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Are you ready for agile working?

March 28, 2022

The last couple of years have transformed the workplace. Myths such as people not being trusted to work from home have been dispelled and technology has enabled a permanent change to the world of work.

One of the key challenges faced by most organisations was how to adapt their ways of working to be able to continue performing.  We all know how it begun, “three weeks to flatten the curve”!  It soon became obvious this was going to be more than just 3 weeks and it turned out to be a whole lot more.  The changes crippled some organisations who simply couldn’t or didn’t adapt to the changes.  But many did survive, in fact some even thrived.

Those that did well were the ones that adapted fast and well.  Helped by technology, processes and quick thinking, these organisations were flexible and agile in their approach to work.

Now that we are coming out the other side of this particularly long and challenging pandemic, organisations are looking to future-proof themselves to ensure they are ready for whatever is thrown at them next.  What if a key team member is off ill and no one can cover? What if we suddenly need to close our offices again? How will the company cope if a team member was poached?

To do this, organisations need to create and support agile workforces.  This means creating multi-skilled teams that have access to and the ability to use a variety of resources.  

To start with, look at your teams and review succession plans.  Conduct Training Needs Analysis to identify individual and team skill gaps. Use this to develop training plans and put support in place to compliment individual and organisational goals.  Consider coaching and mentoring as well as training.  Implement a job swap scheme enabling employees to work in different areas of the business.  

One of the questions we have considered here is, in an agile organisation, what is the purpose of job titles and do we even need them?  If we want team members who can be flexible and move easily from one position to another as needed, are traditional job titles obsolete?  Wouldn’t we be better served looking at skills and tasks rather than titles?

One of the key learning outcomes from this is the requirement for most employees to be able to adapt to change and to adapt quickly. It always makes me smile when I read about how people don’t like change and don’t react well to change. For most people this simply isn’t true. The human species has proved itself over centuries to be remarkably adept to change and the last two years have shown just how quickly employees have adapted to some of the most dramatic changes the world of work has seen.  Change is here to stay. How ready are you?

For more information and a look at some of the enterprising organisations that thrived during lockdown check out this article in The Independent- How small businesses adapted to survive and thrive during the pandemic | The Independent.

Anthony Sutton


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