Wanted, No Needed: Greater Workforce Agility

An organization’s ability to move quickly when challenged — without compromising stability —is a key indicator of the organization’s overall health.

Wanted, No Needed: Greater Workforce Agility
Management practices determine workplace agility, and agility determines how well your company will adapt to change.

There is a lot of talk these days about the increasing pace of work in our global economy. The traditional work week has evolved from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and the pressure to innovate and be more productive is a daily reality. A common misconception about this trend is that it comprises two forces working in opposition — speed and stability. In other words, if you work too quickly, business stability will be compromised. And, an emphasis on business stability necessitates that work speed will suffer.

As more Millennials enter the workplace and companies are evolving to accommodate the needs of the next-gen workers, companies are disproving previously held “truths”. For example, McKinsey & Company conducted an extensive study, based on feedback of more than two million respondents at more than 1,000 companies, on the impact of a wide range of management practices. The goal of the study was to identify specific organizational and leadership characteristics and their impact on a company’s health.

Vishal Brown is vice president of professional services for Yorktel, a worldwide provider of cloud, UC&C and video managed services, including enterprise-grade videoconferencing-as-a-service, unified communications and collaboration. Yorktel is Commercial Integrator magazine’s 2015 Integrator of the Year.

Within the survey were questions designed to gauge companies’ speed and flexibility, and to see how often leaders and managers moved quickly when challenged and how rapidly organizations adjusted to changes and to new ways of doing things. What the study uncovered was that the vast majority (70%) of companies that displayed high levels of speed and stability (i.e. agility) also were ranked in the top quartile for organizational health.

The study also revealed agile organizations to be powerful machines for innovation and learning, with stand-out performance in top-down innovation, capturing external ideas, and knowledge sharing.

Over the past month, I’ve been talking about the Next Gen Workplace (NGW), a business strategy that promotes an environment that enables agile user experiences by fostering productivity, efficiency and optimal growth potential. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, to optimize this environment, organizations must create an ecosystem founded on flexible policies that embrace new business models, transparency, collaboration and community building, diversity, and the consumerization of technology.

Following are three components of an agile, NGW that I would like to explore more closely:

Who Is The NGW Worker?

To understand the dynamics of today’s workforce, it’s essential to include the growing role of “Millennials,” which have now surpassed Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. A study conducted by PwC (PwC’s NextGen: A Global Generational Study), gives insight on a couple of key motivators for these workers:

Millennials value job flexibility. PwC’s study found that 64% of Millennials would like to occasionally work from home and 66% of Millennials would like to shift their work hours. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the first key component of an NGW environment is enabling a flexible corporate culture.

Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and environments that emphasize teamwork and community. In my last blog, I talked about how Next Gen Workplaces enable true collaboration, which aligns with Millennials’ work needs and promotes higher levels of productivity.

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