Future of work amidst Covid-19 restrictions is changing the company landscape. Workforce integration factors are key when considering organizational workplace structure. Coronovirus is morphing the face of traditional workplace environments, resulting in important factors when faced with new opportunities.
There has been a growing focus on the future of work and jobs. Primarily, the focus has now changed to efficiencies that can be gained through new technologies and even the potential of cost-cutting measures with job eliminations. Very little guidance has been provided to boards of directors on how to navigate this necessary but uncharted sea of change that has almost been been forced on organizations.
In the Director Lens Fall 2019 survey by the Institute of Corporate Directors, only 49% of the respondents indicated that they had discussed “future of work” issues within the context of their organization’s strategic plans (Institute of Corporate Directors, 2019). An earlier Director Lens survey in 2019 showed a degree of disconnect at the board level between the awareness of future technology initiatives and its accompanying impact on current workforces. Almost 80% of Canadian company directors surveyed stated they have discussed the possibilities of applying automating technologies in their organizations but a very small number, only eighteen percent, had actually developed any type of strategy to retrain their workforce accordingly. This has resulted in a significant gap which is now showing negative consequences and has many organizations in a “catch up” mode.
Based on the subsequent unexpected and newly-structured workplace dynamics due to Covid-19, here are five suggested considerations to help determine how the future of work and jobs may function within a company:
Re-skilling and Re-training
The objective of a board of directors should be to ensure that the culture of the company or organization is set up to support the re-skilling and re-training needed to enable it to function as expected. The board should allow their organization to collaborate with stakeholders, both internal and external, to develop a policy that supports needed skills for this transformation.
A few options to initiate this process can include:
- Requirements for management to incorporate a staffing risk protocol to also be part of any strategic planning proposals. This integration will allow the understanding of what skills are needed with the company to accomplish a cohesive strategic plan that may then expose any opportunities needing attention.
- The board will need to champion the organizational public policy that encourages personal skills development. Coupled with this internal corporate policy, encouraging external collaboration with appropriate industrial sectors, government entities and post-secondary institutions to take proactive steps in retraining the workforce.
Human Dimension of Work
For a board to be effective in its governance, technology and workforce planning are needed in all aspects of oversight. This will also encompass strategy and enterprise risk.
This process of integration will require organizational “buy in” with Human Resources and IT teams. There will need to be a process of determining the impact of cost on technology budgets and future expenditures for the organization’s workforce. There may be the added necessity of growing the Human Resources and Compensation Committee Charter to include inclusion and oversight in determining technology integration and workforce planning effectiveness. Additionally, company directors will need to understand what the potential company, industry or economic landscape would look like beyond the next number of strategic plans to determine company capacity and skills needed for long term integration.
The composition of organizational workforces is shifting and the future of work will only continue. According to recent research, “35 percent of the US workforce is in supplemental, temporary, project or contract-based work.” (Schwartz, 2019). As organizations change and in order to govern effectively, board members need to understand the company alternative worker make up and in what capacity.
Company boards will need to ensure an appropriate and effective workforce strategy to balance the pace of company change and the future of work within the organization. There will need to be considerations of risk to compensate for these potential opportunities and risk factors that will support the execution of a successful business strategy.
Some important factors to consider about the future of work:
- Determine if there are already operational organization mechanisms functioning that effectively manage alternative workers.
- Ensure that a current and future alternative workforce strategy is being considered for continued success.
- A company cultural assessment is important to understand the current and potential culture and how the integration of alternative workers may fit into the company strategy for current and future applications.
- It’s important to develop a deeper awareness of organizational human capital planning for those below senior management levels in order to meet future workforce requirements. This assessment should be based on needs and data driven.
It is integral that a company board understand what the organizational design the company requires currently and into the future. This would include where and how people work now and how they develop. What are the physical footprints of where their teams work? The most important features of the future workforce are within the structural team and workflow system in place for productivity, effectiveness and innovation.
It is important for the boards to:
- Understand the processes and connect to the organization/company work being performed so they can determine where potential innovation may take place.
- Determine training and development incentive programs and require that management teams build talent development into business strategy.
- Consider the corporate culture process when determining capital spending requests to ensure that they will enhance the human performance at the organization.
Governing for Purpose
Boards need to solidify a successful, powerful and long-term purpose that has a measurable purpose that is communicated to all stakeholders. It is important for corporate culture to be supported by the board. For many organizations, having a corporate purpose may be difficult to integrate and, for all stakeholders, may be a challenge to live out in real life application. An opportunity arises in creating a purpose in that it may seem forced and not authentic. Additionally, many organizations are focused simply on surviving the current economic climate and may determine a company “purpose” as a luxury.
It is important, however, that boards understand the part a corporate purpose contributes to a positive, successful organization that retains an engaged workforce.
Some steps that an organization’s board can make are:
- Solidify a corporate purpose that will contribute to the organization’s success that will, in turn, attract and retain an engaged workforce that feels valued.
- Timelines and benchmarks for integration are important to ensure all stakeholders buy into the process. Regular reporting with metrics to the board and stakeholders ensure success and accountability.
- Board members are viewed as the leaders of the company/organization and must ensure that the corporate purpose and goals are communicated throughout the organization.
What are your thoughts on the coming changes to the future of work and organizational structure? We invite you connect with Encompassing Visions for a guided job evaluation software demo to help increase productivity for your team or organization during this time of uncertainty. Our web-based job evaluation software efficiently captures and integrates job accountabilities with competencies that define and reflect your organization’s culture and competitive advantage. This integral information is stored in the Job Database to automatically inform job evaluation, as well as your recruiting, learning and talent planning processes.