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External vs. Internal Forces: How to Find the Right Balance in Agile Organisations

Today's post is from Claire Richardson, director, the Workforce Institute at Kronos, & vice president of professional services, EMEA, Kronos . Here she argues for the need for more agile organisations.

Organisations today are challenged with forces that seem to be pulling them in opposite directions. On one side, organisations are experiencing massive digital transformation to improve speed and agility to better serve customer needs. On the other, they are fighting for scarce talent in a highly competitive arena where employees desire a company that offers unique benefits, flexible working schemes, advanced technologies, and a work-life balance.

So how do organisations balance these different requirements and come out victorious in both the customer and employee arena?

External agility

The overall goal of an agile organisation is to respond quickly to changing market requirements. These include factors such as the emergence of new competitors, the development of new industry-changing technologies, or sudden shifts in overall market conditions. Surveys have found that this kind of agility correlates directly with the success of an organisation. In fact, the most agile companies can be 2.7 times more successful than their competitors. 

It's clear that being agile when it comes to technology, digital transformation, and market requirements can boost your bottom line. But will you get there without addressing agility within the walls of your organisation - with your people? 

Internal agility

At Kronos, we believe that your workforce is your greatest asset and can be a critical competitive differentiator. So it's imperative that organisations address agility for their people. 

The modern employee is looking for what is referred to as an agile work environment - defined by the freedom and flexibility to work where they want, when they want, and sometimes on what they want. We see this with the rise of the gig economy and contract workers who accept positions with strictly outlined parameters, and in some instances where the schedule and results are defined by them. Agile work is becoming more common, but when it comes to the front-line worker - the one that needs to be present to complete their job such as nurses, factory workers, and first responders - obtaining agility is harder.

The right balance

Finding the right balance with a modern workforce and in a competitive business marketplace is essential - and there is no one right answer or retrofit solution. It all comes down to what's right for your individual organisation. The key is a true understanding of your organisation_s needs AND your employees_ preferences.  Workforce technology can aid in this venture, by arming managers with hard data for accurate decision making. Knowing what times of day your retail store or factory floor are busiest can ensure that you have the right amount of staff available to meet business demand, while allowing them to clock out at slower or more convenient times that make sense for the business and their schedule.

In this way, both the employee who loves working the early shift so they can play football with their friends in the afternoon, and the parent who desires the later shift to allow them to spend the morning with their children, are both accurately staffed and continue to be happy and engaged employees that drive the success of your business.

The answer lies in empowering managers and business leaders with the knowledge of what needs to get done, who can do it and when, and then create a schedule quickly around these needs and preferences.

Photo Credit Yann Leidinger / EyeEm

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