Incremental Change Analysis


Most business focuses on the current situation, with changes defined on an iterative, cumulative basis. In this context, issues represent problems or opportunities for change from the current situation. The gaps represent ways that a company may achieve or enhance a competitive edge.

The most common way to define issues is to assess the changes that are expected t occur. These are derived from either internal or external changes, intended by management or occurring as a result of uncontrolled forces (as in workforce changes). Issues are identified in the way that people normally think—incrementally from the present toward future.

In this process, managers identify and evaluate human resource issues by sorting through available strategic planning, competitive, and environmental information for evidence of changes having human resource implications and then define human resource issues that may be addressed. Such analysis may examine employee productivity issues, service quality, staffing surpluses or shortfalls, succession needs, skill requirements, utilization, costs, turnover/retention patterns, or employee attitudes.

Managers also obtain and consider perspectives of relevant constituents, such as other managers and employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers. Companies solicit inputs from managers at various levels through their participation in the planning process or through interviews, focus groups, or surveys with key managers. Many companies survey employees, either specifically for planning inputs or more broadly as an assessment of organizational climate and human resource practices. Companies may involve employees through interviews or focus groups to help define issues and alternative strategies. Some also interview or survey customers, contractors, and other business partners regarding human resource issues to be addressed.

Environmental scanning is used to identify prospective human resource issues deriving from changing external conditions. Scanning the many changes occurring in social, political, legislative, demographic, economic, technological and other areas yields a wide array of issues that may be considered.

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Assessing Current Human Resources


Assessing current human resources begins by developing a profile of the organization’s current employees. This is an internal analysis that includes information about the workers and the skills they currently possess. In an era of sophisticated computer systems, it is not too difficult for most organizations to generate an effective and detailed human resources inventory report. The input to this report would be derived from forms completed by employees and then checked by supervisors. Such reports would include a complete list of all employees by name, education, training, prior employment, current position, performance ratings, salary level, languages spoken, capabilities, and specialized skills. For example, if internal translators were needed for suppliers, or employee assistance, a contact list could be developed.

 From a planning viewpoint, this input is valuable in determining what skills are currently available in the organization. The inventory serves as a guide for supporting new organizational pursuits or in altering the organization’s strategic direction. This report also has value in other HRM activities, such as selecting individuals for training and development, promotion, and transfers. The completed profile of the human resources inventory can also provide crucial information for identifying current or future threats to the organization’s ability to successfully meets its goals. For example, the organization can use the information from the inventory to identify specific variables that may have a particular relationship to training needs, productivity improvements, and succession planning. A characteristic like technical obsolescence, or workers, who are not trained to function with new computer requirements, can, if it begins to permeate the entire organization, adversely affect the organization’s performance.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight