How to Cultivate Agility and Build a Future-Ready Workforce

February 6, 2020 Marinus van Driel

Agility goes hand in hand with digital readiness, a critical competency for any workforce. We know that digitalization is going to affect every industry and will fundamentally change how we work. As technology develops, skill sets will need to transform at every level of your organization.

Since no organization is immune from disruption, companies need an agile workforce that can embrace emerging changes and adapt to new challenges. An agile mindset may already be present at strategic points in your organization, but that may not be enough to transform your workforce and ensure digital readiness.

Agility must saturate the organization and become part of the company’s DNA. Taking the time to identify what makes agility so effective at these strategic points will help spread those benefits to every level of the company.

To be future-ready, agility must be a hallmark of your organization’s culture — an agile workforce is a future-ready one. Here’s how you can cultivate agility at your organization.

Embrace an Agile Mindset

Cultivating behaviors like curiosity, learnability and adaptability is essential in supporting agility and digital readiness.

As technology develops, skill sets are changing at every level. Planning for disruption can make the difference between success or being left behind.

Start by determining which traits are most desired for the workforce of the future. One critical step is to change your organization’s culture to one that embraces agility — and not just in the areas of process and development. An agile mindset must be adopted at all levels of the organization in order for your workforce to be successful.

Cultivating behaviors like curiosity, learnability and adaptability is essential in supporting agility and digital readiness. These traits give your workforce the ability to pivot in the face of change, and your talent management processes should identify and reward them as you develop your future-ready workforce.

By laying the agile principles of curiosity, learnability and adaptability over your existing framework, you can identify where your organization needs to become more agile and how you can reskill your existing workforce to become future-ready.

Reskill for Future-Ready Traits

Now is the time to begin asking those critical questions related to workforce development: What changes are coming in your industry? What skill sets will your employees need to be successful? And what steps do you have to take, as an organization, to reskill employees who are at risk of becoming obsolete?

Your response to these questions will determine your survival.

For example, the mining industry is moving toward remote supervisory positions instead of the on-site, hands-on, blue-collar roles of the past. So how can mining companies reskill vast numbers of workers to prepare them for the future? This comes down to developing a framework to reskill and move these employees where they can best serve the organization — and their own careers.

In our rapidly evolving workplace, investing in training and reskilling is the only way to deliver continued success — for your organization and for your employees — while minimizing major disruptions in your business model.

For more on identifying and developing internal talent for a future-ready workforce read our Whitepaper: Does Your Workforce Have the Talent DNA for the Digital Future? 

About the Author

Marinus van Driel

Marinus van Driel, Ph.D. is a Managing Director within the Talent, Rewards, and Performance practice at Aon. His responsibilities include providing strategic, expert advisory, and transition management services to clients related to implementation and maintenance of enterprise-level talent assessment systems. Marinus holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology.

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