employees, their supervisors, and / or human resources professionals enter information about the employee’s background experience and skills usually via the company intranet. Then, when a manager needs a person for a position, he or she describes the position’s specifications (for instance, in terms of education and skills). After scanning its database, the system produces a list of qualified candidates. Computerized skills inventory data typically include work experience coeds: product knowledge, the employee’s level of familiarity with the employer’s product lines or services: the person’s industry experiences since for some positions work in related industries is very useful, and Formal education.

The matter of privacy: The employer should secure the data in the firm’s personnel data banks. First, there is a lot of employee information in most data banks, often of a personal nature. Second, Internet / intranet access means it is relatively easy today for more people to access these data. Third, in countries like the US legislation gives employees legal rights regarding who has access to information about them. The legislation includes the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 (which applies to federal workers), the New York Personal Privacy Act of 1985, HIPAA (which regulates use if medical records), and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Balancing (1) the employer’s right to make this information accessible to those in the firm who need it with (2) the employees’ rights to privacy isn’t easy. One solution is to incorporate an access matrix in the database management system. These matrices define the rights of users (specified by name, rank, or functional identification) to various kinds of access (such as read only or write only) to each database element. So, the system might authorize employees in accounting to read information such as the employee’s address and Social Security number. The human resource director, on the other hand could both read and write all items.