Put Your Workforce Strategy in High Gear with Managed Services

In brief: 

  • Smart leaders adopt adaptive workforce strategies to keep up with continuous transformation and remain competitive. 

  • Managed Services is the best way to build adaptability into your workforce strategy. 

  • It offers access to flexible, scalable resources that deliver rapid value in the short term while building sustainable internal capability and capacity for the long haul. 

  • Here, we take a closer look at this timely workforce solution in action.

There’s a lot of uncertainty about the future, but one thing business leaders agree on is that in 2022, their organizations will need to be more agile, nimble, and flexible as they respond to new opportunities, threats, and customer needs. They also know this largely depends on their workforce strategy: 97 percent of leaders say talent and skills will need to flex to drive successful transformation in the year ahead. Yet many leaders don’t quite know how they’ll achieve this, especially in today’s environment, where organizations are up against:

  • Talent shortages: Coined as “The Great Resignation,” the Washington Post writes that “the pool of potential workers has shrunk so much that getting back to the number of people employed before the pandemic would require unprecedented success in connecting job seekers and employers.” Based on our research, leaders anticipate challenges sourcing new talent (42 percent) and managing/retaining talent (29 percent) in 2022.
  • The pace of (digital) disruption today and resulting skills gaps: New digital tools mean new ways to work smarter, faster, and cheaper. Yet your employees might lack the basic digital skills your organization needs to use these technologies effectively. Organizations hardly have time to build one internal capability before the next big thing shows up and new skills are needed. There is a relentless push for businesses to reinvent themselves as fast as possible because those that don’t will be left behind. And there is a requirement for constant workforce reskilling and upskilling. Yet, it’s near impossible to see around the corner (given the pace of change) and effectively plan for your workforce when the future feels more in flux than ever before.  

These conditions make it tough for leaders to optimize talent and empower employees with the capabilities to drive change. Times have evolved, and so must your approach to managing your most critical asset: your workforce. Slow-moving strategies just don’t cut it.

So, what’s the solution? How can you account for perpetual change and still be strategic about your people strategy? You need an adaptive workforce solution—one that quickly and effectively delivers capability, assures value creation, and absorbs risk. In this blog, we’ll show you just how critical that is.

Providing a flexible, scalable structure for informed adaptation

New capabilities are always being sought to keep pace with the latest changes in technology, customer needs, and markets. Today your organization might need agile coaches, tomorrow scrum masters, the next day, change managers. Because of workforce limitations and the time it takes to build internal capabilities, it’s hard to keep up with all of these demands and find the right people to fulfill them. To overcome the skills gaps that emerge, organizations should embrace a more adaptive workforce strategy. This is one that strategically allocates the right professionals to the right work at the right time, so you can progress along your transformation journey without missing a beat.

How a Managed Service helps:

We know that throughout a transformation journey, companies will have many different workforce requirements, so it’s important to be able to adjust the skills and capabilities mix along the way and at different milestones. For example, we are currently supporting a luxury automotive manufacturer as it introduces agility enterprise-wide to propel innovation and improve speed-to-market.​ Throughout our partnership, we have embedded lasting agile expertise. With our adaptive workforce solution, the firm has been able to concentrate on the skills it must build now and avoid the high, fixed costs and risks associated with hiring full-time employees. At the same time, it’s gained both flexibility and better control over its workforce expenditures.

We also know that workforce planning and forecasting are particularly challenging in today’s environment. With constant change in your strategic priorities, the talent pool, and economic conditions, too many leaders risk making massive workforce investments that have a short shelf life. Those days of buyer’s remorse are over: In our Managed Service, flexibility comes standard. How? In the form of scalability. For our automotive client, every 90 days, as the agile transformation work progresses, we identify opportunities for improvement and iterate to maximize value. Based on the result of these quarterly assessments, our client is able to flex the number of agile coaches allocated to teams. As our client's needs have evolved, we’ve evolved with them. Our team makes intentional changes, scaling resources quickly to best support the current demands of its transformation efforts.

Delivering expertise that executes in the short term and builds capability for the long-haul

When you need to build capability in your organization, it’s not enough to enlist the help of generalists. You need true career practitioners and experts for two key reasons:

  1. To quickly bring in the skills and capabilities your team needs when it needs them, so you can add value now and execute without falling behind.
  2. To effectively build internal capability, so you can continue to execute in the long term.

How a Managed Service helps:

To support our client along its agile transformation journey, we’ve provided, and continue to bring in, top-quality talent. Throughout our partnership so far, we have infused a blended expertise—spanning project management, agile, and change management—to support the transformation.

Because our Managed Service focuses on long-term capability development, we have brought together the right mix of expertise to enact lasting change. After all, enabling an agile workforce is about much more than just skill-building; it’s about changing employee behaviors and mindsets. Our client has come to realize just how critical it is to have experienced change experts working alongside business analysts, project managers, and scrum masters. The change management team has helped craft a strategy that empowers the workforce to embrace agile ways of working as a core element of the organization’s culture. This comprehensive approach, with critical, people-centric expertise, is helping our client achieve lasting change and accelerated delivery of results.

As we introduce agility throughout our client’s organization, our focus is on building lasting agile capability among its workforce so it can continue to drive performance and value long after we’re out of the picture. In addition to providing change management, our experts are delivering daily, hands-on coaching to accelerate learning and development and build internal capability. We are partnering with employees every day to show them exactly how the work gets done so that the organization retains this vital knowledge:

  • Our approach transfers understanding to engineering team members and leaders in delivery roles.
  • We are building internal communities of practice to encourage knowledge-sharing and embed agility on key topics.

With our support, our client is on track to upskill approximately 10,000 employees on agile ways of working by the conclusion of its transformation program.

Equipping your business to adopt new expertise

It’s hard to build internal capability if there is no one to receive it. Our research indicates that 60 percent of leaders agree: Workforce capacity is a very important factor influencing their preparedness to address their strategic priorities. You need to establish the capacity in your organization to accept new skills and expertise. Whether it’s freeing up time for existing employees to take on new roles and skills or bringing in fresh talent to fill gaps, leaders must identify the right people to receive the knowledge needed to help your organization transform. This is no small task.

How a Managed Service helps:

To help build internal capacity, we work with leaders to understand upcoming workforce demand and identify gaps in their current skills mix. Just as we are doing with our automotive manufacturer client, we help leaders pinpoint skills that may be required to fuel transformation both now and in the future. By proactively forecasting future workforce needs, we help craft an effective strategy for developing and attracting top talent. We help leaders understand the capabilities they’ll need to develop (through upskilling and reskilling) in existing employees and identify what they might need to look for in a new hire. Our goal is to make sure leaders can be as strategic as possible and make informed decisions to optimize their workforce strategy. This is a different approach from traditional staff augmentation models, which can leave organizations overwhelmed with the job of finding, onboarding, and managing people.

The future of work is not a static place. Implementing an adaptive workforce strategy is the key to keeping up and powering your transformation. With such a workforce, you’ll have the right resources, at the right time, to deliver outcomes and value. You’ll have the expertise that accelerates employees’ learning and development. And you’ll have a framework for fast-paced growth that keeps risk at bay.