To Thine Employees Be True (Part Three)

Why your workforce must be adaptable to be valuable

In the previous installment of our managed services series, we explored the role individualized strategies play in winning the war on talent and keeping star candidates engaged. Now we’ll discuss how an adaptable workforce is one secret to survival in an era where transformation seems to be constant.

Adapt or fail to thrive

Disruptive forces, technologies, and processes are infiltrating the market with increased velocity, creating a dramatic shift in the world of work. In this new era, only one thing remains the same: the pace of change. Transformation is the new normal and leaders must hire for adaptability or risk becoming obsolete.

So how can you reimagine your recruiting strategies with adaptable talent in mind? How can you harness the power of your people to pivot and roll with the next wave? How can you cultivate a culture of curiosity, where high-performing teams focus less on the legacy models of the past and more on continuous evolution?

The answer lies in candidate attributes and coachability, over competency. The ability to adjust your style and strategy to shifting circumstances is an indispensable asset in today’s dynamic workplace, making or breaking an organization’s chances for survival. Ultimately, businesses that design talent strategies around adaptability and agile ways of working are better positioned to thrive. In doing so, they’re able to prime the next generation of change-makers and strategy-shapers with the forward-thinking vision needed to beat the competition.

Initially created as a software development construct, Agile has now permeated the product development, marketing, and HR arenas (and in some cases the entire enterprise). Moreover, it’s shifted the business model from long haul, bureaucratic, and laborious to quick, co-creative, and collaborative.

Try Agile on for size, keeping culture top of mind

Consider a senior-level employee with extensive institutional knowledge and industry experience. They are fiercely loyal to processes and systems that have historically driven success. It’s difficult for them to broaden their horizons to new possibilities. This resistance to change creates a bottleneck throughout the organization, which impacts the team’s ability to deliver quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. As a result, the veteran employee may become disgruntled with the process, damage team morale, lose faith in the organization, and ultimately leave the company.

How can leaders prevent this scenario?

As we examined in our previous blog entry, organizations can successfully attract and retain top talent by personalizing employee experiences, respecting individual ideas, and leaning into learning. Yet in order to adopt an iterative “adapt and learn” mentality, cultural change must take center stage.

When designing your talent strategies, consider these critical steps to adaptability success:

  • Re-evaluate candidate criteria.Hire for attitude, train for skill” is the foundation of Agile done right. Leaders are encouraged to recruit candidates who have a proven track record in navigating complex and fast-moving environments with ease and over an extended period of time. This hiring strategy helps organizations create an indispensable team of collaborators, big thinkers, and open-minded dreamers who embrace new ways of working and bring fresh ideas to life.
  • Foster organizational alignment. The old-guard organizational hierarchies of the past are rapidly becoming irrelevant, paving the way for new matrixed models to emerge. This workplace evolution has created complexity that requires new behaviors and a deeper understanding of individual missions to succeed. Ultimately, employees must understand how their roles align with the big-picture strategy and cross-functional team objectives, and they must break down siloes to work together as one united front.
  • Co-create new ways of working. Cultivate an iterative, human-centric, continuous learning approach to create new ways of working. When leaders involve teams in the solution creation process and encourage their ideas and perspectives, employees are more likely to champion their visions.
  • Promote resilience. Coach teams on the art of resilience in alignment with organizational objectives. This helps them determine when legacy or Agile methods are essential for success.

Mobilize change-makers of tomorrow

Now more than ever before, organizations are creating competitive advantage by hiring change-makers with adaptability in their DNA. Recognizing the critical importance of this capability, business leaders are investing in human capital and teaching their people how to be successful in this era of continuous change. As a result, they’re poised to develop new strategies for adaptability and activate the workforce of the future.

For more insights into our managed services approach, check out Part One and Part Two of this series.