As businesses get disrupted, models change, new technologies make their way into the workplace, threats from non-traditional competitors increase, and uncertainty in regulatory, economic, and political environment escalates, it becomes imperative for organizations to adapt, respond, transform, strategize, and deliver at break neck speed in order to deliver. Or in other words, be agile.
According to a white paper published by The Economist Corporate Network (ECN) sponsored by Hays and WeWork, CEOs in APAC are demanding that their workers be agile and adaptable enough to tackle the dynamism of the world we operate in.
The study consists of a survey and a few focus group interviews with CEOs and senior leaders in APAC-based organizations. A majority of CEOs, the study found, are working with the philosophy of “adopt or die” and need their employees to be able to rise up to the demands of a tech-savvy, uber-connected market.
But how can organizations develop agility to enable their people to be ready to adapt to any business disruption that might come their way? Here’s a look at some of the drivers of organizational agility.
Enabling the right culture and communication
One of the foremost requisites in developing agility is building a culture that enables agility and communicating the same. The top management needs to lead the way to an agile organization through honest and frequent communication. They need to create a culture of trust and relationship building and put in place systems of support to help employees navigate disruptive times. Because a connected culture is the bedrock of an agile organization.
However, culture is not the only area in which leaders need to set the tone. It is important to communicate it right from the top rung to the bottom rung to drive the same message home to everyone-being agile is not the responsibility of the management alone, but is an organization-wide conscious effort to create value continuously. Lack of communication can lead to the creation of silos, where one silo of the organization develops agility while the other is left unequipped and way behind.
Leveraging technology to transform
Digital transformation or leveraging technology is one of the most potent tools to drive organizational agility. In order to be agile, the workforce needs to be trained in order to use technology to keep up with the ever-changing environment. At the same time, organizations need to remember that new technologies will not perform in the same way as the old ones and instead of just focusing on the look and feel of the new technology, it is worthwhile to question if the technology is aligned to the purpose and vision of the organization and how exactly will it be useful. In short, new technology should not be adopted just for the sake of adopting technology but rather to bring about disproportionate leaps in efficiency or in other words real transformation.
Skilling in line with evolving business needs
One of the most strategic levers to agility is learning. The ability to keep organizational skills in tandem with evolving business objectives is an important factor to develop agility and stay competitive in a disruptive world. Moreover as change in a business environment often leads to skill gaps, it is important to accelerate employee performance and fuel adaptability and innovation by focusing on learning and development.
Organizations need to indulge in targeted learning and development in order to develop better resilience at the individual, team, and organization levels, and thereby increase agility and impact business outcomes tangibly. Skilling will also enable organizations to better manage and retain their workforce and thus will be a determinant of competitiveness going forward.
Alignment of Rewards Policies
In today’s world, the benefits of agility to any organization are clear. A study done by Forbes states that 92% of executives believe that agility is critical to business success. When we think about agility and behaviors in an organization, we usually relate it to collaboration and teamwork, the speed of reaction and adaptability. However, the most tangible and immediate drivers for employees is rewards and therefore it is important that the policies drive these behaviors to enable agility.
Companies must fundamentally reimagine how they reward and incentivize talent. Organizations can drive agility through the alignment of the grade structure and rewards policies. Compensation policies need to move away from annual cycles for salary increment and bonuses to provide faster rewards for achievement and increased contribution when displayed. Today, a company’s rewards practices should incorporate quick recognition for competence.
Also, in the current environment, employee tenure is much lower than previous generations, employees are often not willing to wait for the salary increment process to catch up to the market or recognize their increased contributions. This makes it imperative for organizations to align their rewards policies to incentivize agility.
Access to the right information at the right time
In an environment of constant shifts and turns, and with a more global and mobile workforce consisting of multiple generations and gig economy workers, a critical requirement of all business units and functional roles is access to the right information at just the right time. The workforce must be able to access information that will help them know what are the required skills for being change ready and catalyze them to transform and innovate.
Ultimately organizational agility also demands that each individual in the workforce can develop to their fullest potential at the workplace by taking charge of their own career development journey.
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