Future-proofing your organisation

Fadzai Danha / Posted On: 13 September 2021 / Updated On: 28 September 2022 / Human Resources General / 126

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Future-proofing your organisation


Summary.

The changing face of employment is fast evolving under the continuous uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has produced for businesses. It is vital to future-proof your company now that the pandemic has disrupted practically every part of our lives. This article examines the key issues that today's employers can't afford to overlook if they want to be future-proofed due to the post-COVID-19's "business-as-unusual".

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Covid19 and change in the business world

While the COVID-19 pandemic was unwinding, many in various industries asked themselves, "How bad can it get?" Now that some recoveries are underway, leaders are increasingly wondering how good, how high, and how long the post-crisis bounce back will be. As a result of the pandemic's aftermath, businesses were obliged to restructure their workforces. This had a significant impact on how businesses may assist employees in adapting to the post-COVID environment, keeping up with changing job skills, and ensuring their safety. Covid19 changed the way work is done for good.

 

Relevance of the organisational purpose

As part of this workforce transformation, companies need to lean on their organisational purpose. You are setting yourself up for a corporate disaster if you fail to delineate organisational purpose for employees at different levels. HBR defined organisational purpose as "an aspirational reason for being that inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation and its partners and stakeholders and benefits local and global society." When all else is equal, a distinct purpose, when used appropriately, can help you win against your competition. It's even more helpful in times of uncertainty because it keeps you focused on a precise goal.


Organisational culture and business survival

In good and terrible times, doubling down on your company's beliefs may help you make the right decisions. A company's culture is the lifeblood of its success. It's especially important at times of crisis. The culture of a firm has always been the glue that holds it together.

 

The key to future-proofing your organisation

When all of the above challenges are taken into consideration, your company will be future-proofed. Future-proofing is defined as the practice of anticipating the future and devising techniques for minimising the effects of future shocks and strains. It's not just about what people do regarding future-proofing; it's also about how they operate. There's no denying that the workplace is changing. Companies who take advantage of the opportunity to retrain and future-proof their workforce while businesses recover from the pandemic will be miles ahead of their competitors. There are 10 key areas to consider to remain ahead of the game. They are discussed below:

 

1. Invest in workforce planning

The ongoing advancement of technology will determine the primary skill set required for your organisation's success. As a result, businesses must conduct workforce planning to identify present and prospective skill gaps in their staff. To assist your core talent and help them prepare for future difficulties and swiftly adjust to changes, build excellent succession planning and leadership development. Talent acquisition needs to outline how they expect the business and specific positions to develop with leadership and HR.

 

2. Start thinking ahead

Companies must begin to consider the competencies that will be vital in the world of tomorrow, not today. According to research conducted by Bain and others, less than 5% of an organisation's responsibilities contribute to more than 95% of its capacity to execute its strategy and achieve results. But which 5% are we talking about? Companies must reassess which talents will be most important in a more tech-enabled future, develop them in the current workforce, and actively recruit for them as we recover from a pandemic that has challenged beliefs about working productively. Well before Covid, innovative businesses began to do so.

 

3. Focus more on intangible assets

Businesses must be mindful of the increasing importance that brilliant people place on intangible parts of their entire remuneration package. Of course, concrete benefits such as a fair and equitable income, health insurance, a pension, and a bonus remain essential. However, intangibles are becoming increasingly important. These can include improving an employee's abilities to stay productive and grow, having the freedom to live a healthy lifestyle, and being provided with the opportunity to build the diversified networks that help us adapt to and profit from changes in the labour market.

 

4. Remember, technology is your friend

As a result of technological breakthroughs, the nature of work is fundamentally changing. However, most firms' approaches to labor planning and HR administration have remained largely unchanged throughout the last two decades. As companies rebuild their workforces in the aftermath of Covid-19, they must migrate into the digital world.

 

AI-enabled processes are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and employees worldwide. As more individuals transact and work in the virtual world after the epidemic, this trend will intensify. Unfortunately, few companies—or people—manage technology engagement in a coordinated manner, causing employees to distrust it and technology to underperform management expectations.

 

5. Tech Up the HR Function

Companies with vast workforces will have to rethink how they manage their staff. This will be especially true in the dispersed workforces that have been typical since the pandemic began. A model that relies too much on frequent human interaction will not be cost-effective from an HR standpoint.

 

People analytics will be used throughout the HR spectrum as firms collect more and more data on employees and contractors, including information on each person's abilities, performance, potential, and capacity to learn new skills and take on new jobs. Companies will recruit better, deploy, develop, and retain personnel at a lesser cost because of technological advancements. We are aware of no corporation that is fully utilising its worker data. The majority of companies have only scratched the surface.

 

6. Redefine What Great Looks Like

When the jobs people will be required to do in the future are substantially the same as the jobs they (or others in the organisation) are doing now, traditional employee-assessment procedures work well. However, if the nature of the work changes, these tactics fail, leaving organisations scrambling to find employees who can take on the new responsibilities. In the aftermath of the epidemic, our preconceptions about what success look like must alter, just like our beliefs about which skills are mission-critical.

 

Thankfully, new tools and techniques based on people analytics and behavioral science can assist firms in defining "what outstanding looks like" in a certain function and identifying individuals who either possess or could acquire the necessary skills through training. This enables businesses to design talent development and recruitment strategies to match their requirements.

 

Companies will discover that what people do and how success is defined must alter due to the pandemic. They'll have to hire employees who are accustomed to the new normal. Innovative businesses will use technology to help them figure it out today.

 

7. Don't Cut Back on Management Development

Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily eased labor shortages in specific sectors, many software engineering, digital design, and data science positions are still difficult to fill. As a result, the most outstanding organisations rely on management development, which is frequently aided by technology, to reskill their current workforces and cover at least some of their capability gaps with current employees.

 

The fact of the matter is that well-executed reskilling can assist. The research found that current employees may cover more than 60% of a company's future jobs if suitable initiatives are in place. Reskilling is also less expensive than the "fire and hires" paradigm for filling new business-critical roles. For starters, the direct expenses of severance associated with personnel cutbacks can be significant—as can the impact on surviving team members' morale. And finding fresh talent is costly, especially in high-demand fields like data analytics, digital marketing, and software engineering.

 

Companies may be tempted to cut training and development budgets during times of hardship. That, however, is not a wise decision. If anything, the pandemic will hasten the depreciation of professional skills, making it simpler to teach old dogs new tricks rather than finding new dogs who are already trained.

 

 8. Figure Out What Tomorrow's Stars Want from You

Even if the pandemic had not occurred, tomorrow's managers would have sought a workplace value proposition that was considerably different from what attracted workers ten or even five years ago. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. This generation desires everything: flexible hours, workplace diversity, engagement, autonomy, and a meaningful relationship with their employers. However, with the tragedy of Covid-19 still fresh in our memories, we've all rediscovered the value of meaningful work, supportive coworkers, and adaptable bosses.

 

In addition to excellent pay, they discovered that tomorrow's workers desire a strong sense of belonging to their firm and its mission. They want to be a member of a worthwhile organisation, such as making work easier for everyone. They want to feel included and valued, to be a part of a culture that encourages all employees to bring their best selves to work every day.

 

Talent management and planning should become more strategic, holistic, thorough, and data-driven. Organisations that rebuild using old analogue procedures will fall behind their more foresighted competition. Given how much time it will take to build a winning talent pool, companies must begin future-proofing their organisations today.

 

9. Look beyond the job specification

The way the employment market operates is changing fundamentally. Conventional CVs are a restricted tool for recruiting. Thanks to big data analytics and social media, we are getting more insight into someone's reputation and what they do. Instead of requiring restrictive criteria, firms will be free to recruit from a much broader pool of candidates. Job descriptions are likewise becoming more and more obsolete. Tasks and projects are evolving just as in positions in most organisations. As a result, the emphasis is on competencies, which are a combination of attitudes and values that the organisation values and some specific talents.

 

10. Always have a contingency plan

Many of the logistical challenges generated by remote working and managing a remote workforce were addressed during the first phase of the epidemic. The discussion then switched to whether companies needed to furlough some of their employees. Now, the focus is shifting to preparing for a return from isolation, which will differ by sector. Some companies offer staggered working hours or days; others are designing one-way systems and using technology like Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Team Meetings to replace face-to-face meetings eventually. Lessons can be drawn from the construction sector. They face significant project management issues for substantial civil engineering projects and rely on comprehensive procedures and tools to successfully organise their resources.

 

The need for organisations to constantly have provisions in place to stay innovative and adapt in exceptional circumstances has been highlighted throughout. At the lockdown start, 87% of the UK Reward Management Survey respondents said they had a business continuity strategy in place. When planning for the future, many businesses create four to five various scenarios, such as contemplating a slight improvement by the end of 2021 or later in the future and the impact on positions across the organisation.

 

11. Consider the long-term ramifications of your approach

Even though it is an employer's market, the cost of mis-hiring might be thousands of pounds. When the world is bracing for a challenging economic recovery, businesses must attract and retain the greatest individuals while also fitting seamlessly into their culture and shared values. While some companies have been able to avoid layoffs thus far, it is crucial to consider the cost of recruitment versus talent retention. Skills and expertise that have been lost may cause problems in the future.

 

12. Remain responsive and innovative

During the shutdown, several firms had to adjust and revise their strategies immediately. The necessary processes and technology went quickly from being "business-critical" to be "vital" for survival. The ability to be nimble and respond quickly to rapidly changing and uncertain conditions will be the defining capability of future businesses.

 

13. Establish a growth mindset

Employees' development will be aided, and their engagement with the organisation will improve if they are encouraged to learn new things regularly and are not frightened of being challenged. Training and learning opportunities relevant to your employees will enable them to participate in the succession process. Those eager to learn and are encouraged by their employers to fill existing and expected skill shortages.

 

Organisations should place the talent pool at the centre of the evolution to be ready for changing business requirements as new generations enter the buyer's market and the workforce. Investing in employees' self-directed personal growth while keeping them closely connected to the company's needs is the first step toward future-proofing your organisation and keeping up with the pace of change.

 

Conclusion

The search for new talent—with new capabilities—had to take a back seat to economic survival in Covid-19. Future-proofing is a type of insurance that all businesses require to be proactive rather than reactive. It's preferable to be prepared for a calamity now rather than wondering how you'll be able to prepare afterward.

 

Fadzai Danha is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a managеmеnt and human rеsourcеs consulting firm. Phonе +263 242 481946-48/481950 or еmail: [email protected] or visit our wеbsitе at www.ipcconsultants.com


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