If you talk to colleagues or industry mates around the internet, you’ll find that business leaders are having a problem: they can’t find the right employees.
If they do find that unicorn, there’s usually a premium for skilled experience. It’s a tricky situation and leaders are finding they can’t simply hire their way out of a problem.
With a competitive market for a hyper-connected and very aware labor force, there are just not enough of the right candidates to quickly source new teams for projects that need immediate attention. Instead, companies and organizations of all sizes need to retrain existing employees and tap local resources for candidates that are moldable.
The economy is and has been rapidly changing. So should the way you source your best asset: your workforce. When companies choose to upskill employees, investing in their careers and not just in short and medium-term projects, they expand the capabilities of these people and create a whole new set of talent where there wasn’t one before.
This change to upskilling requires a change in thinking: a change in hiring, onboarding, assessing, and advancing. All this provides an opportunity for the employees and the companies to remain evergreen while the technological cycle reinvents itself every few months.
What we have here is a workforce transformation, the key change to happen at your organization. It’s something unique because while it starts with leadership embracing and enacting it at the top, with changes happening at the granular level as well – meaning they last.
What is workforce transformation?
A good definition of workforce transformation positions it as a “significant and deliberate change to the nature of your company’s employee base and the way in which it is deployed,” which “might include extensive retraining of staff, introducing new work and management styles, and changing the way in which your organization hires its employees”. But what does that really mean? Yes, your workforce is changing in the way it does things, from start to finish, but to understand more you need to ask why is workforce transformation happening.
Why is workforce transformation happening?
A vibrant workforce is constantly changing and growing. So what’s different now? There are several factors that contribute to the larger scale of workforce transformation currently taking place.
A PwC survey recently found that “79 percent of chief executives around the world said that a lack of key skills threatens their business growth.” There’s an obvious deficit and problem to solve if the current scale of the skills gap reaches worldwide.
The technological foundation has had a big shift over the past 10-15 years toward scalable cloud infrastructure, and this change has accelerated over each of those years. Much more is happening and changing in year 10 than in year 2.
And since companies are competing to innovate in a digital-forward economic environment, it’s useful to consider the role of the infrastructure and digital medium as part of this change.
There’s a cliche that every company is now a tech company, but this generalization has a grain of truth in it. Whether it’s finance, healthcare, education, insurance, etc., so many industries are relying on current-generation cloud technology to help them service customers with more speed and flexibility. These companies and industries are able to make their product release cycles cheaper, faster, and more flexible, and this is powered by the extensible, modular, and scalable nature of the cloud technologies that form the infrastructure.
So it makes sense that because the foundation is set up to scale quickly, the workforce that operates on top of these systems has to take on a lot of that flexibility as well. And this transformation has ripple effects for the leaders who have to harness the never-ending waves of technological progress into a focused union with their talent base.
Disruptions that contribute to workforce transformation
It’s helpful to be aware of the many disruptions in the work and business worlds that contribute to the tide of workforce transformation. Some of these are:
- A big dependence on constantly-changing technology platforms – which allow speed and flexibility – but require constant learning to keep pace with the pace of technological evolution
- Risks beyond the control of a business such as pandemics, wars, and financial crises
- Generational shifts within the workforce, with conflicting priorities
- Increasing difficulty in retaining top talent in high-paying technology-related areas
- Employees’ desire for remote work, especially on knowledge-based or project-based work
Key elements for a successful workforce transformation
Now that we understand what a workforce transformation is and what causes it, let’s explore how a well-organized process is essential for a successful workforce transition. Some of the key milestones in a transformation are as follows:
Set goals to achieve concrete business results
Before moving to the cloud, your tech staff must understand how this move will fit into the overall business strategy. New types of goals – some with cross-functional collaboration – need to be mapped out and agreed upon. Some examples are as follows:
- Modernize and optimize your customer’s front-end experience, from first visit to repeat purchase
- Drive innovation to improve ROI, such as new ways to engage customers, create efficiencies, and develop new services and products
- Digitize transformation for the workplace in a brick-and-mortar environment, helping streamline operations, support expansion, and deliver in-the-moment insights into people and products
- Restructure your organization, including the retirement of technical redundancies
Identify areas of opportunity
It’s a good idea to make a list of all the skills in your company and compare them with what you need for your technology and business initiatives. Start by identifying the baseline skills of your team. Once your team is on the right track, you will want to continue to train them to keep up with changing cloud technology.
This is where a programmatic approach makes life easier. Prior to training, leverage pre-assessments to quickly establish baselines, and then use skill assessments and hands-on labs to validate that the targeted new skills have been acquired. And don’t forget analytics! A well-designed dashboard that is helps you to separate the signal from the noise.
Your dashboard for monitoring organization readiness should contain the following items:
- Current skill levels
- An organization of teams that mirrors your internal organization
Be prepared to commit to the journey of transformation
You need best-in-class skills readiness to ensure your transformation will be successful. This will be useful to help plan a comprehensive journey that evaluates your employees’ skills – and goals – from start to finish.
You need to be able to evaluate your employees’ skills and to develop them at scale if you are going to create a plan that will help you make an effective plan to support their technical growth. Here’s a quick overview.
Start by identifying your baseline skills
- Leverage Smart Assessments that measure current skill level against your targeted goal, whether upskilling for a job role, certification, or other objective.
Rapidly improve technical capabilities
- Adaptive training programs keep the end in mind, focusing staff upskilling on the skills they need now, and skipping past content they already know.
Be confident that your team is ready
- Real-world expertise is proven through skill reports that are based on practical assessments and challenges in real AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud accounts in lab scenarios.
Measure skills and correct course
What is proper measurement?
Cloud Academy’s approach towards understanding skills is based on three core concepts, a start, middle and end. We start with baselining, progress to developing, and end with validating. But really, there is no end when it comes to continuous learning and growth, this is all part of a cycle that repeats itself and is scalable, one of its highest values.
Let’s dig into these steps a little more:
- Baseline – provides a pulse on individual and team competencies to help hire great talent faster with pre-hire assessments and onboard quicker.
- Develop – allows you to choose fully customizable upskilling pathways from up-to-date training material (including hands-on labs and certification prep)
- Validate – lets you see real-time skill growth analytics. It also allows you to manage certification programs at scale. It helps you establish job roles, clear career opportunities, and creates job opportunities.
To develop and learn in a specific tech field, you need specialized platforms that allow you to make meaningful career advancements. Companies will not be able to overcome skills shortages, foster innovation, or address the problem of disengagement with L&D programs.
Gartner’s September 2021 study found that 64% IT executives consider talent shortage to be the greatest barrier to adopting new technologies. This is compared to just 4% for 2020. So to make the most of digital modernization efforts, it’s important to have a strategic plan for building technology talent.
Making the most out of workforce transformation
How do you maximize the opportunity buried within all the challenges and risks of workforce transformation? Change is hard, especially when the shift involves technology + people. The answer is a proven partner that has a scalable, programmatic solution to benchmark your team’s skill and progress them systematically toward goals. With Cloud Academy, your transformation is powered by insights as you progress past each milestone, customization to mirror your org structure, and instructional technology that covers the breadth and depth of a constantly-evolving industry, allowing you success in reaching your next goals.
Effective workforce transformation requires a Skills Readiness Solution.
You want to make sure your team workforce is ready for the technical, business, and organizational challenges of creating and releasing new products and services. Our Skills Readiness Solution will help you set your goals so that your team can meet them.