The pace of digital transformation continues to accelerate as organizations everywhere reset business strategy in response to COVID-19. But many organizations already face a lack of digital skills that could stall their transformation initiatives. The good news: The pandemic has also driven a range of new workforce trends and workplace norms that create a window of opportunity for HR and other business leaders to leverage new hybrid workforce models.
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“ Where, and when, work gets done will be determined by what makes the most sense to drive the highest levels of productivity and engagement”
Hybrid workforce planning is a deliberate design that enables employees to flow through various work sites — from remote solo locations and microsites of small populations to traditional concentrated facilities (offices, factories, retail, etc.).
At the heart of a hybrid workforce model are the ideas of shared ownership and trust, which helps organizations break down long-held beliefs and potential myths about where and how work gets done most effectively.
“Employers, managers and employees will share ownership of hybrid work decisions, with a common expectation that employees can switch locations dynamically and without a fixed or rigid pattern,” says George Penn, VP, Gartner. “Where, and when, work gets done will be determined by what makes the most sense to drive the highest levels of productivity and engagement.”
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Hybrid workforce model has business and cost benefits
Many organizations have been forced during the pandemic to manage a distributed workforce, scattered by location and disrupted by outside distractions. Hybrid workforce planning provides HR and other business leaders — and managers and employees — with the means and opportunity to rethink organizational structures, roles and work design in entirely new ways.
Managers will need to trust in the goals they have set — and trust employees to work productively against those goals, regardless of location. Employees will need to be flexible and comfortable moving between various work environments when the need arises.
“ Talent and labor market analytics provide the ammunition to drive hybrid workforce decisions about skills needs, locations and costs”
While potentially challenging, hybrid workforce models can deliver against some of the most critical needs for organizations today, especially if HR leaders leverage talent analytics to guide their decision making. Hybrid models provide agility and resilience, help drive competitive differentiation and contain costs. Importantly, these benefits can be derived in tandem, not at the expense of one another.
For example, hybrid models enable organizations to focus on acquiring the critical skills they need to drive competitive advantage, not on filling key roles. Those skills, directly deployed to drive innovation and growth, can potentially be located remotely or in lower-cost locations — reducing talent acquisition and facilities costs.
HR and business leaders can simultaneously work directly with the CFO to drive alignment around the investments and costs needed to fund competitive differentiation.