By Johnny Giles, SPHR, Senior HR Consultant, PassionHR Consulting, Inc.
When I was a lieutenant in the Air Force, part of my job was to conduct a “manpower” study to validate that our organization authorized the correct number of people to do the work, specifically in the HR arena. Our workload had recently increased, partly because of an expansion of the mission in our unit and partially because a large portion of work was transferred to our office from several other offices.
For several weeks, we identified every activity we had to do, determined how long each task required, multiplied by how many times we had to do it, and came up with a raw number that indicated how many “man-hours” were needed. Then, we estimated our anticipated growth and expanded responsibilities and added those hours in. Finally, we divided that number by the number of scheduled work hours in a year (2080). In our case, we had four people projected to do the work of 5.8. Those were REAL work expectations.
Although we knew that the military worked “24/7/365,” that we should “do more with less,” and that working overtime was an expectation, we also knew that carrying almost two full-time employees’ worth of extra work all the time, not even accounting for “surge” imbalances in the workload, was unsustainable. We either had to figure out how to decrease the workload or justify increasing the “manpower” authorization in our office.
We attacked the first problem by examining our procedures and identifying possible tasks (or portions of them) that were irrelevant, redundant, or unnecessarily complex. For example, of the thousands of evaluations and decoration/award packages we processed, from the time they reached our office, they had to be quality reviewed by the four progressively higher-ranked employees in our office and by ten more people before being signed by our general.
Of those thousands of reviews, we identified those that made a difference: those who reviewed and made corrections. We got permission to bypass 10 of the 14 people between the airman who initially received the package and the general who ultimately signed it. We saved over 800 “man-hours” per year on those two processes alone as a result. As a side effect, the time it took to process a package decreased from an average of 2 months to approximately one week. That greatly benefited the entire organization, but unfortunately, most of those hours saved were outside the personnel (HR) office.
We attacked all of our other duties and processes similarly. We found inefficiencies and even eliminated or transferred enough duties that got us below 5 “man-years” of actual work for our 4-person office. The rest we had to deal with was overtime work, but it was much more manageable this way.
When I joined the military, I knew that working overtime, and sometimes extreme overtime, was part of the job. Unfortunately, we can expect overtime from our people in the corporate world. Still, if we require too much of it, our people will quit, become less efficient, fall behind, or wear out without the means to recover or “sharpen the saw,” as Stephen Covey puts it. We can examine the processes to determine where we can become more efficient. Still, ultimately, there is a bottom line amount of work that when we cut below that, we’re no longer “trimming the fat” but are cutting into the meat or even into the bone of our workforce. At that point, we need to eliminate work or add “manpower” to cover the difference.
PassionHR provides flexibility to your personnel budget by giving the “fraction” of a person you need for each office rather than paying someone full-time to cover a partial job. We do this in several ways:
First, we can help with recruiting to fill your currently vacant positions. By taking on the advertising, screening, and pre-qualification interviewing responsibilities, we can free up your executive, manager, and HR staff time to do their more critical duties.
Second, we can help fill seasonal or temporary positions so that you have coverage for surge periods but aren’t paying them for the whole year and so that you can reduce the overtime required by your core team.
Third, by hiring temps, you can observe those employees’ work ethic and skills before possibly hiring the best ones full-time. These temp-to-hire opportunities reduce your risk and HR costs of removing non-performers.
By using our consultants, each with over 20 years of experience, you can pay a fraction of what it would cost to hire someone with that experience to help advise and train your HR team and management staff. In addition to HR training and advice, we provide leadership and “soft skills” training for management, new supervisors, and employees. This guidance enhances their abilities and can make your whole team more efficient.
In addition, we can do a deep dive into your policies and procedures to determine opportunities to grow and become compliant with applicable laws and regulations. By having clear, current policies, particularly in your employee handbook, you can eliminate uncertainty and guide your team.
Finally, we can provide a thorough compensation analysis to review your pay and benefits to ensure they are competitive and attractive to the right employees. Nothing is more frustrating than losing your best employees to other companies and only being able to recruit and retain employees who are unskilled or who bring excess baggage that will disrupt your team. By knowing what the market is paying for specific skills and abilities, you can more accurately assess the pay and benefits required to make you an employer of choice.
At PassionHR, we have developed a team that can provide you with these capabilities and more.
Johnny Giles, SPHR, Senior HR Consultant at PassionHR Consulting, Inc. has led various HR functions during his 20 years of service in the United States Air Force.
Johnny holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from Brigham Young University and a Master's Degree in Human Resource Management from Troy State University.
Contact Johnny at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 665-5966