Five major changes transforming the workforce

5 May 2021

Five major changes transforming the workforce

It’s hard to say how and if businesses would have ever evolved to the point that they have today without the COVID’s push. Regardless, the foot has truly been placed on the transformation accelerator and there is no turning back. Whilst some of the changes seen may be fleeting, many are here to stay. It is imperative that as businesses move beyond firefighting mode focus is given to adapting and responding to these changes.

So, what are the biggest shifts driving change across organisations?

1: New Leadership skills have emerged

The skills leaders required to be successful pre-pandemic have evolved. Whilst the list of emerging skills is ever-growing, two of the most prominent skills leaders need today are:

  • The ability to lead in unchartered waters. It’s the new normal that business leaders are asked to make decisions in a business environment no one has experienced. The old rules of experience-based decision-making, no longer apply and decisions are plagued with more risk than ever before. Leaders need to be even more capable of navigating choppy waters.
  • The ability to both be and build resilience. Whilst I hope the end is close and people are getting tired, leaders need to be able to support their teams to be resilient whilst they are working out themselves how they are going to deal with difficult situations. Empathy is now replacing know-how as leaders can no longer get out in front in ways they did before when the pace of change was less rapid.

Organisations need to carefully consider if these skills exist within their business and if not, need to consider plugging that gap through training or with new leaders.

2: Agile workforces have emerged as a frontline response to change

Change is inevitable but how businesses adapt to change can be make or break. To efficiently adapt to ever-changing business and client demands, agile workforces are becoming a core tool for businesses. With digital transformation and sustainability-driven change set to continue, the adoption of agile workforces will be key in maintaining commercial edge.

3: Remote and hybrid working are here to stay

Most companies have already made careful considerations of their best work locations for the organisation and their staff: Some, including PwC and HSBC, have announced hybrid models including part-time working from home, meanwhile others, such as Facebook and Twitter, have gone a step further by announcing plans to retain working from home policies after COVID. Whatever the new model, reconsideration of the approach to performance management, onboarding and developing colleagues, particularly those in early career, needs to be given.

4: Diversity is imperative to business success

There is a paradigm shift both in how diversity needs to be addressed and in the role leaders play in driving it forward. A desire to insight change coupled with its proven record of driving success means that we’re seeing more businesses place diversity at the heart of their talent strategy and reaping the benefits.

5: Reskilling the workforce is a critical priority

Digital transformation has accelerated at a pace quicker than the workforce has developed skills leaving a huge gap in the market. Whilst there is a whole market of talent waiting to be recruited, digital capability is in short supply. Organisations need to get creative about using multiple approaches to plug the gap.

Julia Litchfield is a director within the talent and leadership consulting division at NSCG. Working closely with clients to understand their business and talent challenges, Julia identifies talent strategies and solutions that deliver on the people outcomes needed to drive businesses forward.

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