How Digital HR Favours Agile Working Structures

Agile companies of the future

Traditionally, only very large companies developed strategic workforce management functions to focus on the replacement of a retiring workforce and training for efficient performance. As companies move away from performing established business functions towards disruption and innovation, and project-based work, organisations require a redesign for agility and adaptiveness. Structural hierarchies will be replaced with a lean team-centric model. In the rapidly changing environment, the companies themselves need to be faster and more flexible as well as accept the dynamic career demands of the workforce.
Given the pace of change and constant pressure to adapt, organisations do not have to reorganise themselves for every single new challenge. However, companies have to embrace the evolving reality and master the key capability – rapidly form new teams with diverse skillsets that would tackle specific tasks. Modern enterprises are now comprised of dynamic organisational ecosystems and networks, empowered by team leaders and promote collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Continuous learning and development opportunities

The rapidly changing world, especially driven by technological advancements, is continuously challenging entrenched roles and job titles. Hence, more often than ever before, employees are open to learning and development opportunities offered by their employers that help expand their professional knowledge to keep with the times. Leading companies should prioritize helping employees grow and thrive by constantly refreshing employees’ skills.
The good news is that there is an enormous amount of free or low-cost high-quality content that can be used by companies to provide employees with access to continuous learning opportunities. If earlier, corporate learning & development departments were responsible for creating proprietary content, now their job is to curate the development and creation of libraries of useful content, which sometimes can be provided by anyone in the organisation.
Today, the workforce is more mobile than ever before. Therefore, modern learning technologies are being used to create on-demand, interactive, and curated learning experiences. Professional development programmes, cross-functional coaching and training, dynamic reteaming as well as rotational assignments create a more diverse and collegial work environment, increasing the company’s agility.
What leading firms typically do is providing targeted in-house training and partner with external consultants and trainers. The experts will develop and conduct tailored courses for employees at different levels within the organisation. After the training, employees feel ownership and purpose in what they do. More importantly, they can develop a true understanding of how their role impacts the overall business plan. Managers should be trained and equipped with tools for team management. Soft skill training promotes workplace culture and should foster collaboration and teamwork. Enterprises show the commitment to the employees through initiated trainings and help them feel like valuable team members. The aim is to help each of the company’s employees to reach their full potential.

Challenges in attracting and retaining top talent

As unemployment rates are reaching historic lows, organisations are struggling to fill open positions due to a lack of workers. With so many options available for those looking for jobs, they now have the freedom to be more selective about accepting offers. Most importantly, the success of attracting the top talent is no longer simply the responsibility of HR – multiple teams across the organisations are involved in the process.

The attractiveness of any advertised opportunity is judged by a few aspects that contribute to the company of choice:

  • status, including pay and benefits
    • work-life balance
    • learning and development opportunities
    • brand
    • culture
    • leadership

Companies that maintain the excellent brand reputation and have a highly visible profile are more likely to captivate top talent. In many instances, candidates find their employer, not the reverse.
For example, Knotel, a property development company, advertises its new properties by sharing the working experiences of its employees and highlighting how much they have achieved since joining the company.
The past year, it has been remarkable how companies are trying to reach top talent. Whether it is the improvement of career sites, creation of video material where employees share their daily work experiences, while social media accounts are being used to portray culture and values. HR managers know that focusing on sourcing and selection is no longer enough. They need to prioritise building strong relationships with potential candidates.
Efficient HR marketing keeps both current and prospective employees up to date with vacancies that fit each candidate’s skillset. In the past, companies used traditional Internet tools to find candidates, however, now candidate sourcing has expanded to social networks, such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as employee referral programmes, and recruiters. Job descriptions need to outline needed skills, experience and at the same time focus on the needs of the candidate. Companies are increasingly using talent acquisition technology platforms that make the application process more interactive through job simulation software, including videos and case studies. At the same time companies are checking if candidates have the necessary skills to perform well on the job.
Moreover, employee experience is becoming a primary consideration for companies trying to retain its employees. Several factors contribute to a productive, engaging, and enjoyable work experience, including meaningful work, supportive management, growth opportunities, positive and diverse work environment, and trust in leadership. To develop successful programs and to keep track of employee engagement, companies should take a holistic view of life at work.
Ideally, companies introduce a process that continuously gathers employee feedback, instead of having a single annual review process. The employee benefits should include non-financial benefits, such as meals, vacation policies and wellness activities. Company’s employee experience, as felt internally and expressed externally on various recruitment websites, has become a significant competitive differentiator. Companies can take advantage and get ahead of their competitors, by making employee happiness a priority.

Digital HR

In order to ensure workforce planning efficiency and effectiveness, companies must have access to robust quantitative and qualitative data. A variety of software systems are available and offer detailed information about workforce demographics (age, gender, location), salaries and benefits, length of service, and history of roles and experience. Qualitative data includes competency and performance ratings, training and development history, and employee mobility preferences. The latest software solutions can even produce individually tailored career path plans. These tools can be used to monitor the long-term progress of the strategy at every stage. However, the best technologies are worthless if HR managers do not possess the analytical and interpretive skills necessary to use the data to make strategic decisions and actionable tasks.

Conclusion

In today’s extremely competitive environment in the job market, the right ways that companies deploy talent will determine which companies are going to thrive and which ones will fail in the long-run. It is an exciting time where HR leaders will experiment with the latest technology available in the market and try to come up with innovative ways to attract top candidates as well as push hard to create inspiring working environments. New challenges face us and technology every day and what was up to date a month ago, won’t be valid anymore.
It is the way that we cope with obstacles that will make us stand out from the crowd and even learn how to benefit from them.