Now more than ever, the future is uncertain. Variables related to public health, social norms, regulation, and recessionary pressure are evolving every minute. To maximise financial and operational performance in today’s climate of uncertainty, an organisation must strengthen its collective muscle to transform forward, powered by an adaptive workforce. This involves rapid recruiting processes, reduced leadership overhead costs, and sustainable capability. Now, the notion of an adaptive workforce itself is evolving, requiring a greater emphasis on digital skills and vital resources to accelerate recovery efforts.
Businesses are on an ongoing journey to adopt and embrace digital skillsets. In the process, they’ve moved away from traditional, functional silos and towards more integrated ways of working that involve DevOps and cloud computing capabilities. To maximise the value of these new capabilities, an intentional focus on the workforce is paramount: Leaders must scale teams effectively with business demand, bring in the right external expertise to kickstart transformation, and upskill employees. In today’s economic context, addressing these imperatives becomes a taller order:
- Downsized teams: Public health-related restrictions stifled economic activity and trade on a global scale. Many companies have put their investment portfolios and transformation programmes on hold until the market recovers. To uphold viability, companies will continue to run on leaner, smaller teams in the short-to-mid term. In pursuit of a durable post-pandemic recovery, companies may struggle to scale back with the right skillsets.
- “New norm” ways of working: Many professions will continue to practice remote, flexible working in the mid term. As organisations continue down the recovery path, they will undoubtedly struggle to reinforce social distancing behaviors when back in the physical work setting. Further, changes in working habits will require leaders to be more flexible in how they manage teams of different sizes across virtual and physical environments.
- Rapid digital uptake: The pandemic has also redefined consumer habits, and organisations have experienced an uptick in demand for digital working channels. To address increased pressure for digital, organisations must transform their delivery and operations functions towards more progressive, responsive ways of working.
With these roadblocks in play, your organisation can strengthen its muscle for transformation through Managed Services. While traditional Managed Services offerings provide a pool of people resources, it’s critical that you evolve your approach to maximise outcomes and address uncertainties. North Highland’s approach looks beyond roles, tasks, and deliverables. Instead, it’s an adaptable, scalable solution that’s designed to maximise outcomes through embedded, multi-skilled teams that support your transformation needs. The North Highland solution is built on the principles of capacity, capability, and community—emphasizing emerging digital skillsets alongside foundational skills in change management, business analysis, project management, and more. We use models that are tailored to your organisation’s maturity and imperatives as they change.
Capacity: By building capacity, your organisation will be better equipped to flex in response to market uncertainty, facilitate long-term trade recovery, and prioritise outcomes. There are a few key steps you can take to reduce the delays caused by low capacity:
- Ensure organisation-wide visibility to portfolio prioritisation.
- Build a go-forward plan for business analyst (BA) or project management (PM) resources on two-month intervals.
- Adopt flexible resourcing options.
Our Managed Services helps organisations staff flexibly to meet demand through resource volume, hybrid roles, and methods of contractual management. It also reduces overhead by putting time and effort-related costs onto the provider, who manages recruitment, onboarding, offboarding, and ongoing professional management. As trade prospects and business priorities continue to change at an accelerated rate, the ability to opt-into or pause resourcing in an "on-demand" manner will become increasingly crucial.
Capability: To evolve more quickly, many companies are moving away from traditional blanket services and towards blended teams of expertise—requiring a product-led structure bolstered by the right mix of skills and roles. Through capability, you’ll have the right skillsets and expertise whenever needed. To manage capability effectively, you should:
- Develop a clear definition of the skills required.
- Align those skills to the prioritised portfolio of work.
- Strengthen your command of industry best practices and trends to inform workforce planning and ensure skills (particularly digital skills) remain relevant as the market evolves.
Our approach to Managed Services drives business outcomes by blending the right skills and knowledge (capability) with the flexibility to meet evolving demand (capacity). Specifically, it can help organisations find the right skillsets (e.g., digital, cloud, and cybersecurity) more rapidly than through most internal recruitment processes. As a result, you can assemble teams quickly as your business agenda and priorities change. As your organisation continues down the path of growth and recovery, we can help you find the right skillsets flexibly, cost-effectively, and with minimum lead time.
Community: In a technical delivery environment where employees are pressured with project-facing commitments, building a sustainable community and nurturing ongoing employee development are often afterthoughts. Our Managed Services can help you overcome this inclination through a few key steps:
- Set up continuous improvement boards, using tools such as Trello, Jira, or Microsoft Teams to help employees focus on improvements.
- Encourage employees to think beyond short-term goals and focus on best practices, skills, ways of working, and stakeholder engagement.
Ultimately, North Highland’s Managed Services helps you drive continuous improvement through your workforce. In working with one national infrastructure provider in the U.K., our emphasis on community helped the organisation transform faster and retain the right capability long term, avoiding overreliance on third parties. Through the multi-skilled communities of practice that our Managed Services can uniquely provide, you can embed collective capability across crucial skillsets that adapt across different domains and product lifecycle approaches.
An adaptive workforce is a must-have ingredient for pandemic recovery. With our approach to Managed Services, the principles of capacity, community, and capability can help your organisation strengthen its muscle for adaptability, navigate the recovery journey more effectively, and transform more readily for the unknowable future ahead.