“Every assumption you, as a company make, must be analysed and evaluated. The end result impacts all your people strategies and plans – your strategic workforce planning. Remember, how you as a company succeed with all the activities you create will mirror your employer brand’s strength“
The second speaker from our latest Employer Branding Summit to answer questions from the chat is Pernilla Fischione, global strategic workforce planning lead at Saab.
What type of employer branding activities do you do?
To me, all activities meant to engage, motivate and evolve co-workers are employer branding activities – not just practices to attract and recruit. For example up and re-skilling development are also activities which creates engagement and makes me loyal to my company.
You need to see the complete picture and have a long term perspective. Employer branding is so much more than just single activities or the ability to recruit. At Saab, we collaborate actively with elementary schools, colleges and universities to gain intercommunion and a holistic view.
When it comes to our activities, it`s of great importance to meet our target groups in their arena with the right type of effort, we, therefore, need a good knowledge of the groups we want to reach. This applies to both external target groups as well as our employees.
What is your best tool tip for creating actions how to decide future competence in your strategic workforce planning?
I will break up this question in two: How to decide future competence and tools for creating actions.
Let’s start with how we decide future competences. HR and Strategy decide future competences together. The business needs are a combination of the company’s strategies, external forces and customer needs.
I always say that HR are the experts in providing a picture of the current workforce, and Strategy looks ahead to predict the future based on our customer’s needs. Together we need to ask ourselves the right question: Which competences, from a business perspective looking at external forces, are necessary for the future?
When it comes to creating actions, the tools themselves are not as crucial as the power to execute your planned activities. There are many helpful support systems to buy. You have to choose the one you believe fulfil your purpose. My best recommendation is to start with a pen and paper, maybe an excel sheet. If you can verbalise the questions and actions and write them down in a logical way, you will have your Strategic Workforce Plan.
What’s your view on the importance of student relations and what is your strategy when it comes to connecting with students and universities?
Rule number one: Look ahead! Schools and universities has from my perspective one important role to fill: enable students learnability since the speed of change will only go faster from now on.
For example: If we foresee that AI (artificial intelligence) competence is a gap, we start internally – where and how do we need to up or re-skill our employees to fill the gap? The answer to the question has a direct effect on future recruitment. At the same time, since we work within long periods, we need to contribute to the society around us and make sure schools and universities understand the urgency of the competences we need. By collaborations with elementary schools, colleges and universities, we can provide information about future competence gaps, and they can adapt their teaching to fit future needs. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
The work starts early in elementary school. If we can spark interest in tech and academic studies early, more pupils will become students at colleges and universities. It’s all about creating curiosity and nurturing their drive.
At Saab, we collaborate with all levels of learning institutions, from elementary schools to universities. We work with continuous learning to provide schools with information about what will make students attractive for Saab in the future. In that way, schools can adapt their programs to fit future needs, and Saab can actively make sure that we have an excellent future workforce.
What do you do to understand what competence to put in the pipeline?
Up and re-skilling creates value both for your current workforce and for finding a suitable strategy to make sure universities have the output necessary for business needs.
Let’s say that the company where you work started to contribute to the society many years ago by increasing the interest and curiosity in technology for children, by creating innovative tech challenges, only for them. You’ve also worked in collaboration with universities, providing them with technological problems and in return they’ve provided your company and the society with technological knowledge. Your company has had a continuous dialogue with the possibility to provide Universities with your future needs so the universities could create engineering programs with the right content. This making the students employable, which in a longer run makes our welfare stronger.
Every assumption you, as a company make, must be analysed and evaluated. The end result impacts all your people strategies and plans for attracting, recruiting, engaging, developing, rewarding, succession planning, talent management, performance and so on. Remember, how you as a company succeed with all the activities you create will mirror your employer brand’s strength.
How do you make sure these recruits want to stay at Saab for the long run?
When we communicate within Employer Branding at Saab, we use the narrative; Belong with Purpose. It’s not just a nice-sounding expression; it’s something we live. To create an environment where co-workers want to stay, we are back at creating engagement, inclusion, and growth opportunities. Our co-workers need to feel that they are here for a reason and that they contribute to society.
Our goal within HR is to create a learning culture and to be a learning organisation, where co-workers are motivated and integrate learning and development in their flow of daily work. The management is responsible for creating challenging tasks and encourage a growth mindset and initiatives. In short, our co-workers need to be allowed and encouraged to be curious and evolve, and this is the core reason that our staff turnover is significantly lower compared to other companies in Sweden.
To achieve such a mindset, you need to incorporate reflection and retrospective into your day-to-day job. A learning organisation requires knowledge, innovation and willingness to change to thrive in today’s rapidly changing environment.
If you look wholistically, how would you define or outline the lifestyle of strategic workforce planning within the organization and who would be your key partners at each stage?
Strategy, together with HR are key partners. These two functions need to work together.
Here are the various stages:
• Foresee future workforce needs: Strategy is a critical function in trying to foresee future needs. They foresee where we need to go and if HR asks challenging questions, we can create a bigger picture to find these needs.
• Analysing current workforce: HR Business partners and Specialists knows the current situation through business input.
• Identifying the gap between future needs and current state.
• Implementing solutions (actions) so the organisation can accomplish its mission, goals, and strategic plan: If Strategy foresees a change, this needs to be clear and communicated within the business. Actions need to take place!
• Follow-up: Strategy and HR have agreed on actions and follow-up is always done together. Have we done what we agreed upon? Has the actions been executed?
Pernilla Fischione is Saabs Global Strategic Workforce Planning and works with implementing strategies to enable Saab to have an optimal workforce – now and in the future.
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