Interview with HR Expert: Staying Agile in the Future of Work
April 26, 2023
By Shatabdi Mazumdar
Post-COVID, innovation in organizational practices has become more prevalent. The pandemic has forced organizations to change their workforce, work patterns, and locations. Deloitte's Fast 50 CEO poll found that flexibility and agility in the workplace have increased the availability and benefits of diverse talent pools.
The ability to build an agile workforce can be a critical competitive differentiator for a company.
To implement modern and digital strategies, businesses need skilled, on-demand talent. In spite of traditional difficulties, a growing number of workforce staffing solutions have made utilizing flexible talent easier than ever for companies.
But, how do you build an agile workforce? What are some of the challenges and what would be the notable trends in the workplace of tomorrow? We talked with an expert Sandeep Chanana, Regional Head of Operations & HR at CM.com, to help understand these impending questions and their possible solutions.
L: With everyone exposed to more options for working, what are the obstacles leaders face while building an agile workforce and how should they overcome them?
S: Today, agility can suggest different things: cutting down headcount, or reskilling and upskilling people, or adopting different workforce models- could be a hybrid model, could be a third party model or a different recruitment model. But I think cross-functional delivery is something which is possibly making us more agile because of the scope for more learning.
At an initial stage, building agility can be met with some roadblocks. The most significant agile adoption barriers include inconsistencies in processes and practices, followed by, cultural clashes, general organizational resistance to change, lack of skills and experience, absence of leadership participation, inadequate management support and sponsorship.
Picture Credits: Digital.ai | 15th State of Agile Report
Over time, certain practices have been identified as indicators of agile maturity. In addition to key activities like daily standups and retrospectives, sprint planning and reviews also play an important role in agile approaches, and kanban boards have emerged as a significant method of visualizing workflows.
L: How could leaders align diversity equity inclusion goals in promoting an agile workforce?
S: The first and foremost suggestion would be to incorporate employee feedback. Communicating the biases and how to manage the bias creates transparency within the organization. To promote agility and diversity, you need to be acceptable to diverse opinions. Cross-cultural teams, cross-functional teams cross-rotational teams should be encouraged.
Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) is a critical component of an agile transformation journey. DEI and agile transformation require organizations to conduct assessments or audits to provide a data-driven understanding of their current state.e, at Lynk also recommend a company-wide employee feedback survey and address the outcome in terms of challenges faced.
When building DEI strategies, demographics across operating markets, domains, and sectors should be taken into account. It will help identify which practices, policies, and programs need to be emphasized, along with insights into which ones should be prioritized.
L: How should businesses manage talent among the market uncertainties and global economic crisis?
S: That's where technology came into play. The last two years have taught us diversification with a lot of businesses starting to move teams globally, and a lot of flexible options coming into play. For me, I would highlight 4 points: diversification as one; remote and hybrid culture being the second; moonlighting being acceptable as the third; and lastly skills.
The economic crisis can hinder the smooth running of an organization, but workforce agility platforms can help it adapt and thrive. Organizations need to position their employees to be productive and take on new roles and projects when it hires fewer people. Employees should be supported to expand their skills multi-dimensionally in turn helping to minimize the company’s overall talent acquisition costs.
L: Lastly, how do you see the future of work?
S: It's going to be very fluid. It's going to be less focused on functions and more focused on business values. Plus, the flexible options whether it be moonlighting, short-term projects or part-time projects are the kind of models that are going to live.
Speed and flexibility are the two most urgent reasons to adopt agile.
GenZ and millennials are seeking more flexible ways to work and businesses are embracing contingency work to improve efficiency; just adopting agile methods without deep understanding won’t transform your organization. In addition, the agile shift has its challenges, which, if not addressed correctly, will inevitably lead to a structural crackdown. As the infrastructure of the future of work, Lynk can help to build your agile workforce.
Learn how Lynk helps businesses build the talent network they need, and individuals unlock opportunities here.