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The BBC strike and strategic workforce planning

Was the strike action on compulsory redundancies at the BBC inevitable? Could it have been avoided through better strategic workforce planning by the BBC asks The HR Society President, Angela O'Connor and Chair, George Blair? 

Developing HR strategies

The BBC is cutting 2,000 jobs mostly through voluntary redundancies and a recruitment freeze.  However a number of compulsory redundancies are being disputed, according to the NUJ, hence the one day strike on 18th February. 
 
Whilst we can’t see into the future, businesses can plan more strategically and develop a range of possible scenarios. This will help develop a streamlined HR strategy aligned with future business needs. For example, how certain was it 3 years ago that a new incoming Government would significantly reduce BBC funding?  That is about as close as you can get to a cast iron guarantee.  In the year before the election, running a scenario on how to respond to such a Government policy could have avoided the need for compulsory redundancies.  There would be more time to identify the likely areas for cuts and to come up with HR plan of action.  This would include increasing the number of non-core staff on flexible contracts and using agile workplaces and enhanced technology to create even greater flexibility with the workforce. How about also creating flexible redeployment policies?  This is what workforce planning is about. 
 
We’re not singling out the BBC.  Quite a few organisations have created negative ripples by re-engaging staff made redundant as highly paid consultants. However, unlike the BBC, they have not been caught in the media headlights.    
 
Investing in people
 
We have heard much talk about the need to invest in infrastructure, such as electrified railways and leading technologies, and, we need the same approach to the people who are essential to knowledge based industries.  This is where strategic workforce planning comes in and the expertise of The HR Society.  Workforce planning matches the workforce to business needs through reviewing a wide range of options to match staff numbers and skills to future requirements.  This is supported by contingency HR plans to cope with the unexpected. In times of austerity, budgets will be continually cut, so the introduction of robust workforce strategies may reduce the need to make staff redundant. 
 
Workforce planning seminars 
 
The HR Society runs a series of workforce planning seminars. It is at the forefront of encouraging strategic workforce planning through its events and learning programmes.  Its ever popular Workforce Planning 2 Day Master class is on 8-9 May. If it’s something you haven’t got sorted in your organisation it might be worth having a look. 
 
For more information, contact:
Angela O’Connor, President HR Society Angela@thehrlounge.co.uk
George Blair, Chair HR Society, 07768 193859, George.blair.uk@gmail.com