Many large organizations built workforces of thousands of employees only to discover, after some form of disruptive change, that many of the skills and mindsets of their workforces were incompatible with the demands of evolving markets. These organizations may have masterful business strategies, but they are stuck with workforces that cannot execute. The gap between the quality of business strategy and the capability of the workforce is an important predictor for successful execution of strategy and achievement of financial targets. Today, more than ever, disruptive forces affect labor, quickly render workforce skills obsolete, and diminish the value of your most important asset. CEOs ask, “Why are we struggling to execute on the business plan year after year, and why didn’t we see this coming?” If your company’s approach to managing the workforce in the world of fast-changing labor and market realities increasingly feels like walking a high-wire without a net, it’s time to take a serious look at a more impactful and decisive workforce management method.
The beauty of workforce strategy is its focus on developing the capability and culture required to quickly adapt the workforce. This agility is based on the needs of a business strategy that anticipates shifts in the market. This adaptability includes the workforce size, cost, skills, and qualities needed to execute the strategy, often under multiple future scenarios. In contrast, workforce planning focuses more on shorter-term labor forecasting and availability projections and, generally, does not take into account the various scenarios that could disrupt the workforce’s ability to execute the long-term business strategy.