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Independence is our strength – covering the issues that directly impact on those with the duty of directing human resources
April 2019 – Issue 174
Agile and flexible workforce models
An agile workforce is described as; “a highly-skilled, highly flexible workforce that can work across the organisation and swiftly adapt to the changing needs of customers, employees and the marketplace”. According to research from Capita Resourcing: “without an established agile workforce within the next two years, nearly half (46 percent) of HR leaders believe customer experience will suffer. A similar number (43 percent) think they will face more difficulty recruiting and attracting high-quality talent into the organisation, and three in ten (31 percent) fear they will lose business to competitors and suffer financially. How can business leaders develop a clear vision for the type of workforce that meets the needs of the organisation now and in the future, and then create a robust strategy to accelerate the pace to change? How can HR leaders align and develop a platform to not only bring the essential skills into the organisation, but also improve retention and talent development?
Apprenticeships are gaining traction, although the levy remains unpopular and there are growing concerns there will be over-spend. The continuous changes, many believe, have caused “distortions in the training provider market, with some notable failures and issues”. The apprenticeship standards are splitting opinion, but in general, employers are acknowledging that apprenticeships are “good for business” and, encouragingly, there are signs that providers are changing behaviours and business models to support the delivery of apprenticeships. So, numbers are rising and quality seems to be good, but if the controls and prioritisations on what will be supported, and changes to the levels of support for programmes do not come into play effectively, then it’s inevitable that employer confidence and participation will be significantly impacted.
Mergers & acquisitions
The traditional, driving reasons for M&As – gaining market share and knocking out potentially threatening competitors – are no longer the agenda toppers they once were. M&As are increasingly about strategic alliance and collaboration, partner firms that can unlock aspects of markets and operations that lead the way down paths of diversification and new technology. The central key is business agility, as the corporate graveyard is packed with companies that stuck with the tried-and-trusted traditions. Consequently, companies across sectors are recalibrating M&A strategy, the whys and wherefores, towards competitive agility. However, when it comes to big and long-established firms eyeing up little disruptors and start-ups, the awkwardness is palpable, deals are proving very difficult to quantify, the courting period is awkward and, more-often-than-not, it all ends in disaster. Equally, if the deal goes through, the honeymoon period is fraught with difficulty and, crucially, the capabilities that the bigger partner bought into either leave to start up elsewhere or are such a disruption that they are ejected. The key reasons are, the value of disruptors is considered so high that they become divas that are difficult to deal with – equally, many businesses are still playing by the traditional M&A rules.
Corporate culture used to embody a set of values from the past. Heritage is nice to have, but vision from a century ago is hardly relevant in a much-changed world. Organisational culture cannot remain set in stone. Today, how OC is defined and shaped is an integral part that crucially defines the success or failure of business and people strategies. Some elements remain the same; a strong culture must cascade down from leadership, to achieve a golden thread that binds engagement, accountability and purpose. There has to be clear mission statements that everyone can comprehend and feel confident and empowered to adopt, and believability and integrity are critical. Furthermore, the link between individuals, teams, input, business objectives and outcomes, has to be an unbroken line, from top to bottom. Ambiguity is always the sign of a woolly and unclear a culture, so a strong corporate culture is the modus and the strategy, the operandi, and one cannot succeed without the other. We look forward to receiving your insightful opinion and guidance, so please send your synopsis for review.
As for all the topics we are covering in this issue, your expertise and insight will be gratefully received in the form of briefs outlining your proposed articles.