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Enabling organisational agility through talent and people success

Over the past two years, the how, when, where and why of work have been challenged like never before. The way in which organisations responded to this disruption made all the difference in determining an organisation’s ability to succeed.

Enabling organisational agility through talent and people success

Research from McInsey during the pandemic showed that businesses that adopted an “agile model” were able to respond fast and accelerate through change, making them more successful.

How can your business create an agile model?

Read this article to learn:

  • How to reassess your talent strategies
  • How to embrace tablet mobility and evolve how work is done
  • How to set clear measures of success by connecting people intelligence to business goals

Content Summary

Why is this important?
What should you do?

The organisations that are thriving today are the ones that can accelerate through change. They are nimble and adapt quickest to their environment. They have an engaged, expert, and energised workforce and they can embrace the future at speed, because they have the culture, skills, flexibility, and intelligence to perform at the highest levels even as the world changes around them.

For many this is not something they have stumbled into because of the pandemic. Their organisational DNA had already put agility and people success at the centre of their HR strategy.

This article explores the talent strategies that fuel organisational agility and how they link to Talent and People Success.

Why is this important?

There is an explosive cocktail of disruption facing organisations

Over the past two years, the how, when, where and why of work have been challenged like never before. Organisations are facing huge disruption, exacerbated by the pandemic. This disruption includes having to manage a multigenerational workforce, address sustainability and shift to remote and hybrid working, Those that succeed will be the ones that respond quickly and are able to accelerate through change.

The Disruptors:

  • Pandemic Disruption
  • Personal Identity and Purpose
  • Flexible Work and Hybrid Working
  • Multi-Generational Workforce
  • Digital & Agile Transformation
  • Sustainability and Ecological Collapse

Yesterday’s approaches to talent management do not fit the disruption of today’s working world

In the modern economy, being able to execute brilliantly in new and unexpected ways, and quickly, is often the difference between success and failure. Now, as organisations grapple with adapting to be successful in a COVID-19-endemic world, many are asking if their traditional talent management processes and systems are fit for the modern workforce.

For many organisations the answer is no. Only 38% of organisations say they have HR tech that is fit for the modern workforce.

Agility is a key foundation for organisational success

Fosway research has tracked the rise of organisational agility for a number of years. It is now one of the critical drivers of organisational success with European HR professionals highlighting Business Agility as one of their top three business challenges for the past five years. But it took the pandemic to throw the practical importance of AGILITY into sharp focus.

McKinsey’s research adds to the weight of anecdotal evidence on this topic. Its research during the pandemic indicates that business units that adopted an ‘agile model’ were 93% more likely to report better customer satisfaction, 76% more likely to report better employee engagement, and 93% more likely to report better operational performance – compared to non-agile business units.

45% believe they are good at understanding the skills profile of their organisation

Great people power great agility, and skills power great people

Skills were already a critical issue, but the need to realign both organisation and operating model has magnified this further. But, in the wake of the Great Resignation, European organisations are struggling to attract and retain workers.

56% accelerated their skills agenda during 2020-21

In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, more than a third of all companies are reporting a dearth of skilled workers, according to an Ifo Institute survey3. The full scale of the challenge becomes apparent in a recent CIPD report4, highlighting that 39% of employers say they have ‘hard-to-fill’ vacancies.

The ‘war for talent’ is becoming intense and HR’s focus on building the right approach to solving the skills gap is intensifying.

This focus is revealed in Fosway’s HR Realities research:

  • 58% of organisations say the importance of skills increased due to the pandemic
  • 56% say the skills agenda has accelerated
  • 42% say the importance of talent mobility has increased.

With it becoming increasingly difficult to hire great people, the onus is on organisations to develop their own. This approach enables employers to retain workers and grow the skills they need now, but also to build the irresistible and magnetic reputation that enables them to attract the best talent in the future. And with 75%6 reporting they have significant skills gaps in their organisation, the pressure to resolve skills gaps is intense.

42% say the importance of Talent Mobility has increased in the past year

Most organisations have yet to embrace the opportunity of skills intelligence

The key to unleashing the full potential of the workforce, through work that matches personal aspirations and the organisation’s ambitions, is skills intelligence. This intelligence enables organisations to identify, validate, match, and personalise the connection of people to work opportunities and therefore the opportunities for them to grow.

In the past this process was manual. It included defining skills, assessing who had those skills, and then matching them to work. Personal development often relied on human tenacity, chance and serendipity.

Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are opening up new possibilities for powering an agile workforce through skills. No longer does it take months to define and classify skills libraries and skills ontologies. No longer does it take laborious manual intervention to match people to skills and skills to work. However, maturity in skills intelligence is low across organisations. According to Fosway’s 2021 skills research:

  • Only 7% of organisations have a fully integrated approach to skills across the people experience
  • Only 5% of companies believe they are effective at matching employees to new opportunities
  • 60% of organisations do not have consistent skills frameworks across their organisation
  • Only 16% always use skills to support employee career progression.

As a result, there is still significant room for improvement in delivering successful outcomes for employees, as well as for the organisation itself.

What should you do?

Reassess your HR approach through the lens of People Success

To deliver organisational agility, HR teams need to embrace a new wave of thinking that is much more empowering and energising for workers – based on ‘people success’.

HR’s approach to talent needs to release the potential of the entire workforce. Talent success includes everyone, is driven by transparency, harnesses intelligence, AI and machine learning and empowers people to connect with real opportunities in a much more fluid and inclusive way.

Old/Foundational New Differentiator
Workforce Planning Agile Talent Allocation
Talent Acquisition Flexible Resourcing
Succession Planning Opportunity Marketplace
Internal Jobs Boards Project & Gig Marketplace
Roles and Responsibilities Outcomes, Skills & Projects
Performance Management Getting Work Done: Teaming, Feedback, & Key Results
Appraisal Continuous Mentoring
Training Learning through Work
Onboarding Pre-Boarding & New Worker Acceleration
Personal Development Reskilling Et Upskilling
Employee Engagement Survey Employee / Worker Relationship (Intelligence + Action)
Career Pathways & Ladders Employability & Career Bridging
Compensation & Benefits Flexible Working / Incentives, Recognition & Rewards
Employee Assistance Resilience, Sustainability, Wellness & Wellbeing
Hierarchical Structures Organisational Fluidity, Teaming & Agility
Employer Brand Organisational Purpose & Belonging
Equal Opportunities Proactive Inclusion
Command & Control Leadership Intelligent Listening & Adaptive Servant Leadership
Competency Management Skills Inference & Total People Insight
HR Transaction Metrics Business Outcomes & Measures of People Success

Embrace agile Talent Mobility as a central pillar of your people strategy

Increasing and enabling mobility at scale is part of the secret sauce of organisational agility. And, if you want to get an unfair advantage in the war for talent – adopting talent mobility should be at the heart of your people strategy. But, adopting the mindset of talent mobility does come with challenges, especially when managers are used to having control. To deliver mobility effectively, managers, teams and individuals need to adopt a more democratic culture that enables an agile organisation. This requires trust, a growth mindset and an openness to rethink work.

Engage your stakeholders to mobilise THEM around your organisation’s drivers for agility

Talent mobility requires a culture shift in talent management. Empowering employees to make free decisions about which projects and gigs they get involved with is often at odds with the command and control management styles that still pervade many organisations today. One of the main barriers to enabling greater talent mobility is resistance from managers who do not want to lose their best talent to other projects in the organisation. Therefore, it is essential to align and mobilise stakeholders behind the organisation’s drivers and priorities for becoming a more agile organisation. It is potentially a huge change which needs to be managed tactfully and in collaboration with everyone, both in where and how it’s introduced.

Rethink work and working so opportunities are more accessible for your workforce

An important part of the evolution to an agile organisation is not only the move to a more open and transparent mindset, but also extending the concept of work beyond the traditional roles and responsibilities approach. Breaking work down into more discrete projects, gigs and assignments increases access to that work for more flexible and part-time workers. Using talent marketplaces to then guide shorter bursts of career development aligned with rapidly evolving business needs enables organisations to practically build capabilities through learning on the job and mentoring. Evolving how work is designed and deployed (gigs, projects vs role-dependent work) is a crucial step in the journey to an agile organisation.

Get AI and machine learning to do the heavy lifting

One of the most tortuous parts of leveraging skills for mobility was the level of manual intervention involved. AI is now the critical differentiator in organisations when it comes to creating agility. The ability of AI to accelerate each step of the talent mobility journey is pivotal, especially as the technology can infer and validate skills. Skills gaps can be assessed automatically, and proactive and inclusive recommendations can be made to individuals for work, learning and mentoring opportunities that match their aspirations – aligned to an organisation’s emerging priorities.

Focus on strategically important future projects, roles, work and skills

Emerging skills, work and roles are critical elements of an organisation’s future strategy and therefore need to be the focus for investment.

Using skills intelligence to understand the scale of skills gaps or latent, underutilised people potential is a useful place to start. Even before activating talent mobility, understanding the skills profile of the organisation, and its implications for workforce planning, resourcing strategies and investment in upskilling or reskilling, is one of the defining strategic conversations you can have with your business leaders.

Set clear measures of success aligned to individuals, teams, business units, customers, and the bottom line

Having clear and transparent measures of success aligned to individuals, teams and the organisation is critical to understand impact, value and effectiveness. Whilst people measure, such as the growth of skills, the speed to resource projects, employee attrition, retention and engagement are strong metrics, the most powerful are those aligned to organisational performance.

Set clear measures of success aligned to individuals, teams, business units, customers, and the bottom line

So, the alignment of business intelligence to people intelligence should also be on your agenda. Especially when understanding speed to competency and speed to value for projects as these are significant measures of organisational agility.

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