Agile transformation is the latest buzz in the HR industry. As organizations think about ensuring business continuity amid the ongoing health crisis, and more than 74% of businesses plan to shift to remote work in the post-pandemic world, the need to prioritize agility is higher than ever.
However, transitioning to an agile workforce is often easier said than done. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study showed that even big-name companies failed to achieve an agile workforce and experienced organizational disruption. About 90% of the surveyed companies struggled with agile transformations even after successfully launching small-scale initiatives. But what is an agile workforce? More importantly, what makes agile talent important for businesses? Understand what agile talent is and how you can revamp your business to complement it using this in-depth guide.
What is an Agile Workspace?
In the changing corporate landscape, business leaders are realizing that a new approach to project management is needed. With social distancing protocols and a large percentage of employees working remotely, managers need to draw on the most effective resources to get the job done. An agile workspace is one that is designed to support and maximize flexibility, creativity, and efficiency. This means bringing the most qualified people together to work on a solution, whether they are on-staff or contract workers. Consequently, cubicles are being replaced by more open, flexible desk arrangements (open spaces, private spaces, and room for collaboration), and people are using technology to connect and collaborate from remote locations. The focus is on creating an environment in which people can be creative and do their best work.
Why Talent Agility Matters
in the Digital World
Organizations can only accomplish what their people can accomplish—so attracting top talent is a critical part of success. The best workers are not satisfied with nine-to-five repetitive jobs; they want careers that will challenge them and in which they can grow and develop their skills. The agile workspace is the environment best suited to attract and retain this kind of talent.
How to Revamp Your Workforce
to Encourage Agile Talent
Here are some ways you can make your organization attractive to agile workers.
1. Go Digital
Use digital tools to foster productivity, creativity, and collaboration for workers who are on-site and those who are remote. “Most CFOs recognize that technology and society has evolved to make remote work more viable for a wider variety of positions than ever before,” said Gartner Finance Practice VP Alexander Bant.
Empowering your workforce with effective and efficient digital tools will help to attract and support agile talent. When going digital, it’s also essential to keep in mind that managers should be the first adopters of the technology to help them effectively manage their remote workers.
Technology managers should be aware of project management tools and time-tracking apps to help workers remain productive.
2. Embrace a Culture of Change
Agility thrives on flexibility. Before organizations can bring in agile talent to their pool, they must be willing to embrace a culture of change. This requires consideration of what they need to let go of, and what tools and processes they can integrate to achieve a higher success rate. While it’s nice to have standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, the ability to adjust depending on the current needs of the organization is also critical. Data from McKinsey shows that 70% of business transformations fail because culture change was not effectively factored into the mix.
With the unprecedented disruption brought by the pandemic, it’s all the more important for organizational leaders to nurture a business culture anchored on change.
3. Focus on Multi-Skilled Talent
The workforce is becoming more competitive, and agility and versatility will depend on the skills of each team member. Consequently, hiring multi-skilled talent is a cost-effective approach to agile talent management. Organizations can eliminate bulky organizational structures and can address setbacks as the workforce functions seamlessly between different departments and verticals. A workforce with agile talent and multiple skillsets also ensures that companies never have to rely on only one person to carry out a particular task.
4. Personalities Matter
Considering personality when hiring can help ensure an individual’s success and contribution to the organization. In addition to identifying hard skills, hiring specialists should also focus on desirable personality traits including empathy, motivation, self-confidence, and adaptability.
Organizations should also ensure the potential employee is a good fit for the company culture. Energetic, adaptable, and self-motivated individuals are more likely to function well in an agile workspace. Research has identified how personality affects how an employee is likely to adapt to agile working.
5. Encourage Collaboration
One of the common challenges that businesses face is dealing with bottlenecks that hamper productivity. Often, this results from the presence of work silos that isolate team members. By encouraging collaboration among different verticals, the organization can identify and resolve pressing and potential business challenges with higher efficiency.
Promoting agile collaboration ensures that people from different groups can work together to boost cross-team collaboration and organizational productivity. Collaboration also allows team members to have a better understanding of their roles and contributions, allowing them to become highly invested in the company’s success.
The workforce of the future will continue to be dynamic, and organizations must quickly adapt and build cultures that promote the growth of agile talent as an organizational methodology. When strengthened, this transition towards an agile organization can help alter the business DNA and propel it towards success. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of your business by exploring agile talent.
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Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 15,000 companies all around the world track time.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.