A little while ago HRE Online ran a story on some changes that Waste Management made, which incurred big workforce savings by better targeting programs at the managers of front line employees. It concluded:

For our purposes, there are several important conclusions from this story.

The first is how much money can be saved at the lowest level of the company, with positions that are often seen as disposable. "What does it matter how we fill jobs like those that anyone can do?" It turns out that it matters quite a lot.

The second conclusion is that these changes don't have to be rocket science in the sense of radically new ideas. Just getting them executed consistently is enough.

I’m sure we agree with the authors – OF COURSE it can matter how you fill jobs “that anyone could do”…especially, as in this case, if the jobs are critical to the delivery of what the organization does. These roles are strategically core or critical is the point, not just that they are ‘the lowest’…never, ever think that the seniority of the job, or even the skill level required for the job, is what defines how important it is, and how “disposable” it might be.

It’s a good idea to be putting your workforce planning energy towards the most important groups to your strategy. What kind of model do you use to work out where you need to put your creative workforce strategy energy?