Tech’s Talent Imperative: Workforce Agility
It’s no secret that the tech sector is facing uncertain economic times, with wave after wave of layoffs and restructuring announcements causing widespread feelings of stress and uncertainty. And one of the most challenging aspects of working in tech today is the mandate to get creative in order to do more with less. Teams may be getting smaller, but goals never seem to shrink.
So, what are tech companies to do? It comes down to this: workforce agility.
What is workforce agility?
Workforce agility is the ability to quickly, flexibly, and creatively deploy talent to tackle a company’s jobs to be done.
Rather than keeping people tied exclusively to traditional roles and job descriptions, workforce agility allows companies to align workers and their unique skills with critical projects and workstreams. Especially as many tech companies are experiencing reductions in force and shifts in strategic priorities, taking an agile approach to aligning talent with tasks will help to prevent gaps and issues as business needs arise.
A strong approach to workforce agility requires a reset to focus on adaptable skills rather than fixed roles. In this model, HR and People teams become strategic partners to the business, quickly identifying great-fit talent to suit the needs at hand.
Why is workforce agility important for tech companies today?
As the tech landscape continues to change, the work to be done is changing as well. And that doesn’t always line up with traditional talent models or HR practices. For tech companies to thrive amid change, they need an agile approach to finding, engaging, and deploying talent.
As Beamery’s Max Goodberg recently shared, “People teams need to evolve the way they think about sourcing and managing talent in order to become more agile, efficient and effective. Getting the best-fit talent into the most suitable roles, quickly, not only improves outcomes for HR, but brings huge benefits to the whole organization.”
Especially today, priorities and strategies are in a state of flux, and the skills a tech company needed two years ago may not be the same skills it needs today or tomorrow. Having the ability to take an agile approach to talent management is incredibly valuable.
How does workforce agility benefit workers in the tech industry?
When HR and People teams in tech companies embrace workforce agility, not only do those businesses benefit from aligning key skills to tasks, but workers get to flex their career muscles in new ways. No longer locked into one role, workers are able to apply and stretch their skills with a wider variety of opportunities for growth and development. In tech, this can lead to incredible innovation, better results for customers, and better sharing and embedding of that hard-to-quantify expertise that can so easily be lost when employees churn.
As Sabine Bendiek, chief people and operating officer, and member of the Executive Board at SAP, recently told Forbes, “The most effective leaders are authentic, empathetic, and adaptive. They’re focusing on reskilling and upskilling, as well as diversity and inclusion, giving people more opportunities for career growth.”
How can tech companies put workforce agility into practice?
The key to putting workforce agility into practice is one part culture and one part technology.
For workforce agility to work, it’s important to have a culture that champions learning and is open to – rather than resistant to – change. It’s also key to ensure you have the type of culture that prioritizes the employee experience across the organization.
In addition to culture, HR and People teams should look to technology (something the tech industry knows better than anyone) to support their workforce agility objectives. In particular, an AI-powered Talent Marketplace can help you to identify and track skills throughout your workforce so that you can easily match people with jobs to be done as they arise across the company.
Without a Talent Marketplace powering a workforce agility strategy, it can be difficult for workers to move into new roles or projects – or even know they exist. In fact, in the Fifth Edition of our Talent Index survey, respondents from the tech sector illuminated this challenge: 33% of tech industry workers said that it would be difficult to move roles within their department, and 39% said it would be difficult to move to a different department within their company.
The bottom line? Tech companies and the workers who power their growth are under pressure to do more with less, so it’s more important than ever to have an agile talent function. With a skills-based approach and a platform that enables agility, you’ll be in a strong position to help your company ride any waves of change and uncertainty.