07775 624724

info@suegarner.co.uk

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How to Future Proof Your Workforce

Business success is dependent on internal and external factors, which can change at any minute. We cannot control everything that is going to happen, however, if we understand how to future proof our workforce, we can lessen the impact.

What Makes a Workforce Future Proof?

Do you have confidence in your team? That is a powerful question, but the answer reveals a lot about your recruitment process and learning opportunities.

When we talk about a future proof workforce, we mean a team with the necessary skills, resources, and support to adapt and respond to opportunities and risks. It’s about a team of individuals who instil confidence, by being equipped to work independently and collaboratively to reach desired outcomes. We mean employees who radiate your brand values and ensure your reputation goes from strength to strength.

This doesn’t just happen. It is dependent on considered recruitment processes and investment in the ongoing learning and development of all employees.

Will We Need Employees in the Future?

In a digital world, we may believe that the answer to future proofing our business is dependent on investment in technology. The efficiencies offered by AI and automation challenge the idea that we even need a workforce.

There is no doubt that technological advances transform the workplace and will play an increasing role in business operations. However, thinking technology will completely replace employees is a mistake. For a start, whilst customers benefit from the convenience and efficiency that digital offers, they also value human connection, empathy and personalised experiences.

A significant factor in customers’ perceptions of your brand is informed by interactions. Whilst technology offers streamlined processes and convenience, it only acts on inputted data. It cannot apply reasoning or common sense and, unlike your team, it cannot adapt, think creatively and be innovative.

Not all customer interactions are straightforward, so when a standard digital process isn’t appropriate, we need skilled, knowledgeable and personable employees to help customers reach their desired outcomes.

Hiring the Future Workforce

So, the first point to raise is that the skills that make us irreplaceable in the workplace are not always prioritised in job specifications, application forms and interviews. Decisions on the best candidates are still informed by academic qualifications and direct industry experience. This means it is easy to overlook potential applicants with desirable talents and transferable skills.

What’s more, it isn’t just customer experience that benefits from human connection. A positive employee attitude is also dependent on the soft skills of colleagues and team leaders. They are evident when employees feel valued, empowered and challenged, and when their abilities and achievements are recognised and acknowledged.

To future proof your workforce, I recommend using soft skill assessments in recruitment. It’s also important to value personality traits and emotional intelligence as highly as qualifications and industry experience. When teams are built on skills rather than job roles, it leads to greater flexibility and adaptability.

Developing a Future Proof Workforce

The next step is training. Whether employees are new or long-standing, we need to keep developing their skills and thinking. Investing in learning and development opportunities is essential for a future proof workforce.

The LinkedIn Global Trends Report UK* states that both career development opportunities and upskilling are top priorities for employees. What’s more, when workplace learning occurs, the organisation benefits from a 7% higher retention rate.

Do you see your team in terms of their job role or have you identified their skills? Where are the untapped resources? Who has the potential to lead, innovate or critically evaluate? Sometimes, it is the individuals that you least expect who respond best to learning and development opportunities.

On this point, I believe that business leaders can greatly benefit from involvement in workshops and training sessions. If attended with an open mind, it can be a means to identify individuals with the ideas or skills for new projects and initiatives.

Experience has also taught me that the best outcomes are achieved when individuals have sufficient time and support to confidently implement the learning. They should then be empowered to work without micro-management. Trust them; their approach might be different, but diversity should be valued. A fresh approach might lead to fresh thinking that drives customer engagement and competitive advantage.

Collaborate for a Future Proof Workforce

My final point is to look beyond your team to enable your organisation to be more adaptable. Your employees don’t need all skills to cover every eventuality. Collaborate when you have synergy with other businesses and draw on the skills of freelance specialists.

Look for opportunities to connect, share resources and benefit from expertise or insight. See your team as an extended network that can flex to best meet requirements.

Summary

A future proof workforce is empowered and adaptable; a team that you have confidence in.

Achieving this is dependent on identifying and recruiting the necessary talents and skills. Then, the full potential of your team can be discovered and developed through training, mentoring, online courses and other learning opportunities. This upskilling is a priority for employees and, when they have the time and support to implement it, is an asset to your business. This investment in your workforce will help them to be future ready.

In addition, use collaboration and freelancers to extend your resources, expertise and adaptability.

* https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/global-talent-trends/uk-talent-trends

As a specialist in business coaching and assessments, I can assist you in recruiting and developing employees. Get in touch to find out more about DISC and soft skills training at info@suegarner.co.uk or 07775 624724.

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Training & Development That Delivers Value

Is your industry struggling to fill vacancies, retain employees and have adequately skilled teams? These issues can be addressed through training and development. However, there