Tag Archives: strategic planning

Five 2016 Workforce Challenges Screaming Down Tracks



(Post by Rick Dacri, November 29, 2015)

As a manager, you will be faced with several challenges in 2016 and workforce issues are right at the top. Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, staff development, succession planning, employee morale, competitive compensation packages, and reducing employee health care costs will dominate your attention. Like a freight train screaming down the tracks, today’s manager must tackle these issues head-on. Let’s look at five of them:

  1. Aging workforce: We’re getting older. Baby boomers are beginning to exit the workplace in what some are calling the “silver tsunami” leaving both employment spots to fill and huge gaps in knowledge to replace. Most employers are ill prepared. Recommendation: Put in place succession plans which address replacements, skills gaps, and prepares the organization for an orderly transition of talent.
  2. Creating a performance based culture: Today’s workplace culture must reward performance and productivity and foster employee engagement resulting in worker retention and attracting the best external talent. Work rules that hamper productivity must be replaced with those that support flexibility and pay should be merit based and include performance incentives. There also must be an increased emphasis on setting priorities and goals, measuring productivity and monitoring performance. And your employees must be agile, customer centric, and willing to do whatever it takes for the organization. Recommendation: Put in place training programs to prepare both supervisors and employees. Add communication initiatives to demonstrate the need for and benefits of these required changes. Recruit only employees who can thrive in a changing environment.
  3. Managing a multidimensional and changing workforce: Today’s workforce is changing and different. As boomers age out, we are seeing a different look in the workplace then we have come to expect in the past. As the workforce becomes more diverse, managers must have the skills to lead this workplace. Engaging a younger generation, who will work along side older individuals who have different views and expectations of both their boss and work, will require significant adjustments, patience, tolerance and clear understanding. Recommendation: Multicultural, mutigenerational training should become a part of your training curriculum. Employee engagement/satisfaction surveys should be conducted annually.
  4. Recruitment, retention and rewarding: There is a new “3 R’s.” Work/life balance, flexibility, career development and telecommuting will be needed in order to attract and retain this new generation of worker. And to retain them, you will have to reward workers with cash (merit pay, incentives, benefits) and non-cash (opportunities, training, titles). Recommendation: Recruitment and retention programs should be put in place that include development of a recruitment brand and tool box; compensation market surveys should be conducted; and turnover analysis should be put in place.
  5. A strategic approach to managing: Managers must make decisions about the direction of their business utilizing a strategic framework. No longer can they simply move from crisis to crisis. A big picture, business approach will be needed, discarding “how we’ve always done it” approach and re-inventing your business to address today’s and tomorrow’s realities. There will be a greater reliance on technology, creativity, innovation, and best practices and benchmarking and these require a new kind of leader to manage a workforce that can thrive in this new world along with a workforce that can blossom amongst rapid change and have the skills to learn and adapt. Recommendation: Strategic plans should be updated to reflect the changing workforce and market place.

In 2016 and beyond we all must begin to think differently, have the skills to look around corners, while making bold decisions in addressing this changing workplace.

Other posts you may like:

  1. Aging Workforce: Few Employers Prepared
  2. Succession Plan in Municipalities Assure a Steady Flow of Talent
  3. How Unhealthy Cultures Stymie Progress




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Filed under human resources, Leadership, Uncategorized

Planning Keeps You On Course

images(Post by Rick Dacri, October 9, 2015)

Not knowing where you want to go makes it a lot easier to get there. Making a plan, setting a direction, allocating time and resources…yikes, this seems hard. After all, simply drifting where the wind takes you requires minimal effort and unfortunately, that’s how some companies operate. But it is a choice…a choice to react or to be proactive and plan.

Planning is an essential element in the successful operation of any business. As you make these strategic plans for your organization, ponder these three questions:

  1. Do I know what tomorrow’s opportunities will look like?
  2. Do I know where I want to take my company and why?
  3. Do I know where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow?

This is heady stuff. But by taking a strategic approach to your business planning, envisioning your future, and developing the procedures and operations to achieve your future, you have put in place the foundation for a successful business. Simply reacting to the latest crisis may keep you busy and feeling productive, but by the end of the day, you will likely find yourself falling behind.

Integrate planning in all aspects of your business. You’ll find by fostering a proactive mindset about the future will result in improved organizational performance, ensuring that you now have the ability to take advantage of emerging situations and opportunities.


Filed under planning, Strategy, vision

Succession Planning: Refilling the Pipelines (Webinar)

This webinar, titled Succession Planning: Refilling the Pipeline was designed by Rick Dacri and delivered on December 10, 2013. Click Succession Planning to hear the webinar recording.

This webinar  provided the business case for having a succession plan and outlined the critical elements of such a plan. Our workforce is graying. Organizations must be prepared if and when key employees suddenly exit the workforce due to retirement, death or resignation. Business owners/CEOs must lead their organization in designing, implementing and managing an organization wide succession and knowledge retention plan. This should be an essential piece in the organization’s business plan and is fundamental to the long-term viability of all successful organizations. Good succession plans focus on developing their employees and ensuring that the organization always has the people in place to operate the business. This webinar was designed for CEOs, Executives, Business Owners, and HR Professionals.

Some of the topics covered:

  1. Understanding why all companies, regardless of size, should have a plan in place
  2. Knowing how to develop a successful succession plan & emergency preparedness plan
  3. Ensuring that qualified employees are ready when key vacancies occur in their organization
  4. Preventing the loss of valuable knowledge from walking out the door
  5. Developing key staff so that they have the skills to do the job today and tomorrow
  6. Recruiting staff that can contribute today and who also have future potential

To hear the webinar, click Succession Planning.

To learn more, contact Rick Dacri at Dacri & Associates, LLC


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Filed under Leadership, Succession Planning, Uncategorized, Webinars

How To Do Quality Manager Evaluations

(This article was written by Rick Dacri and was published in the Maine Townsman, November 2013)

novThe town manager’s performance is critical to the success of any community. The selection, development and retention of the right manager—the individual who can lead the organization toward achieving its strategic goals, becomes the primary responsibility of the Town Council or Board of Selectmen. At the same time, the manager’s ability to work collaboratively with the Board is of paramount importance and will determine the success of the manager, the Board and the community. It is for these reasons that an open dialogue, honest feedback, clear expectations and defined accountability standards must be in place.

Most managers and Boards understand the value of performance management. Boards want to provide their managers candid feedback on their performance, allowing the opportunity to address problem areas. They understand that the review process provides an ideal time to clarify roles, expectations, set goals, open communication and enhance the relationship between the Board and manager.  The evaluation process ensures that both Board and the manager are in sync on the direction and goals of their community.

While most agree to the benefits of the evaluation process, many communities differ in their approach, others question its effectiveness, and some opt to not do it at all.

When the evaluation process is formalized, it usually includes a manager self-evaluation, Board completion of an evaluation form, a review of goals, and an evaluation interview with the chair. Some communities include a 360-degree review with input from department heads and citizens. Citizen input can be received both informally and formally through citizen surveys. Compensation decisions are sometimes part of the process, but are frequently handled separately as part of the manager’s contract. On the other extreme, an informal approach to the entire process can be as simple as a discussion over coffee between the manager and the chair. Either approach can work.

Regardless of the approach, the review process works best when you have clear, agreed-upon purpose: Do you want to improve the overall performance of your municipal government or the individual performance of your manager or Board, or all of these? All reviews should include: Continue reading


Filed under Employee Relations, Management

Aging Workforce: Few Employers Prepared

We’re Running Out of Time

This article, written by Rick Dacri, was originally published in the York County Coast Star on June 20, 2013

When my wife and I built our house, we had two gas fireplaces installed. Beyond the ambiance, we wanted convenience and warmth for those cold Maine winters. We also added back-up, battery-operated starters in case we lost power. Turns out you need electricity to start a gas fireplace. Well, they work perfectly and they were a Godsend during the last ice storm. While we love to be warm, we also enjoy everything else that requires electricity, so we have since bought a generator that automatically clicks on when the power goes out — an all-too-frequent occurrence where we live. And if the generator fails (it did during the hurricane), I have a service to call that immediately responds.

It is important to take preventative actions to ensure safety and security. I faithfully replace my smoke detector batteries twice a year. But while they may warn me of a fire, I also have my escape route planned if we need it. Prevention and contingency plans are essential.

The Maine Department of Labor recently released a report written by the Center for Workforce Research and Information detailing how the state’s sluggish population growth, combined with an aging workforce, will lead to slow workforce growth. While this is a valuable and well-written study, it offers nothing we don’t already know. Just look around most workplaces and you see a lot of grey hair. Employees are getting older and there are fewer young people available to take their places.

Maine has the oldest workers in the nation. The median age of our workers is 43 years old and within 20 years, at least 40 percent will be over 65. As Boomers retire — and their exit has already begun — we need to replace them with experienced workers. But with an aging population comes low birth rates (you get the picture).

So what are businesses’ contingency plans? Unfortunately, few are ready. As many senior leaders plan to retire over the next three to five years, many organizations are just realizing that succession planning must be put in place. The recession gutted most training and development initiatives, not to mention any “excess” workers, so companies’ bench strength is weak. Employers will now be forced to quickly beef up their recruitment efforts in order to attract badly needed replacement talent — which exposes another problem: the skills shortage. The war on talent that seemed to end in 2008 with the “great recession” will now resume with a vengeance.

While the news is not good, employers do have a little time to right their ships. Training and development must be significantly increased; succession planning for leadership and key staff should be put in place; and recruitment programs must be implemented.

Education and government also have a big role to play toward attracting workers to our state and educating our young people for the world of work. Immigration reform, as I discussed in last month’s column, is also a critical part of the equation.

There are a number of initiatives throughout the state partnering business, education and government, all focused on addressing this problem. More is needed. Employers who take a wait-and-see approach will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. A focus on the people side of the business, an area many managers find too complicated to handle, must become a top priority. While cooperative efforts are important, where they don’t exist, employers must go it alone. And that means commitment, time and investment. Everything else will fail without skilled talent. This problem is not going away.

Contingency plans and actions must be adopted and implemented now. The lights are flickering. Hoping they’ll stay on is a mistake. It’s not a question of whether they’ll go out or not, it’s when. Remember, we live in Maine. You want that fireplace and generator ready to fire up. We’ll need them.

To learn how Rick Dacri can assist you with planning, click Dacri & Associates.

Other posts you may enjoy:

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Filed under Economy, Management

Strategy: Any Road Won’t Get You There

imagesEmily is the CEO of a medium sized manufacturing company. She knows where she wants her company to be and what she needs to do to get it there—and she is driving it in that direction. But it wasn’t always that way.

Like many CEOs, she took over a relatively successful firm and focused on continuing the things that made it successful while learning her new job. She immersed herself in all aspects of the business and quickly found herself getting bogged down in the day-to-day operational issues. But, the company was making money, customers and employees weren’t complaining, and there was no need to do anything differently, until the recession hit. She lost her largest customer and suddenly her company was bleeding. Doing more of the same would no longer work. Changes were required. A new plan was quickly needed.

Over a difficult 6 month period, she and her key managers developed and launched a new strategic plan and direction for the business. They realized that as the economy radically changed, so too must they. Through a series of careful steps, they formulated their plan, initially defining their core purpose (mission), company values and vision for the future. Goals and objectives were established to get them there.

Emily knew that they would have to differentiate themselves from their competition, so she went out and talked to her customers. Armed with their input along with market data generated by her staff, she reformulated a new direction. Knowing that before she could implement her plan, she needed to communicate with her workforce and vendors, bringing them on board, and ensuring that everyone was fully engaged and ready to move.

The “journey” as she calls it was not without missteps, setbacks, and pain. It has now been nearly 3 years since Emily begin the road back from near ruin. Her company has gone through an organizational transformation.

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Mission Statements Define Who You Are

“Our vision is to be the Earth’s most customer centric company.”

Everyone who visited Amazon.com last week read this in an open letter to customers written by CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos.  Quoting Amazon’s mission statement, Bezos continues with a promise “to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they may want to buy.”

Amazon’s mission statement is clear and bold. They seek to be the best-not the best online retail site in America or even North America, but the world-“Earth’s most customer centric company.” No one, no customer or employee can question this company’s focus and position. They set the bar high and they have backed their words up through performance. Bezos’ letter lists a number of customer service awards they have received this year. It is impressive. Continue reading

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