Your workforce is always going to be the most important influencer of your company’s success. As such, alongside upgrading technological tools, you need to make sure you maintain practices to future-proof your teams. This will help you to retain the best talent and make certain your workers are productive and innovative no matter what the future holds. However, this isn’t always easy to accomplish.
We’re going to take a look at 4 key strategies you can use to future-proof your workforce.
Too often, human resources (HR) departments focus their recruitment on the immediate needs of the company. This is understandable to an extent. After all, there may be elements of unexpected turnover and HR must respond to meet specific demands. However, it’s still important to take the long-term approach in identifying candidates with future-relevant skillsets.
There is a range of skills that ensure employees can adapt to the evolving digital landscape. This includes not just basic digital literacy but also using software and hardware tools with a creative mindset. Soft skills such as emotional intelligence can also ensure employees can interact with colleagues and consumers with greater empathy. This is especially vital as workplaces become more positively progressive and inclusive.
As such, when planning a recruitment campaign, it’s important to clarify more dynamic needs. Establish the immediate requirements for the department but also what skills will be valuable in the future. Adjust searches and recruitment literature to reflect future-proof candidate personas.
This doesn’t mean your candidates must possess all these abilities now. But it’s worth identifying growth potential. During interviews and application screening, ask questions about what skills candidates are interested in developing further. This gives you insights into how your company and the candidate could evolve together.
Your company culture is an integral part of your workers’ experience. It feeds into their satisfaction and can encourage them to be more innovative. Having a poor company culture will see your worker retention plummet. As such, making cultural changes can be instrumental in future-proofing your company by keeping your workers more meaningfully engaged.
Creating a positive work environment is essential for strong company culture. Take the time to assess how your company supports and respects your workers at all stages of their journey with you. Consider how you can make the hiring and onboarding processes smoother and clearer. Build trust among your staff by being transparent when making key business decisions. Find ways to authentically align your company values with the environmental, ethical and social concerns of the contemporary workforce.
Among the most important ways to future-proof your company culture is a commitment to diversity and inclusivity. This isn’t simply about making entry-level opportunities available to a wider range of candidates.
You need to establish ways for employees from all backgrounds to actively influence your company culture. Leadership must avoid making cultural decisions autonomously. Ensure a selection of workers from all levels of seniority can make an impact. This not only keeps your business relevant but also shows employees their views are valued and respected.
There is a tendency to think that workers with consistent skills in a certain area are most valuable staying in their current positions. This neither results in worker satisfaction nor ensures the company can keep up with the changes in the business landscape.
Indeed, a recent study found that 94% of employees would work for a company longer if it invested in their learning. It is, therefore, mutually beneficial to create accessible development programs.
This should begin with creating transparent paths for progression. You can best future-proof your workforce here by designing it around oncoming needs. Focus on rising technological fields such as machine learning.
But you should also offer training in skills that empower employees to be effective no matter what department they move into. Problem-solving, conflict resolution and communication will always be valuable as workers progress through levels of seniority.
Importantly, these development programs must be designed to support all workers on their paths. Those who aren’t comfortable in traditional academic environments may need more hands-on learning.
Provide relevant mentors for employees from marginalized socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. This commitment to inclusive education makes sure you not only get the most from your workers but also makes for a stronger overall culture.
Company leaders and HR professionals have vital expertise in maintaining a workforce. However, it’s important not to operate in an echo chamber. Regularly gaining alternative sources of intelligence can be key to better understanding changing needs. This allows you to make more informed decisions that keep your workforce future-proof.
This can include working with business intelligence and data analytics consultants. They can help you to identify the most relevant sources of information in forecasting the direction of the market and your company.
This may involve assessing the evolving demands of your core demographics so you can recruit the right staff to meet these. It could also influence where recruitment should be focused to meet your company’s scaling ambitions.
That said, it’s also important to gain intelligence from your staff. They often have more nuanced insights into how their roles and the nature of the industry are changing. Seek their input and build their suggestions into your solutions.
Gathering this data could revolve around anonymous company surveys or just positive workplace conversations between leadership and staff.
Future-proofing your workforce helps to make certain you can meet the changing needs of your industry and retain your valuable staff. Wherever possible, utilize a range of HR strategies that best suit how your business is evolving.
Recruit for relevant skillsets, enhance your company culture and make sure development programs are accessible. Remember to seek outside intelligence to bolster your leadership and HR expertise. Your time, energy and attention here are vital investments in ensuring the longevity of your company.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.
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