Workforce agility is a proactive and impactful talent management strategy that allows businesses to respond quickly and effectively to workplace shifts by upskilling current talent or onboarding new talent to cope with the changing supply and demand of business needs.
This level of adaptability creates more resilience in the face of disruption. With the unstable global economy, implementing agility into strategic workforce planning will enable businesses to remain flexible in the face of uncertainty. And more importantly, they will be more prepared to face the unknown.
A survey by the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON) found that companies that defined a workforce planning strategy were at an advantage through the Great Resignation.
Here’s a closer look at how workforce agility enhances strategic workforce planning to set businesses up for success.
1. Enables Companies to Innovate and Stay Competitive
In a rapidly evolving business environment, innovation is the lifeblood of every organization — whether that’s conducting market research to facilitate the launch of a new product in a new market or developing a new corporate strategy to facilitate business portfolio growth.
Strategic workforce planning with an agile mindset allows companies to innovate by bringing on the right talent to support business needs and push projects forward.
Likewise, innovation can also be attained by playing to employee strengths and creating teams to tackle mission-critical projects.
Adopting this team structure common to agile organizations enables companies to move with the speed of a startup while enjoying the resources and benefits of being an enterprise.
2. Ensures the Right Size Workforce with the Right Talent on Hand
A more dynamic approach to talent management and strategic workforce planning focuses on bringing on board the right people for the task at hand or moving employees to other business areas.
For example, Graphite worked with a global pharmaceutical company to onboard an experienced finance expert to help reconfigure its business operations and drive a supply chain transformation initiative. The firm lacked the internal capacity to execute the nine-month-long project successfully.
After analyzing that increasing full-time headcount wasn’t an option due to extensive time-to-hire metrics and the need to kick off the project quickly, the pharmaceutical company adopted an agile mindset and onboarded an experienced finance expert within 48 hours on Graphite.
By adopting an agile approach, the company solved an extremely crucial business challenge by onboarding the right expert, at the right time, quickly.
Looking at the talent you have, understanding how they can be deployed to drive impact in other core areas of the business, and filling the gaps on high-performing teams with independent talent, for example, can also help organizations reduce hiring and onboarding costs.
3. Mitigates Risk and Keeps Businesses up with Industry Trends
Agile workforces can adapt at a moment’s notice, allowing businesses to keep up with changing trends. Not only does this approach enable companies to take advantage of market opportunities, but also helps them balance/navigate risk better.
For example, Graphite worked with a leader in the diamond industry that was struggling to keep up with changing market conditions. Highly interdependent and changing industry dynamics dramatically affected its ability to perform optimally, and its leadership position in the market was at stake.
The non-profit organization could not wait to onboard another full-time hire while the market opportunity left it behind, so the organization decided to find an independent senior consultant to quickly augment the team’s capacity. Specifically, it needed an expert to support the team in understanding the current state of existing challenges in the diamond industry.
The solution came by adopting an agile approach to workforce planning, and the organization shifted quickly to acquire talent on demand to help support, develop, and evaluate strategic options to address market challenges and allow the company to keep up to date with industry trends and challenges.
Interested in learning how you can further optimize your workforce? Check out our latest guide on how to build high-performing teams with on-demand talent acquisition.