In 2020, the COVID-19 virus arrived in the United States. Within the first half of the year, entertainment events were canceled while bars and dining rooms closed down or reduced capacity and caused a job shortage.
What was once a work perk became the new working environment as workplaces shifted to 100% remote operations. For many, the home became the new workplace, and Zoom meetings became the new normal.
The theme for 2020 was adaptability. Businesses found themselves in a sink or swim situation as the country changed overnight. Many consequential decisions had to be made in the face of ambiguity.
If we learned anything from 2020, we now understand that being flexible is no longer a dreamy ideal, it is now fundamental. Those who cling to a traditional business model will continue to struggle while those who embrace a shift toward an agile framework will thrive.
What is an Agile Workforce?
An agile workplace is an ecosystem of permanent employees, freelance contractors, consultants, and other partners. This powerhouse of blended talent works together cohesively to achieve business goals but is also adaptable for when the target inevitably moves.
Businesses are no longer constrained by the controlling and prescriptive nature of traditional workforce models. An agile framework allows businesses to make swift decisions. It confronts ambiguity with flexibility while still being organized.
What are the Benefits of an Agile Workforce Model?
Agility in the workplace yields a more efficient use of resources to better meet the needs of your business and your customers. Additionally, an agile workforce has the dexterity to scale up or down as your business needs change. New talent is recruited quickly to meet new challenges.
Scaling Up In an Instant
Needing more help no longer means that you must hire more permanent employees. Staff planning options include reorganizing the staff you already have or recruiting temporary workers to fill in the gaps.
When contingency work is built into labor management, it positions your operations to readily onboard the workforce support you need. This allows you to cope with urgent business needs without being locked into a long-term employment commitment.
When you can easily secure the workforce you need on-demand, this removes a barrier for taking on new projects. With agile workforce capability, you can now seize more growth opportunities.
Hiring permanent staff is a hefty financial commitment. If and when you do need to terminate a permanent employee, separation costs may incur. Recruiting specialized contract labor gives you the benefit of an enhanced workforce without long-term costs.
Temporary labor also allows you the dexterity to reallocate resources. Once the end of the contract term is reached, those funds are now free to be used on more pressing matters.
Temporary work is also an opportunity to “try before you buy” meaning that if you decide there is a long-term need for a worker’s talent, you could perhaps extend an offer that retains their services on a more permanent basis.
Outsource Missing Talent and Skills
Even the best teams can come up short when it comes to emerging changes in the landscape. You could supply your employees with additional training to make up for a skills shortfall, but will they be able to balance their existing responsibilities with new ones? How long will it take for them to achieve competence with a new skill?
When you bring in specialized talent, onboarding and ramp-up time are minimal. Instead of burdening your existing staff, you bring in an experienced and trained temporary worker to tackle the task at hand.
Creating an Agile Workforce
While it can be challenging for some establishments to move toward an agile framework, there are clear benefits in doing so. Businesses will experience a more effective use of resources (such as office space), the securing of better talent, increased efficiency, more productivity, and innovation.
The agile workforce modeling extends naturally from an organization that has moved to adopt an agile business model. For a business to be truly agile, the staffing structure must be aligned through workforce optimization.
A business that can pivot and adapt successfully needs a workforce that can do so with little friction. Below are a few key characteristics of an agile workforce.
1. Employee Mindset
Agility flows from the top down beginning with leadership who consistently nurture an adaptable mindset in their teams. The key is to move away from a risk-averse mindset to a growth mindset. This means that managers allow their team members the freedom to be creative problem solvers and find ways to leverage each person’s unique strengths.
One way to foster a growth mindset is to hire workers who are inclined toward adaptability. This means you recruit those who thrive in challenging environments and have a hunger to learn more and expand their skillset. Growth-oriented talent is collaborative, embraces innovation, and is willing to take risks.
2. Open to New Technology
Say the word “automation” to the modern worker and they may have a negative response. Like it or not, automation is an inevitable modern reality. However, with an innovative approach, automating certain processes doesn’t mean that you have to layoff your workforce.
Ideally, automation should make work more efficient for workers and increase job satisfaction. By cutting down steps in a process, workers can get more work done in a shorter window of time. If automation does make some positions redundant, you may be able to shift your permanent employees to roles that better utilize their skills and talents.
3. Performance-Driven Environment Built Upon Flexibility
It’s been speculated that the shift toward remote working that came about because of the pandemic is likely a permanent change. Businesses are looking to adopt a hybrid working situation where employees only come into the office a few days per week and work from home the remainder of the working hours.
In the past, employers had reservations about allowing employees to work remotely. Having no other choice but to allow employees to work from home has changed the way we think about remote working. This sudden change in the workplace allowed managers to make objective observations to see if working from home did indeed impact performance and productivity.
Allowing workers the freedom to work flexible hours gives them the autonomy to work at the most opportune times for their circumstances which may not necessarily fit within the traditional 9 to 5 structure. Analysis has shown that workers are more productive in a flexible work from home situation.
Hire Workers Through Adia’s On-Demand Staffing Platform
The agile workforce framework relies on the ability to secure the needed talent on-demand. Those businesses that have embraced agile principles need support from a reliable staffing partner who will save them time and hassle in finding the right people for their immediate needs.
Aida has vetted workers ready to show up for your business on flexible terms whether that is hourly, weekly, or even annually. As you navigate the rapidly changing currents and constantly shifting winds in your industry, we’re here to source the talent you need to keep sailing. Learn how our platform serves the needs of your business and schedule a demo today.