Workforce Transformation: Definition, Strategies, Examples
As change and disruption skyrocket across industries, businesses must keep up or be left behind. This rapidly evolving landscape requires companies to be agile and undergo multi-faceted transformations – not only in terms of technology and processes but of employees’ roles, skillsets, aptitudes, and approaches.
What Is Workforce Transformation?
Workforce transformation is the process by which organizations empower their employees to adapt and excel along with an organization as it grows and changes. This process involves curating hiring and employee development processes to align employees’ skills with the company’s needs.
Workforce transformation has many components, including strategic hiring practices, upskilling employees, reworking existing roles, etc.
Organizations must incorporate workforce transformation-related goals into their L&D initiatives. This provides employees with holistic opportunities for growth to excel in their jobs while learning new ways to improve their overall well-being.
Types Of Workforce Transformation
There are three types of workforce transformation, which differ based on the scope of change.
One key area of workforce transformation is the redesign of the operational structures of an organization. This is often the starting point of workforce transformation, allowing business leaders to work toward big-picture goals through employee development and team restructuring.
Organizational transformation also includes aspects of company culture, incorporating goals that eliminate dated or toxic norms, shifting instead toward building community, and improving employee experience.
Another area of focus in workforce transformation is leadership. This involves brushing up on leadership strategies, improving communication skills, or software training. Over the past years, it has become increasingly apparent that positive employee experience and overall success depend on fostering transparency, collaboration, and empowerment between employees and higher-ups.
Digital transformation involves changing the technology and information systems used by an organization’s employee base. This means incorporating new software platforms and eliminating outdated or superfluous ones as necessary. Digital transformation gives employees the tools to succeed and align with their company’s mission or values.
Benefits of Workforce Transformation
During Covid, the pace of change increased greatly, ushering in a massive wave of transformation in businesses across the world. This massive disruption has made the benefits of workforce transformation abundantly clear.
1. Promotes a digital culture
Incorporating new, useful, and appropriate digital technologies into business operations allows employees to work more efficiently and contribute to the goals of workplace transformation more substantially. It also allows for more transparency and collaboration by moving organizational documents and communications to more centralized locations in the cloud.
2. Allows for more flexibility
Transformation of workplace technology and leadership approaches allow employees to do their jobs in the best way. This improves employee experience and engagement by promoting better work-life balance and making the work more enjoyable. Furthermore, this flexibility translates to agility, enhancing employees’ ability to adapt and excel when new challenges arise
3. Reduction of operational costs
The digital aspects of workforce transformation allow organizations to reduce operational costs by decreasing the need for frequent in-person meetings, shifting document storage solutions to the cloud, and eliminating software redundancies and excessive software subscriptions. Company dollars go much further when tasks are completed more efficiently and progress is expedited.
4. Boosts employee experience
Employee experience is a key factor in workforce productivity and success. Through workforce transformation, employees are empowered to collaborate positively with their peers, improve their work-life balance, and complete tasks using appropriate and efficient digital solutions. These aspects, combined with a positive organizational culture, boost employee engagement and performance.
5. Improves employee retention
Employees are more likely to remain with an organization when they feel engaged and empowered to grow. Workforce transformation does just that. With this transformation, team members are provided with appropriate tools and support to be successful, making them less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.
Challenges of Workforce Transformation
Any large-scale shift to the way an organization works can present challenges, and workforce transformation is no exception. Importantly, though, these changes are manageable with proper planning and foresight.
1. Organizational buy-in
One of the most significant workforce transformation challenges is getting organizational leaders to sign off on the project. This step is critical because it affects funding for different aspects of transformation in addition to setting an example for the rest of the workforce.
Because workforce transformation benefits the company’s bottom line, clear communication about these benefits is essential to entice those leaders. Employees spearheading transformation initiatives should be prepared to demonstrate to leaders how the process will work and how it will apply to large-scale organizational goals, and include impact projections at each stage.
The digital aspects of workforce transformation can present new security-related issues that can be alleviated with additional security measures. Data security and compliance are required for any company to keep things running smoothly. Workforce transformation teams must ensure that new software includes adequate security measures and incorporate security training into L&D initiatives.
Using new software and increasing expectations of group work can present learning curves for some. As the organization evolves and workforce transformation progresses, communication and collaboration skills and software training must be incorporated into employee training for employees to become more resilient and agile.
4. Resistance to change
For some team members, resistance might result from a broad reluctance to change. This can be one of the biggest hurdles to clear as the process gets started. For this reason, it is important for the teams running transformation efforts to communicate with resistant employees, pinpoint the areas causing them stress, and incorporate thoughtful solutions into plans for the future.
8 Best Practices for Successful Workforce Transformation
Let’s discuss some best practices for successful workforce transformation in your organization.
1. Perform a skills assessment
To begin, workforce transformation teams must establish and understand a baseline through employee assessments. This can be accomplished by analyzing data from employee performance reviews and disseminating surveys to employees and their managers. At this point, it will be possible to pinpoint critical gaps in knowledge and skills and identify the potential need for new roles within different lines of business.
2. Identify goals
The next step is to take stock of the organization’s most pressing needs and choose one or two goals impacted by a need for workforce transformation. From here, transformation teams can compare the results from the skills assessment to identify which skill gaps to focus on and begin developing a strategy for transforming different aspects of the organization to meet those goals. This is also an opportunity to consider which roles can be reworked and how workflows and working groups can be restructured.
During this stage, teams must establish metrics to accompany the goals they are working toward. This will allow teams to track progress, which will be used to report back to leadership and can be reincorporated into transformation strategies as they evolve.
3. Explain the benefits of workforce transformation to the workforce
As workforce transformation initiatives are rolled out, transformation teams must communicate their purpose and benefits to employees and leadership at every step. Keeping the entire workforce in the loop promotes engagement at every stage and ensures that the vision of workforce transformation is realized.
4. Create training programs for employee development
Employee reskilling and upskilling efforts are integral to transformation efforts and coincide with the rollout of technology and operational changes. These training efforts should span the entire employee life cycle, delivered via whichever methods are appropriate for the content area and employee needs.
This might mean periodic engagement with virtual training programs, internally-led learning sessions, formalized mentorship, or even investments in continued employee education.
5. Focus on employee experience
The success of workforce transformation depends largely on the engagement and buy-in of employees. While workforce transformation does result in a more positive employee experience in the long run, opportunities to improve engagement must be taken throughout the transformation process. As employee experience improves, employees feel more optimistic about their time working and more closely connected to the organization’s mission and values.
To accomplish this, transformation leaders should provide wellness resources and information and find opportunities for personal connection, trust, and flexibility. Overall, the experience of workforce transformation should be positive for the employees.
6. Find “transformation champions” in your workforce
Although your employees need to see that leadership is on board with transformation, observing the engagement and success of peers is what actually kicks things up a notch. Therefore, for successful workforce transformation efforts, seek out “transformation champions” from your employee base to serve as ambassadors who demonstrate the benefits of transformation to their teammates. This will help promote employee engagement and create communication channels for feedback and improvement.
7. Measure the impact of workforce transformation
Transformation teams should track progress with analytic tools and regular surveys throughout transformation efforts. This data can be used to continuously measure the impact of workforce transformation on organizational goals and employee experience and improve the transformation processes.
8. Tweak specific milestones as per measurement results
Workforce transformation is a continuous process. As the impact of workforce transformation is measured, organizations must take those opportunities for improvement and incorporate them into business operations. This combination of analysis and adaptation should work as a feedback loop, propelling the organization into a more efficient and successful future.
Workforce Transformation Examples
Many of the most prominent businesses on the landscape today have made strides to transform their workforces over the past years. Here are two stellar examples:
One fantastic example of workforce transformation is the strategy utilized by the hugely successful national corporation Unilever. This organization has continually transformed its workforce by promoting continued learning, creating individualized career paths for employees, and building an internal talent marketplace to propel its working base into the future.
Another prominent business that has demonstrated the importance and benefit of workplace transformation is the insurance company Allstate. In 2020, Allstate raised their employees’ minimum wage, invested in work-from-home equipment, and focused on employee growth through training and reskilling. As time passed, employees reported that they would prefer to continue working from home, and organization leaders obliged. Ultimately, this company has become a shining example of how prioritizing employee experience and embracing change can lead to success.
Ultimately, every organization must forge its own path to workplace transformation. Aligning the skills of a business’s employees and operations with its overall goals and values takes careful planning and proper resources. A digital adoption platform like Whatfix can help employees ease into these transitions, bring on the benefits of workforce transformation, and boost employee productivity.
Schedule a free demo with us to learn how to unlock the full potential of your workforce with better support training and support content!