As remote work continues to be adapted into industries all over the globe, it won’t be long until models to support flexible and hybrid work options become the new normal for businesses. Organizational redesign and restructuring after the pandemic is a major event for the overall business environment, and just like with any change event, committing to new operations and set-ups must be thought through and handled with a lot of care. If not, businesses can face numerous issues and risks.
What is the problem?
It is without a doubt that 2020 has already kick-started the transformation processes for most companies. The only plausible issue is that now there is a whole new flurry of strategic activities taking place at an accelerated pace. At present, businesses do not need small incremental changes which were required in the past; instead, there needs to be an overall evaluation of structures to shake up everyday processes. Furthermore, it seems that not many companies are successfully catching up with the disruptive changes. A recent study from McKinsey has revealed that less than a quarter of organizational redesigning efforts are showing prosperous results. It also claims that 45% of companies run out of ideas required to implement changes a little after they being and a third fail to meet their targets or enhance performance after implementation.
A major problem that continues to become visible after recalibrating all the failures is that organizations are failing to keep everything connected. Most of the time, employees of companies undergoing restructuring and redesigning are unclear about their everyday priorities, and there is an overall uncertainty regarding how and if decisions are being implanted.
According to McKinsey, organizational redesign requires a complete integration of structures, processes and people to reinforce strategy implementation. Nowadays, this integration involves the systems followed by people, the regulation of individual performance recruitment of the right kind of talent and the up-skilling of employees.
What is working?
Numerous organizations are already leveraging a hybrid system for their workforce. A vast talent pool of professionals that might only be connected to businesses for a few weeks is being used to not only carry on the business activates but also to teach traditional full-time employees how to work independently from home.
The partial dependency on external short-term employees or consultants to carry out business operations fits quite well with the unpredictable changes organizations might face, and it has become far more evident after the pandemic. Some might even argue that companies have no need to hire specialties demanded by change parameters permanently. Moreover, it can be argued that contingent workers, whether they are being called freelancers, consultants, or independent contractors, have become necessary, short-term, high-value, interesting, and innovative assets for many companies. They also make life a lot easier for executives, managers, and supervisors because for them, remote, flexible work has been the norm for a very long time. Hence, they work independently, requiring little to no supervision, and they act as an excellent source of industry insights. Furthermore, organizations can use their skills to teach full-time employees how to be productive, keep track of their deliverables and remain connected to their organizations while working remotely.
Now, even though the hybrid workforce system consisting of contingent short-term employees has been working well for organizations to keep up with the change, the issue of integrating strategy still remains. The immense benefits of contingent labour also come with increased complexity for companies in terms of work practices, payroll activities terms and conditions and employee relationships. Jason Ezratty, the managing partner at Brightfield Strategies, a strategy consultancy company, states that contingent labour has become so vital for different business activities that it needs to be addressed strategically in order to make the best out of the value it provides.
What to Do?
The first step to take is to make sure redesigning plans align well with the strategic intentions, and when it comes to forming strategies, the contingent workforce must also be a part of the system.
Ensure a clear strategic understanding among all stakeholders
Explaining the core elements of strategies and clearly conveying the rationale behind them has become even more pivotal now that additional contingent workforce strategies are also becoming part of the business environment.
Before strategic objectives are carried out, it is obligatory to ensure every stakeholder on all levels of an organization can understand and articulate the strategies in place. From executives to full-time and short-term employees, all should understand how organizational redesign strategies affect their work to resonate with the company’s long-term goals.
Visualize the interconnectedness of the old and new core functions.
Project Management, branding, marketing, communications, product and service innovation, talent management, and employee engagement are some of the core functions necessary for strategic goals. At the same time, there might be some new core elements that might become part of the organizational redesign. Whatever the operations may be, it is essential to envision their dependencies instead of only focusing on their hierarchical relationships. Now that workforces are expanding and new human elements are being introduced into businesses along with the incorporation of technologies, understanding the interconnectedness of all activities is critical.
Identify the leadership skills needed for new work environments and strategies
Leaders and executives need to realize the new reality, and they must redefine what it means to lead and implement strategies in a virtual environment. People in charge of employee activities and everyday processes must take an agile, innovative approach to leadership and modify their competencies and skills to support the full-time as well as contingent workers from a distance.
Creating a set of guiding principles to follow the overall strategies in place while adapting to new leadership styles for remote workplaces is a good way to begin.
—Inclusivity for all
Another issue of virtual work is keeping track of everyone. It is easy for managers to monitor all their employees when they are physically present in an office space. However, in a remote environment, inclusivity of every employee becomes difficult, which reduces productivity. Leaders also understand that all workers have different personalities, and some are easier to connect with than others. To deal with this issue, it would be helpful to focus on the challenges being faced by the employees in the virtual setting and set a tone for understanding and inclusivity for all. The need to celebrate the individual efforts of employees is more important than ever before. When workers notice that help is available, they being to put in the effort to deliver work to the best of their capabilities.
This issue is more prevalent with full-time workers as contingent employees are experts when it comes to remote work. So, they can also be a great source of support for leaders while they adapt to virtual leadership. Independent consultants can actually provide insights regarding how to deal with employees working from home, and leaders should leverage their assistance.
—Daily interactions and ways of work.
In terms of answering inquiries, receiving permissions, and obtaining essential information, an unplanned hallway discussion or an unexpected office drive-by used to be quite beneficial. However, nowadays, these and many more relationships are irreversibly altered in the virtual working environment. Even more so now, when working remotely needs to be taught to full-time workers while keeping track of continent workers. Oftentimes, managers and others in leading positions have to facilitate conversations between the two types of workers. Reviewing the interactional barriers and gathering best practices for integrated communication can be helpful.
Even experienced contingent workers sometimes forget meeting schedules. So, adding frequent informal check-ins to talk about future Zoom meetings, phone calls, and other activates can help keep everyone informed. Using communication techniques like storytelling also helps everyone remember their deliverables and schedules.
Leaders must also keep an open mind when it comes to technology. Replacing communication platforms due to operational barriers or for better features might become necessary, at least in the beginning. Precise execution of virtual company culture is also of great importance, whether it be for full-time employees or the contingent workforce. Encouraging and harboring company culture in the virtual space with a hybrid workforce is also an essential aspect of the overall strategies.
Remodel the processes and get additional help where needed
Reconstruction of many processes, especially for everyday work and employee management, is indisputable at this point. To ensure the strategic shifts of work in light of the need for a hybrid workforce requires stronger performance management processes and reviews. Organizations must be capable of ensuring that new strategic aspects are aligned with everyday functions and those responsible for implementing all the procedures are clearly recognized.
An outstanding method to have efficient talent and performance management processes is to get help from specialized freelance marketplaces. Platforms like ConsultXperts are becoming more and more coherent as they take care of all the aspects connected to the contingent workforce requirements. Such platforms offer services like finding the most suitable candidates for short-term contractual work, managing communications, payment processes, and guaranteeing work quality.