Skip to main content

The Keys to Workforce Agility

The way the world works has changed dramatically in the last few years. Organizations across the globe were largely unprepared for the pandemic and the massive waves of change that came with it. From remote and hybrid working arrangements to the Great Resignation, organizational leaders are being put to the test.

Workforce agility has never been more important than it is now. Employers are fighting to keep their top talent and becoming more agile can not only help you find and keep the best employees, but it can also help you keep up with rapidly changing business demands.

There are several key areas that today’s employers should consider working on in order to improve their workforce agility.

Establish a skills-first mindset

‘Skills’ have become one of the most valuable currencies in the workplace. It’s critical that, as an employer, you’re able to identify the skills you have internally (and the skills gaps that need to be filled), in order to keep up with business demand and support sustainable growth.

In a recent webinar, Betsy Summers, Principal Future of Work Analyst at Forrester, talked about the value in deconstructing ‘the job’ and breaking job descriptions down into the actual work and specific tasks that need to be done.

This type of model lends itself to a skills-first approach, because it’s much easier to match specific tasks to people who have those skills, as opposed to perfectly matching an individual to an entire job description.

If agility is what you’re after, deconstructing jobs and shifting your focus to skills is a step in the right direction. Implementing a skills-first approach can help you make hires that will fill skills gaps, but it also opens up opportunities for your current employees to best utilize their skills and take on short-term projects (gigs) or even find a new full time role within the company.

Prioritize Internal Mobility

A high-quality, well thought out internal mobility program has many benefits. But when it comes to workforce agility specifically, talent mobility is like a ‘secret weapon’.

It’s common for employers to discover major skills gaps when large workforce shifts happen (e.g. when financial institutions were forced into digital transformation due to pandemic lockdowns). During times of significant change, needs arise within the business and then talent acquisition teams are tasked with filling roles with the right candidates, quickly.

A skills-first, internal mobility program can help fill those critical roles much faster than if you filled them with external new hires. You may already have employees on your team who have the right skills you’re looking for. Not only are internal hires much less expensive than onboarding brand new employees, but internal mobility programs are also known for increasing retention rates — an added bonus during a tight talent market.

The quicker you can fill roles and skills gaps with qualified candidates with the right skills, the more agile your business will be when the next big workforce change arises.

Focus on learning and development programs

Similar to internal mobility, learning and development programs can have a huge impact on the agility of your workforce. Having an AI-driven Talent Marketplace in your tech stack allows you to see the skills your current employees already have, and ensure that the data stays up to date as employees upskill and reskill.

It’s important that these learning and development programs are available to each and every employee within your organization. Traditional development programs of the past were very dependent on who an employee knows within the company, or who they report to — which is restrictive and contains a level of bias.

A company-wide, and inclusive learning and development program ensures that each employee has the opportunity to master new skills or apply their existing skills in new ways. And when a Talent Marketplace (powered by explainable AI) is used to keep track of the new skills employees are learning, it gives the organization full and accurate visibility to the skills they have available internally, which in turn helps create a more agile workforce.

Generate Talent Pipelines

HR and talent acquisition professionals understand just how long the hiring process can truly take, especially if you are starting from scratch and don’t have a pool of qualified candidates to dip into. But if you want to be more agile, anything you can do to reduce your time to hire (without sacrificing quality) is going to be helpful.

That’s where a talent pipeline comes into play. With the right tool, you can generate pools of candidates with particular skills. If you have a sustainable talent pipeline, you have a list of qualified candidates right at your fingertips each time you have a new role to fill.

In a competitive talent market, the best active candidates are only on the market for about 10 days, and top passive candidates have an inbox full of messages from recruiters most of the time. With a talent pipeline, your recruiters can save a lot of time that they would have otherwise had to spend on sourcing candidates from scratch.

Giving your Talent Acquisition team a running start with a strong talent pipeline makes their jobs easier, and helps your company be more agile and better equipped to handle sudden changes in your talent needs.

Invest in the right tech and tools

Each of the programs we’ve mentioned in this article have one thing in common: they become much easier if you have the right tools in your tech stack.

HR tech is not a new concept, but today’s best AI-driven HR tech tools can help your talent team do their job more effectively and efficiently, while supporting changing business goals.

Beamery’s AI-driven Talent Lifecycle Management solution helps enterprise organizations all around the world manage talent throughout the entire talent lifecycle, all within one platform. Our Universal Skills Platform can help you shift to a skills-first approach, while our Internal Mobility solution and Talent Marketplace can help your current employees find new roles and gigs. And our sourcing tool can help you build pipelines full of qualified talent — allowing you to fill roles on demand.