According to Jim Link, chief human resources officer for Randstad North America:
“Companies are embracing the idea of an agile workforce as a result of shifting attitudes from workers themselves…nearly half (46 percent) of workers surveyed said they chose to become an agile worker, with another 28 percent saying it was the best option for them.
…[And] 9 in 10 (89 percent) employers and 92 percent of workers agree that by 2025, companies adept at managing a mix of traditional and agile talent will be most successful.”
But what does it really mean to have an “agile workforce,” especially if you’re a learning and development (L&D) professional? Continue reading to learn more.
What Is an Agile Workforce?
According to Accenture, “Bold leaders create a future workforce that constantly adapts and reforms to the world as it changes. The key to workforce agility lies in a strategy that puts people first, enabled by technology. With an eye on business outcomes, leaders will develop talent strategies that help liberate human potential to shape an agile workforce—one able to confidently face the changes ahead.”
Essentially, an agile workforce:
- Relies on data, technology, and talent strategies
- Puts people first and enables them to innovate
- Monitors and manages business outcomes
- Adapts to an ever-changing business world
Read 4 Ways L&D Departments Are Becoming More Agile for even more information.
Benefits of an Agile Workforce
Developing an agile workforce relies on contract-based work and freelance employees. Currently, about 57.3 million people are freelancing in the United States, and this number is only expected to increase in coming years.
Existing research indicates that more agile organizations will be able to better acquire skilled labor and freelancers in the future, and that 83% of business leaders believe that contractors are more productive than employees.
Remote employees can work various hours from various locations and tend to be much more productive overall. And this can positively impact an organization’s bottom line, and so much more.
What You Need to Train and Develop More Agile Employees
If you want a more agile workforce, you’ll need to train and develop more agile employees. Here’s what you’ll need.
Appropriate and customized technology implementation. As your workforce becomes more remote, you’ll want to invest in systems and technologies that it can access from remote locations. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that such technology is customized to their individual needs as users, as well as the needs of your overall organization.
And all implementations will need to be cloud-based, optimized, accessible on mobile devices, integrated with other appropriate infrastructures and systems, and able to hold predictive capabilities—if you want your employees to remain agile.
Strategic talent management. When developing your agile workforce, you’ll need to create a talent management strategy that outlines how your pool of employees will remain diverse, how you’ll upskill them and cross-train them on a regular basis, how you’ll boost their leadership development, and so on.
Overall, it will become imperative that you have a constant stream of new hires or contractors, as well as an overarching retention strategy regarding how you can use and enhance the skills and expertise of your existing staff. Developing a strategic talent management plan is the only way to future-proof your organization as it becomes more agile.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, which outlines additional things you’ll need to train and develop more agile employees.