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Creating a More Adaptable and Agile Workforce

Mera Mann, Human Resourcing Ltd
May 21, 2020

The impacts of the Coronavirus have forced employers and their employees to respond and adapt to change much more rapidly than usual.

With much uncertainty around how employers will begin to bring their workforce back and what the new normal will look like, preparing and developing employees to be adaptable to change will benefit them and the wider business in the long term.

Significant changes are happening more frequently and more quickly than ever before so having agile and responsive teams will be critical in order to get businesses moving again.

Here are our top tips for developing employee adaptability:

1. Establish a Clear Objective – The only way people will successfully adapt to change is if they understand what that looks like and how to get there. There’s been much public debate over the lack of clarity offered by the UK Government on what’s expected of us as individuals and that has immediately set this transition to change on the back foot. The best approach to change is to prepare your teams as much as possible, be clear and transparent about what the common goal is, the potential challenges that may arise in achieving it but also offering clear expectations and support functions. Regular, honest communication is key to delivering this information.

2. Encourage Innovation – part of what makes and employee adaptable is having the autonomy to make their own decisions and try their own approaches. In times of major change, the status quo is often the furthest process away from finding a solution. Therefore, empowering employees to get creative, to try new ways of working which work towards the common goal and objective, means solutions will be found more quickly and employees will feel motivated and engaged in their role. Remove any blame culture if ideas don’t work out as this will suffocate creative thinking.

3. Plan Ahead – Something that’s really hit home since the Coronavirus crisis is that we cannot predict the future but what we can do is plan for the unexpected. Many businesses struggled in the initial weeks after lockdown because they didn’t have the functions in place to enable their employees to work from home. Use this experience as a lesson and reflect on what the business did and didn’t do well. Get feedback from employees on what could have been improved and develop a full risk assessment to plan the business’ response to future risks. Having these measures in place and making employees aware of them will help everyone to respond more quickly and efficiently should something happen in future.

4. Upskill the Workforce – Being adaptable to change isn’t just about being flexible, it’s about new ways of thinking and drawing upon wider knowledge. Training, upskilling and facilitating self-development are all great ways to expose your team to new ideas and approaches. Providing employees with a broader skill set means they are more capable of taking on new challenges that often come hand in hand with change and they’ll be more confident outside of their comfort zone.

5. Take a Collaborative Approach – in times of change and uncertainty, working together will ensure a far smoother and rapid response. Withing the workforce, it shouldn’t be about who adapts to change most quickly, but instead, how everyone can pull together by sharing knowledge,experience and expertise.  In turn, this will foster a culture of open communication and teamwork. Everyone will feel empowered to share their ideas and collective innovation and creativity will drive the business forward with everyone working together towards the end goal.

6. Develop Resilience – It is reported that resilient employees have greater job satisfaction, are more likely to support their co-workers and will stay in a job for longer. Resilience is a complex trait which is made up of behaviours, thoughts, actions, attitudes, and skills but it can be taught and developed on an individual, team and organisational level. All businesses who survive this unprecedented time will have shown exceptional resilience. Look closely at how the organisational culture and structure has enabled the business to adapt to these challenges and share this with the workforce.

 

Change is inevitable in all aspects of life. New things will always come up which will require people to adapt and grow whether it’s technology, a new process, new ways of thinking or a global pandemic! The more agile and resilient a workforce can be at adapting to change the more successful those teams and the collective workforce will be in the long term.

How has your workforce coped with adapting to changes in the way they’re working during the pandemic? We’d love to know! Tweet us@H_Resourcing.

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