The global economy is slowly showing signs of recovery in what is starting to feel like a post-pandemic era.
Companies are both courteously and – in some cases aggressively following transitional paths back to growth.
Much has been written and well-publicised about the new normal and the different approaches companies are taking to many elements of their operation, none more so than how the people within a company work most effectively and how businesses resource themselves and address skills shortages across these businesses.
What are the trends and learnings that matter for resourcing high-growth recovery – or continued growth?
Most evidently, having access to skills and expertise will be key for future growth. Finding and retaining talent is critical, meanwhile resourcing areas that may be exposed within a company’s structure has proven a challenge.
A huge 87% of companies say they have a skills gap or expect to in a few years, according to research from the Business Talent Group’s 2021 Skills Index, while a third of CEOs say they are extremely concerned that the availability of key skills is a threat to their business’s growth prospects.
Meanwhile two-thirds of professionals at the top of their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently in freelance or consultancy roles.
Leading companies are increasing their adoption of high-end independent talent to fill the widening skills gap, remain agile in a still turbulent environment and access top professionals.
Companies are also benefiting from both the agility and flexible nature of outsourcing skills and talent but also seeing gains from the expertise and knowledge of specialist independent advice.
Interestingly, as a business owner myself, the fastest-growing skills across the BTG 2021 Skills Index was that of compliance strategy and processes, which was up 700% on the previous year.
Companies are increasingly seeking independent talent who can develop strategies, drive projects and process improvements and serve as interim leaders to help manage risk for any and all eventualities.
Prior to the pandemic, compliance teams were already stretched in some cases and supporting these teams was a big part of what we did! Now it’s also the fastest-growing area of our business.
Data management was also high on the fastest-growing skills list, which was up 175% on the last report and dovetail’s Life Science Law’s offering. From pre-pandemic GDPR compliance demand through to developing and implementing policies, processes, and metrics to drive the accuracy and integrity of a company’s data in a new digital environment, these skills are in demand and can never be left under resource for business-critical reasons.
Ultimately, companies have an opportunity to streamline processes and resources while becoming more efficient and agile while tapping into a pool of external expertise critical to growth, safeguarding the business and operating cost-effectively.
According to a whitepaper on ‘Building the on-demand workforce’ from Harvard Business School, COVID-19 is hastening the transition to on-demand workforce models.
As supply and demand gaps for skills have widened, talent issues have put pressure on companies to be smarter about how they utilise their workforce and be more creative in how they source the skills they need.
Other insightful trends and learnings from the index that really hit home for me are that the landscape of skills and resources is changing for the better.
For example, 77% of executives say their current talent strategies are more focused on workforce agility than ever before, while 40% of human capital leaders say talent scarcity has negatively impacted their organisation.
Meanwhile nine in 10 business leaders say talent platforms will be “somewhat or very important” to their organisation’s future competitive advantage.
The overriding and most compelling message has been that companies that already had a remote working infrastructure in place were the fastest to rebound and reorient to these previously unimaginable challenges. For many of those, harnessing independent talent was already part of their strategy, allowing them to move quickly and develop new solutions while others struggled to adapt, let alone thrive.
With this in mind, surely the best-laid plans would be to adopt such a model within one’s own business to futureproof and upscale a company’s operation?