The irony of workforce management: Critical versus critical

Rabia Dhody | January 25,2013 11:47 am IST

It has been over more than 14 yrs.’ of my experience in human resources domain and I still feel we as corporate houses fail to distinguish between our critical resources and critical Business positions!

The biggest challenge is to do crisis management in the need of the hour and in light of organizational Success, Let us understand how we define the work “Critical”.

Critical at workplace to me is something whose failure will result in the failure of business operations”. It is imperative to know which jobs are those jobs that will help the organization maintain or develop its distinct competitive advantage.

For Organizations management , it is the most critical to address this to ensure you are planning for the workforce in the best possible manner, Are the employees currently adorning the positions critical or are they adorning Critical positions? Is a question well and frequently asked! Identification of a critical position in your organization is simple:

1. A job’s expected contribution to long-term organizational success. Which means Position is a key contributor to the organizational mission.

2. The criticality and/or unique contribution of a job to achieving on-going long-term objectives, which means Position performs task critical to vital functions. Leaving it vacant would hinder or prevent success of mission.

3. Specialization:The difference in contribution level between having an average performer and a high performer in the job.Position provides specialized leadership or skills that are difficult to replace.

4. High Turnover:The Position is one in a class or occupational group vulnerable to high turnover.

The challenge is not only to identify what are the critical positions in your organization, however also the critical resources, How do you identify who and what are your critical resources? Are all employees adorning the critical roles connected as Critical resources? Or all team members performing well in their roles result in us deciding those are the critical position. This quandary lands up organizations in a bigger mess, when they are under crisis and need it the most.

How then do we classify and nurture our critical talent? These pointers shouldhelp:

A critical resource to my mind is the one who

1. Either Is a source of generating high revenues.

2. Has specific technical / functional skills which are difficult to find in market/ difficult to replace / holding specialized knowledge.

3. Has sensitive company information hence imperative to retain.

4. Has the potential for taking higher level roles in same business/ other business verticals, Has the potential to develop leadership skills, handle teams ,Multi task.

5. Has strategic bent of mind and demonstrates potential to grow

Let us take this step forward to ensure we map our workforce and organization clearly in the times to come! Happy structuring!!!



Rabia Dhody is an MBA from University of Pune, and is currently working as Vice President in for the last 2 years. Prior to Jabong she has worked as Motricity- HR Head South Asia, HR Business Partner with Dell India and as manager with Reliance Capital - Life Insurance Division....