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Organisations must invest in plasticity to ride out uncertainty

In the face of a continuously challenging economic climate, businesses mustn’t curtail their investment in people. Instead, continuing to invest in their employees’ personal and professional development, their sense of belonging and strengthening their network should be a priority.

The Bank of England recently announced its decision to hold the base interest rate at 5.25%, bringing to an end a chain of 14 consecutive rises. Alongside this string of interest rate rises, job cuts are increasing across industries, with Vodafone the latest household name to announce it will cut 11,000 jobs globally over the coming three years.

According to Claire Lock, Vice President, Talent Business Partners – International Markets at UKG, in order to ride the coming wave of economic pressure, organisations must focus on improving their plasticity.

Lock said: “This year, UKG’s 2023 HR Megatrends highlighted the importance of organisational plasticity, that is designing flexibility and adaptability into internal processes and networks to support people to thrive and emerge stronger from crisis. In practice, this means leveraging technology that can utilise AI-supported demand forecasting or accessing technology that can support cross-site scheduling.

“These trends largely responded to the pandemic, but now as we head into the second half of 2023, high inflation persists and reports from the Bank of England suggest a recession may be on its way.

“In the face of a continuously challenging economic climate, businesses mustn’t curtail their investment in people. Instead, continuing to invest in their employees’ personal and professional development, their sense of belonging and strengthening their network should be a priority. Data from Great Place to Work has also shown that businesses that invest in people outperform businesses that don’t.

“In practice, strengthening these networks means doubling down on efforts to bolster talent acquisition of people from diverse backgrounds. Continued efforts to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) will not only foster a culture of inclusivity, but the diversity in experiences and ideas will also promote innovation.

“Businesses must look to support employees with upskilling and reskilling, thus empowering them with the autonomy to further their own careers at their own pace. Handing employees the ability to design their own careers will strengthen existing networks and improve their engagement with the organisation.

“Ultimately, understanding your workforce’s skills enables business plasticity by feeding malleability that can be so crucial in times of economic challenge. It also allows leaders to best leverage employee skills and simultaneously empowers employees to utilise them. People are varied as are their skillsets. An agile and resilient workforce is one that includes talent across all needs in the business and one that includes full-time, part-time, gig, and seasonal workers too.”

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