In 2020, the workforce across sectors has transformed drastically across the world. Technology transformation plans of organisations have been activated earlier than planned to enable the sudden move to remote working culture. As business leaders are still trying to find their way across the COVID pandemic scenario, one major trend is the adoption of virtual solutions to engage with the workforce and operate the business seamlessly with an extended talent ecosystem in the new normal.
Managing the workforce during disruption
At the beginning of 2020, digital transformation had been on the cards for many businesses. Before COVID, many businesses had reached some level of this transformation. But when the sudden lockdown came in as a surprise, the focus of businesses moved to technology enablement for the workforce that operated whether as internal workforce or as external talent. Collaboration tools which were already used by a shorter pool of talent became the critical enablers for the functioning of the entire workforce.
Operations, Finance, Recruitment, IT and other departments, each have challenges that require attention. The need of the day for businesses is to ensure business continuity while sustaining the impact of the new normal. When the pandemic started, future-ready businesses had minimal impact compared to the ones that continued with semi-automated or legacy systems. Certain businesses chose downsizing to cut costs while other businesses continue to thrive by managing operations with minimum in-office staff. Initiatives to recover from the impact and adapting to the times requires technology as well as the support of the human workforce.
Humanization and human workforce are as critical as technology adoption
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Technology may replace certain roles and work culture but it cannot replace the people who manage the processes. The human talent will still be needed to create, shape, run and reinvent businesses. Human-centric technology will be needed to deliver products and services in the future.
The future workforce will need new skills to fill in new job roles and hence augment the workforce. Planned upskilling by harnessing the potential of the digital platforms will enable organisations to be future-ready. Also, as organisations move towards a digital workforce, employees may get used to remote work culture. There will be a need for new initiatives to attract and sustain talent that drives innovation in the organisation.
Transition from traditional to dynamic business models
Instead of defined roles, future workforce will be multi-skilled to manage need-based responsibilities. Traditional business models are switching to dynamic models by adopting agile methodologies. With new innovations, opportunities are emerging for talent who can adapt and work with new technologies.
Interactive technologies will become a part of the work environment through wearables and gesture-based interfaces. Future will likely resemble the set of a sci-fi movie where virtual mentors will use intelligent data to educate, guide and support employees across the ecosystem. As the business models go through a transition phase, organisations need to strategize on the shape and size of the future workforce.
Scarcity of technical experts with future skills will increase the demand of such talent in the talent ecosystem. To meet the precise requirement while ensuring feasibility during hiring new talent, HR leaders will have to revisit their recruitment tactics. One of the key challenges for HR leaders will be to balance the needs and aspirations of talent across generations internally and externally.
External talent for business sustainability
Collaboration to increase the collective intelligence of the organisation has stemmed the idea of expanding the talent ecosystem. The future talent pool will include internal workforce and extended ecosystem comprising freelancers, talent partners and crowdsourced talent. The extended talent ecosystem will enable access to in-demand skills and knowledge that can otherwise be unfeasible in terms of talent acquisition.
As organisations look forward to adapting to the new normal, HR functions will have to address the implications that digital transformation will bring to the workforce. An analysis of key business requirements will help extend the talent ecosystem for continued growth. Visionary leaders can anticipate events and chart out workforce strategies to future-proof their organisations. Also, radical thinking will enable businesses of various scales to survive the impact of the current pandemic.
To conclude, it is time for entrepreneurs and business leaders to rethink shaping the future workforce. Along with technology, they will have to find answers for talent-specific questions relevant to their business model to remain nimble, agile and stable.