Monitor, Evaluate and Adapt

graphic of the Workforce Optimization Cycle showing the 6 stages: Assess Your Business, Project Labor Demand, Workforce Gap Analysis, Develop Workforce Strategies, Communicate & Implement, Monitor, Evaluate & Adapt

The sixth and final stage in the Workforce Optimization Cycle (WOC) emphasizes the need for businesses to monitor, evaluate and adapt to changes within the new workforce Landscape. As Minnesota businesses continue to open, ramp up and implement new strategies, it’s important to establish metrics to measure the effectiveness of these new strategies. Routine self-checks and reflections can mean the difference between an employer who has the potential to become a champion within their industry and an employer who faces challenges with bouncing back to business as usual.   

Monitor progress against milestones

When considering how to monitor and track the progress of a project or task, employers must first define milestones. “Milestone management” (see more at refers to the monitoring of specific points during the timeline of a project or development of a business strategy. It’s important for employers to monitor milestones to measure the success of the implemented strategies put in place. Employers who regularly monitor their business operations have the advantage of detecting early signs of problems that might serve as a barrier to successfully operating their business.

It’s necessary to separate essential milestones from less essential milestones. Essential milestones include the launch of a new product or workforce development effort, its impact towards the target market, and the value for the employer in terms of company growth and standing within its industry. Milestones help establish the platform to measure progress. Without milestones, it’s easy to deviate away from the company’s overall goals.

It is just as important for employers to master the art of collecting essential information to evaluate and measure against milestones that have been established.

Assess continuous improvement

Once a business has established milestones, it’s easier to identify areas for improvement. Factors for employers to consider when assessing areas for improvement include the following.

Employee Satisfaction

For some employers, the level of employee satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) is often overlooked. During the current crisis, many employers might have the false belief that employees are happy with just returning work and that bringing workers back is the extent of what is needed to maintain employee loyalty. Employers who have this mindset can quickly see the level of satisfaction among employees decrease which, can result in a high rate of turnover of its workforce. In fact, companies that consistently check the level of satisfaction among their employees will most likely see satisfaction increasing overtime. Employees will feel that they are valued and respected by their employer. An example of checking employee satisfaction can be the occasional employee survey or internal focus groups. If you do a survey or conduct a focus group, be prepared to act on what you lean. Your employees will want to know the results and will want to see improvements made. Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is a great resource when building surveys and internal focus groups.

Customer Satisfaction

Checking customer satisfaction is just as important as regular checks on employee satisfaction. Research done in 2005 by Bain & Company found that 80% of company respondents reported delivering superior customer service while only 8% of their customers agreed. An employer’s false confidence regarding customer satisfaction could affect the business’s ability to really listen to what customers are saying, due to the assumption they are providing good customer service. It’s important for employers to collect constant feedback and not rely on assumptions. Employers should make sure reach out to their target market as a way to keep up with customer demands and perceptions. Such methods of reaching out include surveys and focus groups. Positive ratings of services or products can also be indicators. Examples of information to collect from a survey:

  • Quality of service or product offered
  • Website and user experience
  • Level of customer loyalty

Return on Investment: Working from Home

Does offering employees the option of working remotely from home help employers save money on expenses such as renting space? Are employees more efficient with their time when working from home? Do employees communicate this perk with non-employees resulting in an increased interest in working for the company? A company’s return on investment (ROI) goes beyond financial impact. ROI could include investing in on-the-job policies not previously in place such as workplace quality improvement and procedures for increasing employee safety.

Adjust the plan and make course corrections

As employers monitor and evaluate milestones, it may be necessary to adjust the original strategy and adapt to changes and unexpected issues. You might have heard the phrase mid-course or halfway point corrections. During the halfway point, it’s time for employers to take a look at their strategies and course of action and make changes as needed. For employers, this is the opportunity to:

  • Review original strategy/plan – accessing the impact and success of applied strategies to date
  • Establish location on timeline – has the company’s actions brought it closer to its vision?
  • Determine future work to reach intended goals

In a nutshell, this is the time and opportunity to determine if your organization’s strategies align with the direction you want your company to go. If you find that your company’s strategies and vision no longer run parallel to each other, it’s time to reassess.  

Address new workforce issues

With businesses returning to a new type of normal,  increased reliance on technology has changed the workplace from even a few years ago. Equipment such as mobile devices and remote work made it possible for many employees to work either in the office or at home and produce the same results. The increased use of social media to connect to target audiences has proven to be beneficial to employers and many have multiple social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. CareerForce, of which DEED is a leading partner, has hosted virtual career fairs – and seen huge interest in employers who want to reach out to job seekers through these online events. Employers are thinking ahead of the curve in regard to the future change of their workplaces due to the increased use of technology.

Other workforce issues employers are now focusing on include employee access to physical and mental health resources, the addition of younger members of the workforce, such as Generation Z, in the workplace, and meeting the expectations of a diverse workforce. More employers are looking at their HR and talent acquisition department to figure out what topics will be at the forefront in the future and how to quickly adapt to changes to become or remain an employer of choice in their industry.

Consider reevaluating every 30 days and pivot accordingly

For employers interested in re-evaluating in shorter increments, they can consider looking at their business strategies monthly. The traditional length for business plans are traditionally one, two or five years. The benefit of using 30-day evaluation during the time of transition is the probability of identifying issues sooner and modifying the action plan accordingly. Industries that might benefit from a 30-day re-evaluation of their strategies include information technology, manufacturing and healthcare; three of the highest growth industries in Minnesota.  In addition, due to rapidly changing workforce needs and economic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses in other industries may also find more frequent evaluation helpful.

Workforce Strategy Consultant Authors:

Adesewa Adesiji – Twin Cities Workforce Strategy Consultant

Della Ludwig – Central Minnesota Workforce Strategy Consultant

Related content:

Main Workforce Optimization Cycle page

Previous Workforce Optimization Cycle blog post in series: Communicate and Implement