The first step in putting together a Human Capital Strategic Plan is to specify in detail the type and quantity of skills necessary to carry out the technology and business strategic plans. These skills include the technical knowledge and expertise is needed carry out the science and engineering aspects of technical projects. In determining number and type of skill sets required in an organization it is best to categorize them in three ways.
The first skill level is that of a technician who can carry out the directions of a senior technical expert or project leader. The second skill level is that of a technical expert or project leader who has demonstrated the ability to conduct incremental and next-generation projects. The skills include the layout of a project plan, gathering and organizing the necessary resources to create the solution and complete the project. It also includes interfacing with others in the organization’s marketing, sales, manufacturing, and legal to complete the project on time and on budget.
The third skill level is that of technical expert or project leader who has demonstrated the ability to successfully undertake breakthrough or radical innovation projects. This person possesses the same abilities as the second skill level individual, but at a more advanced level, working very independently and creatively in all areas of the project; i.e. business model, marketing, technical, production and legal to bring a new to the world technology and/or product to the market.
The number of individuals needed for each technical area in an organizations R&D, Engineering, and/or technical support functions can be derived from the Strategic Business and Technology Plans. In those plans the project needs have been specified and the Technical Leadership can translate those requirements into a “needs” matrix, an example of which is shown in the ”Example Inventory of Human Capital Skills Needed in a Technical Organization” figure.
The three “need” columns of the ”Example Inventory of Human Capital Skills Needed in a Technical Organization” figure are derived from business and technology plans. The three “have” columns are provided by the Human Resource and Technology Leadership teams. The ”Example Inventory of Human Capital Skills Needed in a Technical Organization” figure shows as green colors where there is sufficient or excess bench-strength, and yellow or red colors where there is a deficiency of resources to carry out projects. Recommendation is to update this table quarterly and renew the strategic plan annually.
A common flaw in most HR planning is to not account accurately for the skill levels needed. In particular a common problem is that break-through level projects are resourced by individuals not having the skill to conduct such work. Technical and HR leadership has to be honest in what resources they have, and if there are miss-balanced resources they need to be readjusted, typically with hiring and firing (as “personnel growth” is typically insufficient and takes too long to make the business and technical plans successful).