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(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad Technology, a provider of strategic onboarding solutions to drive workforce readiness and organizational transformation. They were recently recognized as one of Chicago’s Best Places to Work. Congrats to them. Enjoy the article!)
Every day, more people are getting vaccinated and looking forward to their personal and professional re-entry. However, that doesn’t mean we’re all going to simply go back to the way things used to be. Too much has happened. This is an important issue that businesses should not ignore.
When the pandemic first started, organizations had to make quick decisions and not everything went according to plan. But I believe that employees, customers, and everyone else tried to be very tolerant and empathetic. That was then, this is now.
Organizations have been operating under this scenario for over a year. During this time, customers changed their expectations and spending habits. Employees changed the way they feel about work. Unfortunately, it’s possible that organizations didn’t adapt fast enough to the changes around them, according to a new report from SilkRoad Technology titled “Full-time Flexibility: Do employees feel supported working from home?”.
One of the biggest takeaways for me from the report was that 2 in 5 office workers plan to look for new job opportunities based on how their employer handled the pandemic. This aligns with other articles we’ve recently seen about the labor market. An article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests that up to a quarter of workers plan to quit their jobs once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey says that one in three employees don’t want to work for an employer that requires them to be onsite full-time.
So, what does all of this mean? I know that organizations are very focused on economic recovery right now. However, organizations need to start thinking about their talent strategy as part of that economic recovery.
Talent Strategy is a Key Component of Business Strategy
The good news is that talent and business performance have always been intertwined. And the solution for both is intertwined. We’ve been talking for a while about how business agility is important to business success. Organizations need to be able to quickly react to changing business conditions.
Well, the same holds true for talent. Organizations should adopt an agile talent strategy that allows them to react quickly to the changes in the labor market. Here are three components to consider in developing an agile talent strategy:
WHERE we work. Before the pandemic, working remotely was more of the exception than the rule. Then during the pandemic, remote work – specifically working from home – became the norm for many. Moving forward, organizations have the ability to create a best practice in terms of a hybrid model. The question becomes what does that hybrid model look like?
I wish there were some concrete answers to share regarding the right balance of remote and onsite work. Even the SilkRoad report notes that organizations haven’t reached consensus in this area just yet. But that doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t consider a hybrid work environment. What it does mean is that it could take some trial and error to find the right balance for your organizational culture.
WHAT we work on. During the pandemic, 63% of employees took on new responsibilities, according to the SilkRoad report. Totally makes sense – everyone just did whatever it took to get things done. But given the statistic, it’s time for organizations to look at existing jobs. Make sure the right people are doing the right things and make any necessary adjustments to work responsibilities.
This has a cascading effect on other talent related activities. HR departments will want to reevaluate whether to buy, build, borrow, or use bots when it’s time to hire. Ideally, they should be looking at all four strategies. Managers should be provided with the training and tools to effectively manage a remote workforce. The SilkRoad report noted that over half of workers wanted more support from their employer. Finally, onboarding programs should be adapted for a hybrid work environment. If organizations want employees to be successful, they have to spend time setting employees up for that success. We all know that starts on day one.
HOW we get things done. There’s a McKinsey study that reported the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation by as much as seven years. While that can be an overwhelming statistic, it’s equally important to remember that all digital transformations are not equal in terms of results.
The SilkRoad report cites that the reason digital transformations efforts often fail isn’t because of the technology but rather because organizations didn’t make the investment in people, who are responsible for executing the transformation. If we think about these three components – where we work, what we work on, and how we get things done – it’s a good reminder that organizations will need to invest in learning, training, and development to ensure ongoing business success.
Agile Talent Strategy is the “Next Normal”
I totally understand that organizations are anxious to get to the next normal. Lilith Christiansen, chief strategy and product officer at SilkRoad Technology, reminds us it won’t happen overnight. “Our current environment and the change and disruption we’ll all continue to experience presents an opportunity for organizations to redesign their employee experience or talent strategy.”
The good news is that data – like the data found in this SilkRoad report – can help us identify where to focus our talent strategy. Christiansen reminds us that organizations need a successful talent strategy to have a successful business strategy. “We should continue to deliver intentionally designed experiences as well as a cadenced delivery of content, learning, and performance conversations. We also need to prioritize flexibility over rigidity in our approach to where work gets done. If we are to be successful in the future, we must increase our focus on communication, inclusivity and alignment, and adopt more outcome-oriented performance strategies that drive engagement and contribution.”
If you would like to learn more about how to align your talent strategy with technology, join us on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 11a Central / 12n Eastern for a webinar on “Aligning Your Organization’s Talent Strategy with an Agile Technology Strategy”. And as always, if you’ve already got something booked during that time, sign up anyway and get the recording. It’s going to be a good conversation.