Business Flexibility: How to Build an Agile Workforce in 2022
2 min read
The economy has changed dramatically in recent years. Organizations now have to deal with increased competition, fierce workforce shortages, shrinking product life cycles, rapidly evolving customer expectations, supply chain issues and even pandemic restrictions that force projects to go on hold.
What does this all mean? Today’s organizations need to be more agile than ever before.
While business agility comes from a number of factors, the absolute pillar of agility is a company's workforce. Building a workforce made of the right people will improve culture, promote organizational growth and ensure your business is flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions.
The Management Study Guide says this about business agility: “An organization is agile only when its workforce is agile. Not only leaders and top managers need to exhibit agility but also the employees at all levels of hierarchy. And this is possible only when people feel empowered; develop multiple skill-sets; show willingness to take challenges; and experiment and innovate. In short, they need to be agile.”
So, what is workforce agility and what does it mean for your organization?
What is workforce agility?
Workforce agility is a company’s ability to alter its direction, work on new projects or adjust its operations to successfully meet new market conditions, address new challenges within the industry and meet current customer expectations.
Workforce agility is being driven by the rise in contingent workers. In fact, a study from CXC Global found that 77 percent of executives believe freelance and gig workers will “substantially” replace full-time employees within the next five years.
Some of the world’s biggest companies have used the contingent workforce to increase their agility in recent years. For example, tech giant Microsoft has two-thirds as many contractors as employees.
Organizations that successfully build agile workforce realize benefits, such as:
Increased flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions, new projects and address new challenges.
Improved access to specialized talent, as-and-when it’s needed.
The creation of a company culture that puts an emphasis on continuous improvement.
By utilizing the contingent workforce, which is made up of freelancers, contractors, consultants and other non-employee workers, businesses are able to acquire talent for specific projects or certain time periods. This allows businesses to adapt their workforce for current requirements and save money on their employees.
✔️ Put an emphasis on an agile culture
To truly be agile, businesses need to build a culture that focuses on growth and flexibility. That means creating a company culture that emphases cross-functional promotion, learning new skills, and switching roles as-and-when needed.
Being agile isn’t just about bringing external workers into your organization when needed, it’s also about promoting, training, developing, upskilling and reskilling your existing employees who grow as your business grows.
✔️ Retain your internal talent
When your seasoned employees leave your business, most companies will be left with a skills gap that needs to be filled. Yet finding skilled workers is becoming increasingly more difficult and competitive, especially with the Great Resignation having some serious effects on the job market.
To prevent future disruption and to ensure your organization has the skills and expertise needed to adapt to future market conditions, put a focus on retaining your existing employees.
✔️ Make sure you have visibility and control over your workforce
Managing a workforce is becoming increasingly complex. Businesses are frequently losing visibility and control over their externally-sourced workers, and that’s set to only become worse as companies increase their usage of the contingent workforce.