Every company does an inventory at some point. Retail companies need to do them regularly, as do manufacturing firms. Companies that are mainly administrative need to inventory supplies and assets. Corporations need to inventory to be accountable to their shareholders. The need for an inventory process is clear, but what do you include on the list when you do your company inventory? If you’re manufacturing or selling a product, it’s easy to come up with a list of materials or finished wares that need to be counted, but what about the people who work for you? Should they be counted on your inventory? It may sound strange, but the answer is yes.
The objective of any inventory is to come up with numbers that tell you what you are taking in and what you’re spending to get it. Far too many companies look at the cost of raw materials and the wholesale pricing of retail goods, but then keep employee salaries and benefits as a separate number. You can do it that way if you like, but how will you know when the time comes where to make cuts if you start to take losses? Your product inventory will break down by department. Why not your personnel inventory also? The people themselves aren’t numbers, but the salaries you pay them are.
The employee inventory process begins with applicant tracking software in your human resources department. By tagging each of your employees in a certain category when they’re hired, you’re better able to see how many in each category are assigned to each department. If you have ten machine operators in your plastics division and plastics is losing money, you know one area where you can make cuts. Without an applicant tracking database, you won’t be able to inventory where those machine operators are and you might make cuts in the wrong places.
If you’re a new company, it’s much easier to implement this. Buy some job recruitment software and start from scratch. If you’ve been established for a while and don’t have a system in place, you’ll need to create one. That starts with an inventory of your employees. Go through your files and talk to each of your supervisors. Find out who does what and how long they’ve been working for you. When you inventory the products for a department, make sure there’s a list of the production and support people who are responsible for those products. Get it all down in one database and you’ll have a more accurate picture of what your company consists of.
The top applicant tracking systems have categories and sub-categories that you can use to run reports. When someone is assigned to a certain department, make sure it’s logged. If they are moved or promoted, log that too. Use the subcategories to list the products or services they are responsible for. Once it’s all in one place, you can do your personnel inventory in minutes. That should make the shareholders happy.