Book co-authored by Rothwell helps employers optimize their workforces

As organizations strive to maximize efficiency to meet stringent budgets, a general do-more-with-less mandate is no longer sufficient. Managers and executives must evaluate every process and every role and discard assumptions about how work gets done and who does it.

William Rothwell, professor of workplace learning and performance at Penn State, is co-author of a newly released book that advocates changes in hiring, goal-setting, learning and development, and performance management.

"Lean but Agile: Rethink and Gain a True Competitive Edge" (American Management Association, 2012) presents a system for analyzing work and selecting the ideal combination of cost-effective resources -- employees, consultants, contractors, temporary workers, vendors -- to accomplish it.

Rothwell’s co-authors are James Graber, managing director of Business Decisions, Inc., a talent-management technology and software company; and Neil McCormick, senior vice president at Talent2, a leading provider of human resources business process outsourcing in the Asia Pacific region.

"Lean but Agile" discusses the introduction, implementation and management of lean work and agile staffing methods while exploring the fundamental role technology can play in the transformation. Packed with practical advice, examples, guides, worksheets, diagrams and metrics, the book is intended to help leaders, managers and human resource professionals optimize their workforces while still achieving superior results.

“What’s different about this book is that we try to go beyond the old supply-and-demand thinking that has dominated workforce planning for so long,” said Rothwell. “We talk about planning for the work first, about measuring the desired impact on customers rather than just measurable work outputs, and about 54 alternatives to hiring full-time, 9-to-5 staff.”

Rothwell’s research interests focus on the competencies of workplace learning and performance professionals, succession planning and talent management. Some of his other books are "The Manager’s Guide to Maximizing Human Potential: Quick and Easy Ways to Develop Talent Every Day" (2009); "Effective Succession Planning," 4th ed. (2010); and "Invaluable Knowledge: Securing Your Company’s Technical Expertise-Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent, Transferring Technical Knowledge, Engaging High Performers" (2011).

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Last Updated January 09, 2015