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Before you gain an insight into Agile Workforce Management, you should first know what is Workforce Management all about. Shortly called WFM, it is nothing but a set of integrated procedures. These procedures are followed by organizations to improve the competency and productivity of the workforce. For the success of an HR department in any organization, the right workforce management is important. Sustainable human resource management and good workforce management travel together.
Workforce Management – A Basic Idea
WFM denotes all activities that an HR department applies to maintain a productive group of employees. Even though the management of the workforce has existed for a long, the term Workforce Management was coined by HR management recently.
The management of the workforce has developed from a traditional approach to staff scheduling. The purpose is to achieve the best time management. WFM has now turned more demand-oriented and integrated. The reason is that it intends to keep up with the ambitions of an organization.
What Can Workforce Management Do for Organizations?
- With effective WFM, organizations can gain insights into present and historical data
- The HR departments can use the insights to improve workforce planning and human capital management
- With effective WFM, team leads can spot how much time and how many individuals are required to complete a particular task
- With it, it will be possible to assess even the operational costs that a task needs for successful completion
- It helps organizations foresee time, processes, accounts, financial payments and workloads
- Organizations can avoid wasteful time, expenditure and accelerate their productivity with effective WFM.
- Modern-day organizations use a combination of software applications and performance-based tools to support their WFM efforts.
- When these efforts are rightly employed, organizations can achieve the best outcomes.
What is Agile Workforce Management?
Agile Workforce is a term that helps to denote a group of employees, who can adapt themselves to uncertain and rapidly changing work environments. They will do this with the help of their skills and knowledge. Also, they will engage in the adoption of flexible, adaptable and proactive behaviors.
Agile employees can also adapt themselves to fresh job needs and fresh ways of working. As many businesses are showing interest in achieving agility, Agile Workforce Management has gained great popularity recently.
Characteristics of Agile Employees
When it comes to effective Agile Workforce Management, the teams should possess the following characteristics:
This is one of the key features of an Agile workforce. It denotes the social abilities, technical brilliance and cognitive capabilities of the workforce. With these competencies, the Agile workforce will continue to learn new skills and information. In turn, they can adapt to the changes. Also, they can benefit from the opportunities coming up in the workplace. It also encompasses their ability to create trustworthy relationships. They will establish this relationship with all stakeholders.
Yet another feature of the Agile Workforce is resilience. It denotes favorable approaches towards and acceptance of novel ideas, resources, technologies and work practices.
Also, an Agile workforce should be adaptive and flexible in the workplace. This feature denotes their behaviors, mindsets and abilities to cope with unexpected changes in their working atmosphere. They should be capable enough to embrace these changes without taking much time.
This feature denotes the ability of an Agile workforce to foresee changes. They should be able to arrive at decisions that can solve issues. This feature benefits not only employees but also organizations.
Each of these features of an Agile workforce encompasses a group of indicators and metrics. An employee part of an Agile team will have to possess the inter-related features as in the picture below. Only then, he/she can perform quickly and better recognize the latest trends:
How To Adopt Agile Practices To Workforce Management?
You can understand how to implement Agile practices in workforce management. However, before you know this, you should know about the common challenges that HR faces in the effective management of the workforce.
For instance, when you take the case of traditional workforce management, it faces a certain level of challenges due to the times it was designed for. For instance, traditionally workforce plans were generally designed to be executed yearly and budgets are decided for a year. This worked well earlier as the market was not quickly changing those days.
But, in the present-day fast-changing market, you cannot create a workforce plan. You cannot fix a budget and forecast the needs of resources for the whole year. Rather, you should be agile in planning your workforce. In turn, you can better adapt to the changing needs of the market. As a result, you can achieve your organizational objectives. The following Agile principles can help you with effective Agile Workforce management and planning:
To adapt to the changing needs, Agile pays attention to breaking large work into iterative, time-fixed and small sprints. When you use Agile workforce management, you can create sprints for shorter workforce planning cycles. When you do this, you can presume the required resources more accurately. Also, you can accordingly allocate budgets. Further, it will let you find resources ideal for your project needs. You can accordingly respond to the changing market requirements.
When using Agile, you need not have to follow a fixed plan created at the start of a year. You can consider the situations in the market. Accordingly, you can make changes to the next cycle of workforce planning to achieve your objectives.
One of the important features of the Agile framework is collaboration. You can apply it to varied layers of your organization. In turn, you can meet the skill gaps accordingly.
For instance, let us consider that you are the HR manager of your organization. You can get suggestions from line managers in your concern. Also, you can talk to stakeholders and subject-matter experts. From them, you can learn about the exact skills required. In turn, you can find the appropriate resources against arriving at decisions in silos.
To plan employee scheduling and for better workforce planning, you can use other core principles of Agile. They are gathering feedback and incremental delivery.
You can review your workforce requirements in a shorter cycle. Also, you can gather feedback and make changes accordingly. In turn, you can meet the changing requirements as against following a rigid workforce plan all through the year.
The good thing about Agile is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. In Agile workforce management, you can focus more on making improvements, driving value and executing practices.
Benefits of Agile Workforce
Businesses from across the world wish to shift to an Agile workforce for one simple reason. It is that it helps with improving productivity. It can do more for any business like increasing customer satisfaction and reducing costs. As compared to traditional counterparts, Agile teams are more innovative and faster. Also, they carry a lesser probability of burnout as they benefit from flexible work arrangements. Your workforce will feel appreciated and trusted when they become an Agile workforce.
When you maintain an Agile workforce, it is an indication that the leaders of your organization spot that marketplace conditions constantly evolve. Even though any organization can benefit from an Agile workforce, it is particularly helpful for businesses that function in spaces that hardly have a standard status quo. This is why organizations in the technology domain are greatly benefiting from an Agile workforce.
When you intend to implement an Agile workforce, it should begin from the top. Yes, it should begin with the management of your company. Then, it should move to HR professionals. The HR team will have to lead the way by focusing on adaptability, independence and innovation.
Tips For Effective Agile Workforce Management
Let us consider that you wish to promote agility in your workforce. It means that you should allow your project team to adapt to changes quickly. Also, you should motivate them to develop new skills. In turn, they can future-proof themselves in the long run. Here are some tips to help you promote Agile workforce management in your organization:
Form A Resource Plan Before the Onset of the Project
Organizations always lack resources. So, you should forecast and create an effective plan for resource management. When you do this, you can meet the project demands in advance. So, proactively plan your resources. In turn, project managers can deliver projects on time. Also, they can ensure that the project stays within budget. This will happen irrespective of project evolutions, changing priorities and shifting deadlines.
Further, with resource planning, project managers can attain the utmost utilization of team members. You can engage in resource planning considering a couple of viewpoints. They are:
- Project managers should estimate the entire resource demand by skill set and roles
- They should meet all the critical positions before the beginning of the project
- Project managers should do this by requesting resources in advance
- Above all, capacity planning and resource planning will help improve the profitability to the business. It will do this by bringing down last-minute firing and hiring activities. In turn, successful project delivery can be ensured.
Apart from the tips mentioned above, you can follow other strategies for effective Agile workforce management. They are:
- Building resources with multiple skills for effectively using them
- Ensuring alignment of project tasks and skills
- Creation of the ideal combination of contingent and permanent resources
- Strategizing succession planning for important resources.
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