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Running Head: Strategic Plan Report

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Updated: May 3rd, 2019

Introduction

A strategic plan is a framework or platform that gives an organization a long-term focus and direction. It consists of long-term decisions concerning organizational focus and organizational operations. The main reason why organizations engage in long-term planning is to guarantee a competitive advantage in the future.

A strategic plan helps an organization anticipate challenges of the future and prepare for the same. Consequently, a strategic plan is a blue print that explains how the organization is to handle changing environmental challenges.

The strategy formulation process helps management to think out of the box. Such a process helps management to consider things that other organizations are likely not to consider or do not have the privilege of considering. What is implied is the fact that in a strategy process, the organization considers how to create a competitive advantage over competition.

Usually a strategic plan is a long or medium term plan, which usually encompasses a number of years depending on organizational preferences. In often cases, each department in the organization comes up with its own strategic plan.

Therefore, the marketing department, the sales and the Human resource department, among others, will come up with their own independent strategic plans. The human resource strategic plan helps aligning the human resource long-term objectives with the overall long-term objectives of the organization.

Queensland Department’s Strategic Plan

Strategic Focus

As is the case with Queensland department of education and training, their strategic plan covers the period starting 2010 to 2014. Of critical importance in any strategic planning is the vision and mission formulation. The major focus of the Queensland education department’s strategic plan is to accomplish the collective aims of giving children a good start; laying down a well-grounded educational foundation for children of Queensland.

Consequently, the vision of the department is “clever, Skilled and Creative Queenslanders”. This is where they want to steer their operations towards; the end they desire. Following from the Vision, the strategic plan spells out the mission statement as “To provide Queenslanders with knowledge, skills and confidence to maximize their potential contribute productively to the economy and build a better Queensland”.

Focus is on developing a critical pool of skilled and knowledgeable youth that will take up important positions in society and make a difference. To achieve this, the strategic plan spells out a number of values. Values are critical because they frame the culture or conduct that is conducive towards attainment of strategic objectives.

Strategic Objectives

In every strategic plan, there are clearly stated strategic objectives of the organization. The organization in this case is Queensland while the education department is only part of Queensland state bureaucracy. Consequently, the department’s strategic objectives have to be anchored on the strategic intents of Queensland as a state.

The strategic plan for Queensland’s department of education and training spells out the objectives for the department; the objectives outline the organizations aspirations for the four-year period. The department’s strategic plan illustrates its objectives as unitary and geared towards one overall objective i.e. providing education services and requisite resources for proper learning.

The objectives of Queensland department of education and training include:

  • To provide all children access to early childhood education
  • To ensure three out of four Queenslanders hold a trade training or tertiary level qualification
  • Develop Queenslanders who will power the economy of Queensland with creative ideas
  • To, through education, make young Queenslanders environmental conscious
  • Equip Queenslanders with knowledge to live healthy lifestyles
  • To promote equity and fairness in society

Environmental Scanning/ Analysis

Coming up with a strategic plan does not end at formulation of objectives and consultation with other stakeholders. To guarantee results there is need for environmental scanning before formulation, during formulation, during implementation and in the evaluation of the strategic plan. Environmental scanning consists investigating into factors both in the internal and external environment of the organization.

Internal environmental factors refer to issues relating to the organization in itself that inform its operations. In often cases, the organization has direct control or influence over the internal factors. The external environmental factors are those factors that the organization has no control over but they directly influence organizational operations.

Such factors are beyond the organization and relate to external actors in the organizational environment. To scan the environment or to analyze the organizational environment, managers use different tools. Such commonly used models or tools include PESTEL also called the global model and SWOT analysis.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT is an acronym of Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths are the strong points of an organization i.e. which the organization is advantaged in. These positive aspects, when properly harnessed and enhanced, can propel an organization to much greater height.

In every business organization, a number of things or factors either are still being developed or put the organization at a disadvantage.

In many organizations, there are elements, which tend to decline or diminish a business (Bohm, 2009). These issues originate from within a business and are put down as weaknesses in a SWOT matrix. Unless a business organization takes care of the weaknesses, they are likely to bring the business down or place it in a disadvantaged position in comparison to the competitors.

Opportunities can be defined as chances that an organization or individual can maximize in order to gain a competitive advantage i.e. overcome the pressure and intimidations of the competitor (O’Connor, 1884). Opportunities are external factors that a person or organization may have very minimal authority to influence.

Threats refer to factors in the external environment of an organization that are likely to affect the organization negatively (Griffin, 2007).

Queensland Department of Education SWOT Analysis

Strengths
  1. – Government’s strong partnership with industry
  2. – growth in the use of technology
  3. – strong partnership with Australian government and other states, which helps enhance service delivery in all aspects or as per roles assigned to the department
Weaknesses
  1. – Only 32% of Queenslanders accessing early child hood education
  2. – Higher proportion of children who are developmentally vulnerable
  3. – Gap between training outcomes for aboriginal, Torres straight Islanders and other Queenslanders
  4. – Rapid urban growth and diminishing rural population
  5. – Sparse geographical distribution of population increasing cost of operation
  6. – infrastructural challenges
  7. – high demand for staff
  8. – need to rethink recruitment and staff retention
Opportunities
  1. – Integrating kindergarten in the rest of the education programs
  2. – Agencies and community read to work with department
  3. – opportunities to use technology
Threats
  1. – Global economic downturn
  2. – Lack of skilled workforce to use advantages and opportunities in state industry and businesses

Human Resource Implications

The SWOT analysis in the strategic plan identified two human resource implications worth considering. These two strategic concerns include recruitment and retention of employee, leaning, growth and development of workforce.

Human Resource Strategic Plan. Brief Background

Recruitment and Retention of Employees

One of the key issues that the strategic plan identifies is need to identify and recruit able staff to drive growth. Before identifying staff to recruit, there is the tough challenge of attracting the right candidates. To enable organic growth in the department of education and training at Queensland, recruitment is fundamental. The Queensland labor market is very dynamic and competitive.

When the labor market of a nation is dynamic, it is very difficult to draw and maintain highly qualified employees that will make it possible for the organization to accomplish its purposes (Pieper, 1990).

The challenge for most human resource managers including the situation in Queensland department of education and training is to engage the right workers and assign them to the right situation or the right place. Further, the managers have the challenge of assisting recruits to work at most favorable level that provides the organization with an operational advantage.

Learning, Development and Growth

Employee development and growth as concerns have to do with capacity building for staff such that they are apt enough to meet the aspirations of the department. The department has very rosy dreams in terms of its vision for Queensland. However, only employees will drive that vision to fruition.

Therefore, there is need for mechanisms to ensure employees are trained and developed such that they are up to the challenge. Knowledge management will play a serious role in ensuring significant information is identified captured and dispersed in Queensland department of education and training. Such a process allows key information to be dispersed across the organization.

Proper information management coupled with training for employees ensures apt decision making in an organization (Harrison, 2005). According to Harrison (2005), the learning and development packages should enhance learning by focusing on realistic knowledge and instances with hypothetical resources accessible. In Queensland, there are people of different calibers.

Social equity is of critical value and employee development has to take into account the needs of say the aboriginal. The importance of every region’s language is fundamental in dealing in with different clients; given not all of them may be literate to understand a universal or national language.

Similarly, the sale of any region cannot be ignored because they form an important ingredient of what lead to the organization aggregate sale and ultimately revenue.

Human Resource Plan: Strategic Focus

In line with the identified human resource implication, the focus of the human resource department is on ensuring the organization has employees that will drive its strategic vision. Moreover, there is need to focus on developing employees so that they respond to the challenges that the department is facing.

Therefore, the vision of the human resource is to ‘avail and develop and human resource pool that will help drive the organizational vision of realizing clever, skilled and creative Queenslanders’.

Human Resource Policy Statement

Recruitment Policy Statement

The objective of any human resource policy is to entice the very good people and equally select the right person for the right positions in an organization (Wilson, 2005).

Wilson (2005) further notes that the aspiration in any good human resource policy is to facilitate the engagement of employees, who will uphold the company principles and objectives. A good human resource policy helps towards making employees trustworthy partners in bid to generate a competitive advantage for the organization (Olsen, 2006).

A particular employment procedure is intended to make certain an organization is continuously resourced by means of employees who think outside the box, embrace challenges and extend to turn out to be future leaders lashing an organization to achievement.

Queensland department of education and training will focus on identifying employees who have knowledge, skills and the confidence to drive the vision of the organization. To achieve this dream, the human resourcing managers will be guided by values outlined in the department’s strategic plan.

As an equal opportunity employer, the department will strive towards equity by giving marginalized communities opportunities that help build capacity. Equity is very important towards ensuring cultural diversity becomes instrument as opposed to an obstacle to success (Marsh, 1996).

Employee Development Policy Statement

An organization’s growth is dependent on the quality of employees that have been obtained through the organization’s recruitment process. The current organization’s approach to recruitment cannot accommodate the business changes due to a changing macro environment. Therefore, the human resource plan should encompass directions in terms of how to meet challenges posed by flux in the business environment.

Such changes result from government macro-economic policies (Weisbrod, 2000). These challenges can only be met through continuous learning and development of employees. It is only through training and development that organizational capacity is built to meet emerging needs.

Therefore, as the organization sets out towards new frontiers by the year 2014, there is need to focus on further education and development of the employees.

Queensland department of education and training highly believes that mutual relations between the employer and employees are critical if organizational objectives are to be achieved (Beesley, 1975).

It is the responsibility of the organization to make available fair and sound training opportunities to all employees for the purposes of dealing with knowledge, skill and soft skill gaps in the organization (Beesley, 1975). As a department, Queensland department of education and training is committed to continuous improvement.

Objective of the Human Resource Plan

In line with the aspirations of the Queensland department of education and training’s strategic plan, the human resource sector has to formulate objectives to drive the department’s vision. The two human resource implications identified are recruitment and retention of employees, then learning and development of the human resource; both existing and those to be recruited. Therefore, the human resource objectives are:-

  • To identify and recruit employees that will drive the departments vision
  • To put in place mechanisms that will ensure employee retention
  • To facilitate employee training and development
  • To align current employee expertise with the needs of marginalize groups in society

Necessary Resources and Implementation

To attain given objectives, there is need to translate them into tangible actions and thus need for an action plan. Each of the identified actions will require given resources in terms of materials, money, know how, time and work force.

To meet rising needs, the department who has to do a proper human resource audit to determine the human resource needs. The human resource audit would consist in analyzing current human resource needs and future human resource needs. Given the department is a government arm it has to take into account government policy.

Discussion by James (1997) indicated that government policy has a huge influence on the human resource needs of government organs. It would also consist in analyzing current human resource practices and streamlining them.

To achieve this, the department will have to spend on consultative meetings and crucially on engaging and independent human resource consultant. The reliance on an independent human resource consultancy firm to do the auditing is aimed at ensuring objectivity.

Once current needs and future needs have been established, the analysis will also guide in terms of comparing current human resource capacity against required human resource capacity. Once the gaps have been quantified, then a job analysis will have to done followed by drawing up of job descriptions. This activity can then be followed by a recruitment and selection drive aimed at meeting the shortfalls.

When it comes to employee retention, again there is need to survey the labor market and establish turnover trends. Once labor market trends are established, it offers room for the human resource officers to design total reward packages for the employees.

A good remuneration package takes into account the taxation regime in a country (Staple, 2002). A total reward scheme aims at ensuring all employee needs and aspirations are taken into account when designing the remuneration package.

The other activity that is crucial for the attainment of set human resource plan objectives is designing a training policy. The training policy should define how the department is to meet knowledge and skill gaps of its employees. The policy should translate into training plans.

The training plans should be based on proper training needs assessments i.e. well quantified and qualified training requirements. Moreover, there will be need to institute knowledge management mechanisms so that expertise in the organization may flow to benefit all employees and the organization at large.

Milestones for Monitoring the Progress of the Plan

Monitoring and evaluation are critical in ensuring a plan is on course. Consequently, in the human resource plan, there are given milestones that will indicate whether the plan is on course or not. The first milestone is doing a proper Human resource audit. Once the audit is done, then proper human resource needs will have been identified.

The second miles stone is recruitment and selection reform i.e. the methods of attracting and selecting employees changed to reflect the values espoused in the department’s strategic plan.

The final milestone will be coming up with a training policy, doing a needs assessment and coming up with a training and development plan. Training and development needs of employees should be factored when designing the total reward package.

Ethical Considerations

  • Ensuring equity i.e. fairness and inclusion in the recruitment process
  • Recruitment exercise has to comply with statutory and legislative stipulations
  • Ensuring fairness in job allocation
  • Commensurate compensations and equity in compensation packages.

Recommendations

  • Request for key positions that will be required initially to enable a start on recruitment activities
  • Engage external consultant to complete the plan
  • Develop a buddy program for managers who are not skilled in change management.
  • Identifying change management champions to assist managers to engage the strategic plan in the business unit.

Conclusion

All successful organizations are anchored on long-term decisions that are tailored towards delivering a competitive edge. Strategic planning provides a platform for organizations to think long term. Long term planning helps organizations to choreograph their operations towards acquiring an advantage against its competitors.

Considering the strategic plan by Queensland department of education and training, it provides strategic objectives that spell out the overall focus of the organization. Once clear strategic objectives have been formulated, they provide a locus or focus in all organizational operations. To translate the overall organizational objectives into operational reality, departmental strategic plans come in handy.

Before, during and after strategy formulation, environmental scanning comes in very handy. This paper identifies the SWOT analysis as the most common tool used in environmental scanning.

Further, during environmental scanning, it is emphasized that both the internal and external environment have to be thoroughly scrutinized. Proper analysis of the environment translates into formulation of plans that address the changing environmental factors accurately.

Reference list

Beesley, M. E. (1975). Industrial Relations in a Changing World. New York: Taylor & Francis Publishers

Bohm, A. (2009). The SWOT Analysis. Norderdedt: GRIN Verlag Publishers

Griffin, W. R. (2007). Fundamental of Management. New Jersey: Cengage Learning Publishers

Harrison, M. (2005). Learning and Development. London: CIPD Publishing

James, S. (1997). British Government: A Reader in Policy Making. New York: Routledge

Marsh, P. M. (1996). Cultural Difference: Self-Esteem and Pedagogy. Ohio: Bowling Green State University Press

O’Connor, A. (1884). Monopoly, the Cause of All Evils. New York: F Didot publishers

Olsen, E. (2006). Strategic Planning For Dummies. New York: For Dummies Publishers

Pieper, R. (1990). Human Resource Management: An International Comparison. Rome: Walter de Gruyter Publishers

Staple, R. (2002). Taxation. Indiana: Taxation Publishers

Weisbrod, B. A. (2000). To Profit or Not to Profit: the Commercial Transformation of the Nonprofit Sector. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Wilson, P. J. (2005). Human Resource Development: Learning & Training for Individuals & Organizations. London: Kogan Page Publishers

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