“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
The quote by Leon C. Megginson speaks with a certain truth about the demands of today’s companies. Business agility or the need to have an agile workforce planning are terms that are becoming more and more popular. But what do they mean?
What is Agile Workforce Planning?
The ability of an organization to change its direction or to adjust itself in order to operate successfully is what we call agility. An agile company can:
- Adapt quickly to change, both from the needs of its employees, and the market itself;
- Respond quickly and effectively to customer demands;
- Adapt and lead change in a productive and profitable way without compromising quality;
- Be continuously in a competitive advantage.
Why is it important to be agile?
Adopting an agile workforce model is important because it provides a strategic and competitive advantage to companies and brings far-reaching implications. Being able to react more quickly to changes in both internal and external dynamics puts you ahead of your competitors who do not have the same agile approach.
How can a business become more agile?
One of the first necessary conditions to achieve an agile workforce is technology. It’s easy to see that the second major aspect needed to build an agile business is workforce optimization through a WorkForce Management (WFM) tool.
The Agile Future Forum (2013) describes agile work as a set of practices that enable companies to establish an optimal workforce and provides the benefits of better matching resources and demand for services, increases productivity, and improves talent attraction and retention. These practices cover four dimensions:
- Time: When are employees working?
- Location: Where are the employees working?
- Role: What do employees do?
- Source: Who is employed?
Although technology is a necessary condition, it is not enough. To understand all benefits from an agile workforce, companies will have to think differently about how to do and manage work, how workers are involved and how their skills and knowledge are applied, and, finally, how the know-how and behavior patterns management should change in different parts of a company.
It is then essential to have a carefully trained and intelligently distributed work team. It’s in this context that WFM has been gaining increasing importance in the strategic decisions of companies, particularly in Agile Workforce Planning.
4 critical elements of Agile Workforce Planning
- Cost reduction
By creating an agile workforce, your company will be able to ensure that you only hire workers with highly specialized needs and only when they are needed. Not only can you avoid the financial commitment of full-time workers who are not needed all year round, but you can also hire and manage your workforce more intelligently.
A leader, being from HR or not, always needs critical knowledge. It is essential to have a solid understanding of how the company is doing in what planned hiring goals, compensation budgets and other key business goals are concerned. With an awareness of where deviations may be occurring in the plan, the HR leader can best support the organization’s goals.
- Culture of trust and learning
Companies need to move from traditional hierarchical structures to those where employees feel confidence from their managers and where they have the freedom to manage their work in their own way. By developing a relationship of trust between the company and its employees, they will have the courage to take risks, and their willingness to experiment with new methods to increase productivity and value will skyrocket.
The skills sought by the market are evolving at an ever-increasing pace. In recent years, high-paying jobs that did not exist until then have emerged, such as data scientist, for example. Agile workforce management makes it a priority for all levels of the business to provide their input, collaborating in the creation of a workforce plan capable of keeping the company abreast of critical competencies.
The attributes of agile workforce management mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a huge possibility, and by working in this way, you can support your organization in fulfilling its workforce strategy, while keeping abreast of any changes inside and outside the company.
SISQUAL already has in its portfolio a solution for each one of these points and will be able to help you plan your workforce in an effective way. We have 28 years of experience in various sectors and countries such as Portugal, Brazil, Spain, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Poland. Do not hesitate to contact our team here. We will be happy to help you achieve maximum effectiveness with your teams.
Written by Cristina Meireles
Cristina Meireles has a special interest in marketing, psychology, HR and Employer Branding. She has found in WFM a way to improve the quality of life and productivity of employees, being a strong ally in motivational campaigns. She has a degree in Languages and Business Relations from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto and is currently attending the masters in digital marketing from ISCAP.