Workforce Management

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many businesses had to rethink their approach to workforce management in 2020. The shifting regulatory landscape, fluctuating demand, and unforeseeable market circumstances highlighted the importance of business flexibility and strategic workforce planning. Though many businesses lost revenue, some sectors, such as the logistics industry, managed to grow. Here are the top reasons implementing strategic workforce planning will be critical to success in 2022 and beyond:

Adapting to New Circumstances
Naturally, keeping employees and customers safe was the top priority for employers around the globe. Social distancing guidelines, work-from-home arrangements, and virtual conferencing have become common across all industries. To adjust to these new circumstances, many started adopting new technologies and workforce management principles. Now, companies are looking for new ways to apply the lessons learned in their future business plans and are turning to a more adaptive business strategy. As it is uncertain how long the current pandemic will last, businesses are now switching their focus on strategic workforce planning to prepare for similar contingencies in the future.

Responding to Changes in Real Time
Good contingent workforce management allows organisations to respond quickly to sudden drops or spikes in consumer demand. Businesses that leverage workforce management solutions with a high level of visibility know exactly where to downsize or add additional staff members. This can help protect critical business functions and ensure continuity by cutting back on less essential spend. Examples include manufacturers, who had to meet sudden spikes in demand, or retailers, who introduced delivery options for their customers.

The Price of Late Adoption
While some companies had to rapidly increase staff to meet new market demand, others had to drastically downsize their operations in response to states of emergency and stay-at-home orders. Implementing strategic workforce planning to your business model to fill skill gaps or introduce new competencies can be challenging. Without the right insights, companies lack the data to make informed decisions. On the other hand, early adopters have been better prepared to face the new uncertainties and were able to pivot quickly.

A Hybrid Future
As companies adapt to new ways of doing business, few are expected to fully return to their pre-pandemic “normal”. More employees are now working remotely than ever before, and many have grown accustomed to their new level of flexibility and changes in their work-life balance. In response, many employers are adapting hybrid workforce management models, which may include employees working remote part of the week, and part time in the office. Adapting to these changes may require companies to rethink the way they utilise their physical business locations, and where to source talent from.

Risks and Opportunities
Businesses that can restructure their processes and rethink their workforce management principles may very well be the long-term winners. However, an increasingly remote workforce, especially one that includes contingent workers, introduces its own set of risks. For instance, installing new IT systems for remote collaboration may require hiring experts on a temporary basis to assist with the implementation. However, hiring remote contractors without proper cyber security risk assessment and procedures could mean introducing cybersecurity liabilities in an organisation.

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