After reading Chapter 2: Strategy and Human Resource Planning, respond to the questions in Case Study 2: “Staffing, Down to a Science at Capital One” found on Pages 85-87 in your textbook. Be sure to use the instructions below when preparing this assignment. Because some on-line and older versions of the textbook do not include the text from case studies, I have attached it in a PDF document within this assignment and in the Learning Module for your convenience.
Write a 1 1/2 to 2-page paper responding to each question in case study indicated above. The student should include the actual questions he/she is answering in the body of the paper. Title pages are not required; however, the student’s name, chapter, and title of the case study must be at the top of the assignment. Students are expected to express their opinions and experiences related to the case study, as well as information learned from textbook reading and any other accessed references.
This assignment must be submitted here in the Assignments feature using an MS Word-compatible NOT PDF digital (electronic) format. All assignments should be double-spaced with 1” margins and use a standard 11- or 12-point font such as Ariel, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
Staffing, Down to a Science at Capital One
When the financial services industry tumbled into crisis in June 2007, Capital One chairman andCEO Richard Fairbank issued a mandate to strip $700 million out of the company’s operatingcosts by 2009. The cost reduction plan includes consolidating and streamlining functions,reducing layers of management, and eliminating approximately 2,000 jobs. The mandate didnot set off a mad scramble in workforce planning, however. Instead, the planning staff simplyadded new defined variables to their simulations and modified their projections for thecompany’s talent needs.
“The key to workforce planning is to start with the long-term vision of the organization and itsfuture business goals and work back from there”, says Matthew Schuyler, chief humanresources officer for Capital One and its 27,000 employees. “We anticipate the strategic needsof the business and make sure that we have the workforce required to meet those needs. The$700 million mandate gives us goals and boundaries that we didn’t have before. We made theadjustments.”
Capital One and other leading companies are developing a set of best practices for workforceplanning that reach into the future for each business unit and evolve with corporate strategicplanning. In an increasingly unstable global business environment, the value of a long-termvision is clear, but effective workforce planning requires dedicated resources, heavy analytics,and, perhaps most important, the full engagement of business unit leaders and line managers.
The workforce planning at capital one stems from a process executed by a metrics and analyticsgroup of 20 people, plus hundreds of executives, managers, and analytics pulled from all thebusiness lines and corporate functions. Leaders and analysts from the business lines work inblended teams with human resources generalists and members of the metrics group to buildmodels for each line and the entire world force.
The models flow to Schuyler, who reports directly to the CEO. “You have to garner your longtermvision of the organization from your seat at the table and from the time you spend withbusiness leaders, immersed in places where you can get data”, Schuyler says. “You have toprobe the business leaders and know the business leaders and know what their endgame lookslike.” Planning varies by business line. Some lines are stable, while others are restructuring ormoving through rapid growth.
Part of Schuyler’s job is to ensure that senior business line leaders are engaged in the process.“Their door is open”, he notes. “Your ticket through the door is to show business leaders thebundles of money they can save if their workforce is the right size with the right mix and theright skills. Once you’re inside, you have to act on the promise.” The potential cost savingscome from minimizing the inherent costs associated with the size of the workforce, plus savingsfrom lower recruiting and severance costs and avoiding the costs of a disengaged workforce.“The cost of disengagement is difficult to quantify, but business leaders intuitively understandthe cost”, Schuyler says. “There is a toll paid when a workforce is disempowered, disengaged,and not sufficiently busy.”
Workforce planning at Capital One forecasts not only the head count required to meet futurebusiness needs, but also the staffing mix—the ratio of internal to external resources—and theskills mix, including any changes in that mix that are required as the business moves forward.Schuyler also looks at any changes in “spans of control”, which determine the number oforganizational layers, optimal methods for staffing managerial positions, and the related costs.The planners also document both rational and emotional employee engagement, which affectcurrent and future productivity and recruiting, training, and turnover costs.
The responsibility for workforce planning at Capital One resides in human resources, but thehard work takes place inside the business units, where the blended teams operate. Thisgrounding in the business units keeps workforce planning focused on corporate goals.Workforce planning really gets traction when it is linked to the line managers who understandbusiness needs and can project their business growth and productivity changes. The timeframes for workforce planning at Capital One vary by unit and function. The legal function, forexample, is very stable and can easily plan out two to four years. The credit division, however, israpidly evolving, so its forecasts stretch out two to four years but are reviewed every quarter.Likewise, the demand for some jobs follows the business cycle. Collections and recoveries workat Capital One was stable and predictable several years ago, for example. “But because of thecurrent economic conditions, this work is now more important, and we had to ramp up veryquickly”, Schuyler explains.
Schuyler refuses to choose between overshooting and undershooting staffing. “The beauty ofworkforce planning is that it allows the flexibility to be right on target”, he says. “We don’t haveto wait for the next budget cycle to get it right.”
That flexibility derives from a more sophisticated approach to planning that looks at a range ofpossible scenarios about business conditions and then calculates the labor needed to matchthem. Capital One’s workforce planning models allow business leaders to anticipate the talentrequirements for each business option and the human resources and labor cost consequencesof the choice they make. Especially for companies that are just beginning to implement a workforce planning process, the best approach is to focus first on the critical roles in theorganization and then expand out to cover more positions in greater detail. Avoid the tendencyto drown managers in data by breaking the data down on a critical-jobs basis. At Capital One,the workforce planning process reached down through the entire executive structure for eachbusiness unit—five or six levels of leadership plus groups of managers. Business leaders see thetalent management costs and consequences of the business options at hand. Each optioncarries its own implications for internal and external staffing levels, recruiting, training,promotions, engagement, attrition, and total compensation costs over time. More important,workforce planning allows business leaders and line managers to see how different approachesto talent management can actually expand their business options and boost performance. “Ifworkforce planning is done right, human resources can help business leaders think about whattheir endgame can be”, Schuyler says.
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