How To Prepare Your Workforce For Future Efficiency

The future is here, and now. Given how market uncertainties thwart even the best of project plans, an overhaul of your workforce makes good sense. After all, you can’t risk a skills gap being in the way of a project’s promised benefits. It’s time then, to leave complacent resource management strategies and planning behind for data-driven decisions to fuel project agility. Skill shifts govern your workforce’s relevance, especially when it comes to maximizing potential on projects that align strategically with both short and long-term business goals.

And with the rising popularity of the shared or ‘gig’ economy, you can’t afford to guesstimate your existing capacity’s bandwidth and availability. For one, they won’t all work the same hours, which would require you to inject flexibility into project calendars and resource schedules alike. And for another, their staying power is influenced by their individual interests which spills over to the re-skilling programs undertaken in future. Lets help you prepare your workforce for future efficiency with 5 steps, beginning with ;

Active Participation In The Resource Management Revolution

It’s a well-known fact; every project contains constrained elements. And it’s down to an experienced project manager to oversee the management of time, costs, scope, data and people.

Considering that interlinked and mutually exclusive projects govern how your resources are shared, a resource management tool is the route to integrating workforce management into project modules.  After all, projects and people are like siamese twins; i.e. one can’t exist without the other.  A unified view of both work and the people therefore, is how you’re assured of assigning and leveraging the right competencies at all times.

What’s more, the skills inventory residing within a smart resource management suite records resource information and profiles workforce by their skills, expertise, location, contract type,available hours, effort estimates and reskilled certifications. This way, resource workloads can be scheduled all the while factoring in absences, training programs and administrative activity. The tool would intuitively prevent over or under utilizing the existing workforce capacity, thus rectifying scheduling imbalances instantly.

Once the feasibility of queued projects are vetted out, you can proactively assess if your existing skills capacity needs to expand or scale back in line with the rigors of work, without exceeding the budget ceiling. The type and quantity of critical resources needed for both ongoing and future work can then be requisitioned ahead of the curve.

Factor In Technology Investment

Digitization has reduced the administrative workload. Given the restless nature of Generation Go, more popularly known as the millennials, it wasn’t surprising that 82% of the participants in EY’s future of work study stated that workforce technology would influence their career decisions.

Investing in the right technology, therefore,  enables your workforce to complete more work in a shorter span,  which not only boosts team productivity but also saves time (time is money, after all).  Innovation evolutions reinvent roles and jobs, which requires your workforce to reskill and/or upskill in order to remain employable in the long run.

The first step to ensuring you’re making the right investment is to consolidate enterprise-wide data in terms of the project pipeline, work influx and resource workflows. Embedding your workforce’s interests at the core lets you gauge how experiences differ with the usage of disruptive technology. For instance, big data analytics lets you mine data such that reports generated capture your organization’s performance accurately.  When it comes to product innovation, identifying the ingredients for quality build forewarns both you and your project teams of the skills needed per work package. Given how AI augments human capabilities to aid in intuitive decision-making, it makes sense to invest in data science and machine learning training programs that let your staff remain relevant when newer opportunities come in.

Rewrite Destiny With AI

Artificial Intelligence is changing the way businesses capture value. While the fear abounds that machines will systematically replace human capabilities,there’s no denying that automation is an efficiency enabler that lets workers become resourceful contributors. It not only handles an explosion of data but also reorders and connects systems to create a seamless information flow.

Artificial Intelligence machine complements human instincts, rendering it capable of teaching us just as much as it computes information it’s provided. For example, voice recognition technology is being successfully plugged into connected devices in order to let the machine comprehend spoken commands.

As far as skills go, the demand for higher cognitive skills pertaining to deep learning, process innovation and complex information processing is expected to grow, driving management innovation. The writing on the wall is clear then; the supply of hyper-specialized skills would have to match the demand for it while manually-intensive work would drastically shrink. This means that a firm’s economic growth would accelerate in line with workers who not only anticipate change but are ready to embrace disruption.

Effective Employee Engagement

Your staff sit the heart of skills shift, evolving roles, change management and technical revolutions. Being salaried is no longer the only motivating factor, particularly for the millennial generation comprising of part-timers, freelancers and contractors. With more businesses reaping the benefits of their services, it makes sense to keep both temporary and permanent hires motivated with enterprise-wide incentivization programs. If you don’t you risk watching critical skills go out the revolving door of opportunities

The first step is to set aside time for team-building activities. Not only does it give your staff a much-needed break from the rigors of their work commitments but also encourages your teams to communicate with each other. Improving communication at work lets your teams collaborate more effectively when new ideas are being exchanged.

Prioritize Training And Align It With Long-Term Plans

The current skills capacity should evolve to match your enterprise’s long-term objectives. This requires your workforce to keep themselves updated in order to hone their know-how and adapt to changing customer needs. With a more flexible millennial workforce slowly replacing the former generation of baby boomers, it’s essential to involve them in prioritizing relevant training schemes. After all, they’re the ones who would have to set aside the bandwidth for self-paced and on-the-role learning.

It starts with capturing the interests of the new-age workforce in terms of both strengths as well as weak knowledge-areas that they’d like to invest their efforts into. This is a crucial step because it lets you invest in the right training areas that align with your firm’s long-term plans. An added advantage here is that retraining measures defines work that needs to be done and expected outcomes for the future.

Once you know that training directly achieves specified outcomes, you can gather the right mix of assets in terms of human and technical capabilities to strategically map core work. This way, you’ll pass up work with unfavorable elements, i.e. those projects whose ‘perceivable’ and ‘actual’ value are mismatched.

We owe it to ourselves to adapt, learn and relearn from digital disruptions. Nothing screams Artificial Intelligence more than a strategic resource roadmap that lets you tap into potential from within. After all, true future workforce efficiency lies in reducing your staffing costs while preventing unprecedented delays and  lapses in productivity!

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