Agile Workforce - How to Build and Manage It
Agile (adjective): to be able to move quickly and easily. That’s the dictionary definition of the word agile.
In a business context, agility is all about being able to manage and grow a business by adapting to changes rapidly. The year 2020 is a great example of this. It was the time period when the vast majority of businesses that survived were the ones that responded to change with agility.
Changes in the way we conduct business have occurred in the past, and they will most certainly occur again in the future.
In this article, we will discuss the changes that are happening with talent management. Old ways of hiring are becoming obsolete, and traditional processes of building and managing teams are also on the decline. So, what’s the new way? Well, it’s the agile workforce.
Let’s understand what it is and how to manage one.
Understanding What ‘Agile Workforce’ Is
Back in the day, one could be a full-time employee at a factory for 30 years, then retire and earn a pension. Also, there was barely any technology or processes to access remote talent. This ‘traditional’ way of working had a big downside, however. Organizations that operated in traditional ways were not usually change-ready. After all, the words ‘tradition’ and ‘change’ are almost antonyms and don’t get along very well.
But the old ways of working are being replaced by Agile business transformation. Don’t stress if you don’t know what it means. Agile business transformation basically involves transforming an organization to make it capable of thriving in the ever-changing business landscape. A big part of this concept is having an agile workforce, which is a mixture of full-time and part-time employees, independent contractors, freelancers, consultants, etc. But that’s not it - an agile workforce has other key characteristics, too.
For example, people that comprise an agile workforce are experts in their fields, tech-savvy, open to learning new things, and most importantly, can handle change with grace. The agile workforce may also consist of people who live miles away from each other. So, you could be working with your city’s best project manager in the same office while having your website being updated by a web developer who lives on a different continent.
Agile Workforce Management
Now that you are familiar with the new breed of human resources, let’s discuss agile agile workforce management. As you can probably imagine, agile workforce management is slightly different from the traditional management style. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
Autonomy: Having highly bureaucratic systems in which a team member’s work needs approval from various individuals is not a very ‘agile’ way to work. When managing the agile workforce, you need to empower people to make their own decisions and trust them.
Do not count the hours: Back in the day, employees were expected to log in every working hour into a timesheet. However, the agile workforce’s performance should be measured by the results they produce. So, don’t think that you’re paying them for the hours they put in, but rather think that you’re paying them for the value they bring to the business during their work hours.
Use talent retention strategies to sustain the workforce: Retaining the best talent is an important aspect of business workforce sustainability. When it comes to agile workforce management, don’t let the agility of task completion make you forget that job satisfaction is equally important. Fast-paced work environments might overwhelm some employees and affect business workforce sustainability. So, have talent retention strategies in place beforehand - it’s better to dock the boat before the storm comes.
Communicate, communicate, communicate: The pandemic has taught us that a lot of jobs can be done from the comfort of one’s home. However, remote work might lead to a lack of communication. Therefore, when things are moving very fast (and they will when you adopt an agile approach), over-communication is better than not communicating enough.
Don’t worry about the location: Your first and second priority when hiring staff should be skills and talent. Leverage technology to find the best people for your business regardless of their location.
How to Build an Agile Workforce
Now that we have discussed agile workforce management, the importance of autonomy, business workforce sustainability, and the need for communication, let’s discuss the easiest way to build your own agile workforce.
As discussed above, the agile workforce consists of a variety of people - this includes full-time employees, consultants, and everyone in between.
Permanent employees can be easily hired by using recruitment agencies or finding top talent within your own network. However, when it comes to hiring interim staff, such as consultants, contractors, and interim managers who work with companies on a temporary basis, things might get a little complicated if you hire the wrong person.