4 Ways to Boost Workforce Agility and Become a Future-Ready Organization

4 Ways to Boost Workforce Agility and Become a Future-Ready Organization

In today’s fast-paced world, one of the biggest challenges is predicting and preparing for the future, especially when it comes to the world of work. Embracing workforce agility has now become a necessity for organizations to thrive and adapt to changes quickly and efficiently.

 SHRM defines workforce agility as:

“An organization’s ability to alter its direction or adjust to operate successfully. An agile organization requires its workforce to swiftly adapt to the changing needs of customers, employees, and the marketplace. Being agile is a challenge HR should embrace.”

With that said – adaptability, speed, and resilience are critical in how organizations manage their talent today. To prepare your people for the future, leaders will need to encourage employees to embrace change, prioritize learning and development; and take on new opportunities as they come. Here are a few ways you can boost agility and enable a future-ready workforce.

Adopt a Talent Sharing Mindset

Building an agile workforce starts with a culture of talent sharing; in which leaders support and encourage the sharing of talent across all departments of the business.

Nonetheless, moving from a culture that is accustomed to talent hoarding to one where talent flows freely can be quite a challenge. According to Deloitte, 46% of HR leaders see managers resist internal mobility because they want to keep the best talent on their team. To facilitate this shift in culture, you will need to focus on changing this mindset.

It’s important to educate managers to help them recognize the value of talent sharing, and how it can ultimately fuel internal mobility, productivity, and performance. While managers may naturally be concerned about ‘losing’ high-performing employees to other departments, on the flip side, they will also have increased visibility and access to talent across the business. As a result, employees will have the opportunity to expand their skill sets and gain new experiences, resulting in higher engagement and boosted productivity – making it a win-win situation for all.

4 Ways to Boost Workforce Agility and Become a Future-Ready Organization

Prioritize Employee Learning & Development

Skills needed in the workforce are constantly evolving, which is why continuous learning and development are key for future planning and ensuring employees’ skills are sharp and up to date. With the market changing so rapidly, enabling employees to have the knowledge and skills to adapt and respond to change effectively will set your organization up for success.

Of course, as the future is uncertain and unpredictable, it can be difficult to anticipate what skills and jobs will be needed in the future. However, offering employees ample room for development will boost their confidence and help them feel more prepared to take on unexpected change.

Carole Torres, former SVP & Chief Learning Officer at KeyBank recognized how crucial it is to prepare people for job disruptions and help the organization outperform competitors. In KeyBank’s journey to stay future-ready, they invested in a Talent Marketplace to enable employees to acquire new skills and build on their experience. Carole Torres says:

 “Future-Ready means we’re an organization that embraces technology and change, so that we can become more digital, productive, agile, and really have that growth mentality, and so that we can focus on our clients and maintain our strong culture here at KeyBank.”

Prioritizing employee development will allow your people to thrive in changing environments and create an adaptable, agile workforce that embraces change instead of fearing it.

Implement Skills-Based Strategies

Skills are the new currency for agile workforces. Research indicates that more organizations are starting to see the value in agile skills-based strategies, and those that are already embracing a skills-based approach have a major competitive advantage. This new model of work takes on an employee-centric view, where employees are valued for their skills rather than their job title or level. It focuses on individual skill sets and matches employees to tasks and projects based on their skills, capabilities, and interests.

This approach widens an organization’s talent pool immensely. Leaders can optimize their existing workforce by having clear visibility into all the skills, capabilities, and knowledge employees have to offer. According to Fuel50’s Global Talent Mobility Research, organizations that have implemented agile skills and a project-based workforce see increased innovation, speed, and efficiency due to being able to draw on the required skills both internally and externally.

This enables your workforce to pivot in response to rapid changes in the market, and transfer skills across other parts of the organization as needed, giving you a much broader, more diverse talent pool to tap into.

4 Ways to Boost Workforce Agility and Become a Future-Ready Organization

Build Talent Pipelines for the Future

How do agile workforces keep performance high in the face of change? By building a strong pipeline of talent that can move into new positions as the situation demands. This requires smart workforce planning and purposeful decisions that keep future preparedness in mind.

This also ties in closely with the importance of employee development, as continuous learning, reskilling, and growth are essential to equip employees with the skills they will need for the future. It’s about proactively preparing them for future roles within the organization and honing their skills to ensure they will be ready to move when the time comes.

Having an internal pipeline of talent not only shortens recruiting time and negates the need to search for candidates externally, but it also gives those employees a chance to advance their careers. Fuel50’s Global Talent Mobility Research found that organizations that have the right tools and technology to build talent pipelines were more likely to have:

  • Higher internal mobility
  • Higher employee productivity
  • Higher training and development spend
  • Lower voluntary attrition
  • Lower recruitment costs
  • Lower unfilled positions

Ultimately, boosting workforce agility is all about preparing your people today, so they can effectively adapt to the changing needs of tomorrow. That is when agility will be seen as less of a challenge and more of an opportunity to keep your organization ahead of the curve.