The COVID -19 pandemic has changed the world and more than any other event over the last decade demonstrated the importance for organisations to have a competent, reliable and flexible workforce. Given Covid-19 and the shortage of workforce more generally, one cannot deny that the country is heading towards a workforce crisis.
What is becoming clearer as we move out of the pandemic is that our workforce is becoming more fragile, with large numbers of managers and employees alike opting to exit not only jobs but whole sectors rather than continuing to face the constant barrage of imposed change.
So, is there anything that organisations can do to turn this around and engage their workforce?
Well yes! Establish a Workforce Transformation Strategy as part of their overall Strategic Plan.
Transforming your workforce leads to organisational reform and a new world of work for everyone.
Putting in place an agile workforce plan should be part of an organisation’s reform agenda.
Organisational reform will deliver value, agility and sustainability over time. By understanding workforce demands, analysing skills and capabilities needed for specific roles your organisation can develop people strategies that will support the bigger reform. In organisations like aged care or disability services, where workforce represents the majority of the organisation’s costs, a Workforce Transformation Strategy can have a significant impact on long term organisational sustainability.
Providing a diverse and committed workforce takes planning, thought and commitment by management and the Board.
Your organisation can imbed a supportive workplace culture by encouraging people to build their capabilities through making full advantage of study leave and learning. This creates an enthusiastic workplace culture, supports career opportunities and accepts that people can work towards achieving their career aspirations in a timely way that meets their lifestyle.
The future workforce will be one where leadership is valued, skills and competencies are known and become integral to good management.
Organisations in the future will need to be far more agile, flexible and versatile in managing individual and organisational performance as measures will be understood and will be integral to the organisation’s overall performance.
Firstly, transforming your HR practices to support your workforce strategy will also be the first steppingstone in implementing your Transformational Workforce Plan. Priorities for Workforce Transformation should focus on people and cultural fit in:-
- Recruitment practices, understanding the roles and responsibilities
- Being proactive and consistent in ensuring workplace culture is part of the recruitment practices
- Understanding roles and responsibilities as part of recruitment
- Implementing a rigorous performance management and review programs
- Create career pathway opportunities to retain and retrain staff
- Support lifelong learning
- Link training and development to the Workforce Plan
- Delivering a sound employee life cycle experience that is people focused and supported by the HR function.
Creating career pathways for your employees will add to a positive workplace lifecycle for employees and provide opportunities for people to thrive, grow and contribute whilst enjoying the challenges of lifelong learning.
Human Resource support should use technology to support workforce strategies, not to replace people practices.
Resilient, enthusiastic employees are more likely to be retained and supportive of organisational change and deliver quality service to clients.
But a word on reality. Establishing an effective Workforce Transformation Strategy is not a quick fix. The whole of organisation needs to be committed to workforce reform as part of the bigger strategy. In the implementation there will be resistance. There will also be frustration, not only at management level but also at lower levels. Some individuals will rise to the challenge, and some will not rise up to challenge. The transformation process can be painful but well worth the effort in an ever changing world. Therefore, a Workforce Transformation Strategy requires commitment from the top to realise its full potential.
As we have seen during the COVID pandemic, business survival requires reacting to operational day to day practices quickly and with calm. Workforce reform is no different, it requires commitment, patients and management led consistency in application.
The new future for workforce will emerge over the next few years with workplace reform the biggest threat or the biggest saviour.
Chris Westacott is Managing Director, Realise Performance.
For more information visit www.realiseperformance.com.au