How to Reduce Resource Costs with Capacity Planning?

Your company’s most valuable asset is not cutting edge technology, intellectual property, or the infrastructure. It is your workforce without whom, none of those assets, as mentioned earlier, will add value to your business.

Today, most business leaders are often running a full-time sprint, trying to keep up with the business’s day-to-day demands. The workforce capital, an essential resource a company requires to take the next step in growth and innovation—is often underutilized or overworked.

Your workforce is also the most significant investment incurred by a company. Therefore, effective and efficient use of your scarce resources will help attain business sustainability and productivity.

Resource capacity planning can help businesses utilize cost-effective global resources without compromising quality. So, the first step towards reducing your resource costs will be replacing legacy tools with a resource management tool. Before we delve into the details, let us get the fundamentals right!

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What is resource capacity planning?
It’s forecasting the gap between capacity and demand for resources, and an action plan to bridge this gap. Capacity planning determines how capable and prepared the organization is to meet future needs without affecting their efficiency.

Here’s how resource capacity planning helps reduce costs:

1) Forecast and bridge skill gap: The Fourth Industrial Revolution will unleash 133 million new roles by 2022. New categories of jobs will emerge and replace existing ones partially or wholly. Along with new positions, the demand for new skills will also be tandem. In a study conducted by the World Economic Forum, 54% of all employees will need to reskill by 2022. So, more than half of the employees will not have the skills to take up these roles.

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Businesses need a robust solution that helps predict skill shortages and bridge the skill gap proactively. The capacity planning tool helps identify the skill shortages ahead of time. Only then can appropriate resourcing treatments like training, optimizing bench time, or hiring contingent workforce be applied.

2) Maximize billable utilization: In most businesses, excessive resource capacity goes unnoticed, and hence wasted on non-billable activities. It is especially true for matrix organizations, where the resource demand is continually changing. An intelligent resource management software that automates real-time forecasting of resource utilization can be a saving grace.

Billable utilization, a KPI used to measure productivity and sustainability, can be accomplished with a resource capacity plan. It provides foresight into excess resources that can potentially go to waste and yield zero revenue.

This forecast helps mobilize excesses from non-billable or low priority to billable or high priority tasks. Besides, remedial measures like advancing g project timelines, reshuffling resources across departments, or selling excess capacity will ensure maximum billable utilization.

3) Competent allocation of resources: Often, managers are left with no choice but to allocate workers to projects at the last minute. And more often than not, these employees lack the skills, availability, or the cost rate that aligns with the project plan.

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This wrongful resource allocation results in time and budget overruns and ultimately derails projects off the tracks. Conditional resource visibility is one of the significant contributors to inefficient resource allocation. What you can’t see can’t be tracked, after all.

Enterprise-wide visibility of resources helps deploy the employees with the right skills and cost. Only then, a project can finish within budgeted time and cost. Based on skills, qualifications, experience, location, cost rate, and other selection criteria, competent resource allocation can be made. A resource capacity plan can help businesses use the best visible best-fit instead of a first visible first-fit approach.

4) Forecast pipeline opportunities: Once you have successfully bagged multiple projects, finding the right skill at the right time is crucial. The uncertainty of finding the exact number of skilled employees looms.

At the eleventh hour, hasty hirings, or over-allocation of work often results in productivity decline and employee burnout. To prevent last-minute drills of resource allocation, planning resource capacity against pipeline projects helps.

Using a resource capacity planning tool, the sales team can forecast and estimate resources demands in the opportunity/pipeline level. Accordingly, course-correctors like training, or hiring decisions can be applied to ensure an optimally balanced and skilled resource pool. Thus, the project delivery team will have the right resources ready to take on tasks at the right time.

5) Minimize bench-time: Bench time accounts for the non-billable time when the resource isn’t active on a client-specific assignment, and, hence, not generating revenue.

It stems from low project margins, unexpected delays, or inefficient resource allocation. Foresight into future project vacancies and which resources will be on the bench can reduce bench time.

A resource capacity planning tool enables foresight into the future resource needs and the employees on the bench. Besides, the resource manager can mix and match available employees against project vacancies.

There could be instances when the available resource might lack the skill needed to take on the task. Capacity planning helps in cross-training them ahead of time to avoid last-minute hasty hiring/firing costs.

The takeaway:

Desperate times (doesn’t always have to) call for desperate measures. Especially today,when businesses have the option to forecast future resource requirements and have 360-degree visibility of resources to match those demands. Using a proper resource capacity plan, companies can curtail resource costs and sustain amid economic uncertainties.

The capacity plan does it all from forecasting various resource utilizations, project vacancies, and benched members. Based on which corrective actions like training, hiring, and building an on-demand workforce can be applied to reduce resource costs.

How to use LinkedIn for Recruitment

Recruiters have a whole host of tools available to them, particularly in the digital age. However, of all the options that are out there, LinkedIn boasts some unique advantages. Used correctly, it offers access to a membership of more than 560 million people. Unlike job boards, this is not limited to users who are actively searching for new positions – this makes for a much wider talent pool, maximizing the chances of finding the perfect fit for a specific role.

Those who are not job-hunting are known as passive candidates. They are estimated to make up 70% of the workforce: recruiters who can cast their nets widely enough to catch these hordes of talent therefore gain a significant edge. LinkedIn makes this possible. The selection of more than 20 available LinkedIn Recruiter filters revolves primarily around skills and experience, rather than automatically narrowing the search down to only the active candidates.

Crucially, these skill profiles can be trusted. Users do assess their own strengths, but these are submitted without a specific position in mind; while direct job applications are likely to be doctored to present a good fit, LinkedIn recruiting is an efficient way of finding genuinely strong matches. This is bolstered by additional insights about candidate connections – if someone has engaged with the recruiting company in the past, or is endorsed by existing employees, Recruiter Spotlights and Search Insights will reveal it.

There are a number of things businesses looking to recruit can do to take full advantage of all this functionality. The most fundamental is to set up a company page. This is the first point of reference for anyone who may be interested in a job opening: a compelling profile can go a long way. More than that, it allows existing employees to list the company as a place of work. In this way, all of their individual networks may be leveraged, increasing the chances of finding the ideal candidate.

Setup can be done freely and easily. The “work” icon provides an option to “create company page” – it really is that simple. After specifying the size of the business, all that is needed are details to flesh out the company profile. This is the first step to powerful recruitment. As more people engage with the page and list themselves as employees, more bespoke insights will become available.

The next key step is to list jobs. This can be done in two ways. The best method to fully utilize the vast size of LinkedIn’s network is via paid listings. The site makes these roles visible to all users, but the real value comes through its curation of the best candidates. By matching the required skills and experience to user profiles, it makes sure that the job ad is seen by those best-suited to the position. A viewable top 50 is created, and five free InMail messages allow recruiters to reach out directly using the built-in messaging service. It has a 35% better response rate than emails, so there’s a good chance of hearing back.

Recruiters taking this route are charged on a pay-per-click model. The alternative is free listings: these are not promoted across the network but are posted on the company page. In some circumstances, these can also be very effective. Positions posted by profiles with a strong following will still be seen by lots of people, many of whom are likely to be in a relevant field.

Either type of listing can be amplified further by joining groups. LinkedIn groups are made up of professionals with a common industry. Often, they have dedicated areas for sharing jobs – these listings get a lot of relevant eyes on them almost by default.

Whichever route a recruiter goes down, they have effective filters at their disposal once a list of prospective candidates is in place. This includes Boolean search techniques. Commonly used for querying datasets, Boolean logic revolves around a series of operators. The cornerstones are “and”, “or” and “not”: in a recruiting context, these allow further narrowing-down of candidates based on their combinations of listed skills. These additional filters can be prioritized by using brackets, just as in mathematical operations.

In other words, not only can LinkedIn help put together a list of great candidates, it can then help companies narrow it down until they find the perfect fit. When you have your list of possible candidates, you can speed up the process of moving them over to your CRM by using a LinkedIn Search Exporter, such as LIX. These powerful tools give recruiters who know how to use them a real advantage in the jobs market.

Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination

An enormous amount of research shows the importance of self-determination (i.e., autonomy) for students in elementary school through college for enhancing learning and improving important post-school outcomes.

Research by psychologists Richard Ryan, PhD, and Edward Deci, PhD, on Self-Determination Theory indicates that intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable), and thus higher quality learning, flourishes in contexts that satisfy human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Students experience competence when challenged and given prompt feedback. Students experience autonomy when they feel supported to explore, take initiative and develop and implement solutions for their problems. Students experience relatedness when they perceive others listening and responding to them. When these three needs are met, students are more intrinsically motivated and actively engaged in their learning.

Numerous studies have found that students who are more involved in setting educational goals are more likely to reach their goals. When students perceive that the primary focus of learning is to obtain external rewards, such as a grade on an exam, they often perform more poorly, think of themselves as less competent, and report greater anxiety than when they believe that exams are simply a way for them to monitor their own learning. Some studies have found that the use of external rewards actually decreased motivation for a task for which the student initially was motivated. In a 1999 examination of 128 studies that investigated the effects of external rewards on intrinsic motivations, Drs. Deci and Ryan, along with psychologist Richard Koestner, PhD, concluded that such rewards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation by undermining people’s taking responsibility for motivating or regulating themselves.

Self-determination research has also identified flaws in high stakes, test focused school reforms, which despite good intentions, has led teachers and administrators to engage in precisely the types of interventions that result in poor quality learning. Dr. Ryan and colleagues found that high stakes tests tend to constrain teachers’ choices about curriculum coverage and curtail teachers’ ability to respond to students’ interests (Ryan & La Guardia, 1999). Also, psychologists Tim Urdan, PhD, and Scott Paris, PhD, found that such tests can decrease teacher enthusiasm for teaching, which has an adverse effect on students’ motivation (Urdan & Paris, 1994).

The processes described in self-determination theory may be particularly important for children with special educational needs. Researcher Michael Wehmeyer found that students with disabilities who are more self-determined are more likely to be employed and living independently in the community after completing high school than students who are less self-determined.

Research also shows that the educational benefits of self-determination principles don’t stop with high school graduation. Studies show how the orientation taken by college and medical school instructors (whether it is toward controlling students’ behavior or supporting the students’ autonomy) affects the students’ motivation and learning.

Self-determination theory has identified ways to better motivate students to learn at all educational levels, including those with disabilities.
Practical Application

Schools throughout the country are using self-determination instruction as a way to better motivate students and meet the growing need to teach children and youth ways to more fully accept responsibility for their lives by helping them to identify their needs and develop strategies to meet those needs.

Researchers have developed and evaluated instructional interventions and supports to encourage self-determination for all students, with many of these programs designed for use by students with disabilities. Many parents, researchers and policy makers have voiced concern about high rates of unemployment, under-employment and poverty experienced by students with disabilities after they complete their educational programs. Providing support for student self-determination in school settings is one way to enhance student learning and improve important post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Schools have particularly emphasized the use of self-determination curricula with students with disabilities to meet federal mandates to actively involve students with disabilities in the Individualized Education Planning process.

Programs to promote self-determination help students acquire knowledge, skills and beliefs that meet their needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness (for example, see Steps to Self-determination by educational researchers Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman). Such programs also provide instruction aimed specifically at helping students play a more active role in educational planning (for example, see The Self-directed Individualized Education Plan by Jim Martin, Laura Huber Marshall, Laurie Maxson, & Patty Jerman).

Drs. Field and Hoffman developed a model designed to guide the development of self-determination instructional interventions. According to the model, instructional activities in areas such as increasing self-awareness; improving decision-making, goal-setting and goal-attainment skills; enhancing communication and relationship skills; and developing the ability to celebrate success and learn from reflecting on experiences lead to increased student self-determination. Self-determination instructional programs help students learn how to participate more actively in educational decision-making by helping them become familiar with the educational planning process, assisting them to identify information they would like to share at educational planning meetings, and supporting students to develop skills to effectively communicate their needs and wants. Examples of activities used in self-determination instructional programs include reflecting on daydreams to help students decide what is important to them; teaching students how to set goals that are important to them and then, with the support of peers, family members and teachers, taking steps to achieve those goals. Providing contextual supports and opportunities for students, such as coaching for problem-solving and offering opportunities for choice, are also critical elements that lead to meeting needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness and thus, increasing student self-determination.