Business agility: The golden key to a future-proof workforce

Business agility can unlock the potential for a workforce capable of addressing any challenge, suggests Kris Wadia.
By: | March 20, 2024

In today’s rapidly changing corporate landscape, waiting for ‘perfect information’ to make personnel-related decisions is increasingly futile.  Instead, business agility offers a master key, unlocking the potential for a workforce capable of addressing any challenge head-on.

Here are three critical benefits of business agility when applied to larger enterprises seeking to retain and sharpen their competitive edge.

1.  Swiftly navigating workforce changes

In an era of volatile revenues and margins, the ability to promptly recalibrate a workforce in response to shifting market pressures is indispensable. Conventional methods of workforce planning, working from medium to long term projections, often prove inadequate.

Traditionally, this has been (wrongly) designated as a challenge for HR to solve. 

“Business agility offers a master key, unlocking the potential for a workforce capable of addressing any challenge head-on.” – Kris Wadia, Founder and CEO of Humanized Leadership

For example, in boom times, managers provide inadequate specifications to the talent acquisition team and complain when roles are not filled at short notice.  This ignores the basic principle that onboarding a new, productive employee requires seamless co-ordination between HR, finance, IT, facilities, compliance, and other functions. 

An elegantly simple solution would be to deploy a demand-supply-optimisation model that bring all these players into a common forum, operating from the same dataset, allowing the right personnel with the right skills to be ready at the right time.

Additionally, businesses could leverage AI and real-time data analytics to gain insights into current and future workforce skill gaps across hiring, training, and reskilling initiatives that continually align with organisational objectives.

2.  Enabling seamless workforce mobility in a diverse environment

Large enterprises boast diverse workforces spanning various generations and geographies, each with their unique perspectives, needs, and values.

Enhancing talent mobility becomes paramount when attempting to harness this diversity, strategically placing individuals where they can contribute most effectively, and increasingly with their full consent rather than a management diktat.

Creating a truly flexible work environment involves embracing remote work options, flexible schedules, and collaborative technologies that transcend several limitations, including operating across multiple time zones. 

Investments in fostering cross-cultural/cross-generational collaboration and enhancing the employee experience are typically repaid with high-performer retention. Additionally,, innovative suggestions can be sought from employees themselves for operating better, faster, and cheaper operations.

Understanding the preferences and strengths of different age groups is key to optimising talent mobility. Tailoring strategies to accommodate various work styles ensures that the workforce remains cohesive and dynamic.

3.  Keeping policies and compliance ahead of the curve

AI is moving at rocket speed.  Every day brings an innovate new app that materially impacts the way work is performed today. 

In their personal capacity, some employees may choose to experiment with these new tools.  As they discover the time saving benefits, they may compromise company data when bringing their new-found potential into the workplace. 

Most corporate policies and codes of conduct are already out-of-sync with the ever-increasing pace of technology.  It is critical that these are reviewed monthly, and the updates communicated in a manner that will grab the attention of employees.

In a world where corporations are still using legacy input-based measures (e.g. time spent at the office) and employees are using output-based measures (e.g. taking minutes instead of days to write a report), the commercial consequences of failing to keep ahead of the curve could be materially negative.

In conclusion, business agility offers both a mind-set and a potential methodology for reviewing, and improving, all aspects of human capital as it impacts the P&L and market valuation of any corporate entity.

About the author: Kris Wadia is Founder & CEO of Humanized Leadership. To find out more about how your organisation can sharpen its business agility, join him at HR Tech Festival Asia 2024 on April 25 at the Talent Unleashed content theatre at 9am (SGT).