Deloitte Research: Fluid Roles for More Future-proof Companies

New research carried out by Deloitte illustrates an alarming situation concerning the immediate and longer-term future of work. It also points to a stark lack of readiness on behalf of the companies set to get affected by that. Even reskilling methods, once considered successful, are being rendered useless or ineffective by the sheer pace of the changes occurring and a need for more fluid roles. The report calls for an increasingly dynamic, informed approach to workforce training, and provides some eye-opening insights, facts, and figures.

Skills Gaps, the Readiness Gap, Barriers to Fluid Roles

Inside organizations, it’s been impossible to ignore that the world, and with it the workforce, is undergoing rapid transformation. It’s not just the way we’re working that’s changing either; the roles we undertake are less linear and more diverse, there’s increased use of various technologies and escalating demand for employees who can work with that.

Roles have become more dynamic. The report highlights that some thought leaders even believe the changes happening now herald the end of “fixed, task-based work.” That new, more fluid roles demand a move away from traditional reporting lines toward a broader idea of skillsets, less defined by job titles and more inspired by KPIs and individual talents – with employees learning just-in-time, reacting to real-time tasks and problems. The fact is, we’ve long been discussing the future of work, but what this report highlights most strongly is that the future of work got here a little while back, and the time to act arrived before it:

“74% of organizations say reskilling the workforce is important or very important for their success over the next 12–18 months, but only 10% say they are very ready to address this trend.”

Fluid Roles Demand Data-driven Learning Solutions

It seems companies understand the need for new approaches to workforce management and training – yet, many seem to lack readiness. What’s apparent is that a lot of the anxiety surrounding that stems from a perceived lack of reliable information about skills gaps, and precisely how roles are shifting. That’s perhaps puzzling until you consider that the majority of organizations out there just aren’t utilizing their ability to harvest data:

“59% said they need additional information to understand the readiness of their workforce to meet new demands, and 38% said that identifying workforce development needs and priorities is their greatest barrier to workforce development.”

The figures here are worrying for companies everywhere because the nature of change is universal. Failure to act leaves organizations vulnerable to early adopters of technology for just-in-time learning. Workforces that can’t deal with the transformation will have a direct negative impact across all areas of business. Pairing staff development and workforce engagement with KPIs and productivity is absolutely essential if organizations are to prosper in the future of work – and the technology for doing just that exists. So, why did only 17% of respondent’s to Deloitte’s survey believe their company could anticipate which skills it required to maintain success over the next three years – when 53% agreed 50 – 100% of the workforce need to change their skills within the same timeframe?

Data-based Learning and Fluid Role Management

It appears clear that what organizations lack is practical tools for data-based learning. Beginning to deal with the transformation of work requires an accurate picture of where companies are at, and where the future is taking them. Keeping up with the pace of change means being able to apply real-time data to daily tasks and individual employees at scale.

“83% of respondents said that their organization produces information on the state of their workforce, only 11% of organizations produce the information in real time; 43% said they produce it either ad hoc or not at all.”

Without those tools, as the report says, it’s unlikely that the 75% of respondents who expect to reskill employees in the next three years are going to achieve what they need to maintain success in the future of work.

59% said they need additional information to understand the readiness of their workforce to meet new demands, and 38% said that identifying workforce development needs and priorities is their greatest barrier to workforce development.”

The Role of Workforce Segmentation in Future-proofing Organizations

The time to cease segmenting workers based on outdated ideas about generations and roles has come and gone. In reality, there’s no longer any excuse not to have a good idea about what employees need, not to give them what they actually want, and to realize precisely how they could boost productivity in the process.

“52% say they consider generational differences to some or a great extent when designing and delivering workforce programs. But as the workforce grows more complex, generational differences may not be the right anchor point.”

Knowledge is power, in today’s workplace, we have powerful tools for gathering data, and organizations need to do more with them. As workforces increasingly rely on digital means for communication, opportunities for data-based learning are being ignored and wasted. Yet, it’s not just profits that benefit from the higher levels of employee engagement and confidence generated by just-in-time learning and employee-specific segmentation – workers can reap the rewards too.

“70% of organizations say leading multigenerational workforces is important or very important for their success over the next 12–18 months, but only 10% say they are very ready to address this trend.”

It’s probably never been more critical than it is right now to consider employees based on their unique experience, attitudes, goals, and needs. When companies base employee upskilling and reskilling on real-time data about tasks and changing roles with the talents, ambitions, and behaviors of individuals within the workforce, it’s a recipe for success in the future of work.

Performance Enablement and Employee Engagement in the Future of Work

The future of work, roles, employees, and the viability and profitability of organizations are all inextricably linked. Companies need to come to terms with that in the here and now while keeping a firm eye on all those futures too. Personalized onboarding, learning, and performance enablement can make a massive difference to KPIs and productivity. When learning gets tailored to an individual’s performance data, anything is possible – yet, it appears not many companies are doing enough in that regard. Only 15% of respondents claimed that opportunity and growth influenced their organization’s ability to create a sense of belonging among employees:

When workers are engaged with their roles and understand how their contribution advances company goals, that can influence business outcomes in a very positive manner. Not only that, but their motivation increases, confidence blossoms, and performance also tends to increase. So, what can organizations do to promote employee engagement and drive productivity?

  • Basing learning on individual preferences boosts skill sets and employee engagement. Do workers train best on the job, within their team, or on their own?
  • Recruitment programs that look at people based on attitudes, talents, abilities and their enthusiasm for career development promote diversity.
  • Creating agile, future-ready organizations and enabling fluid roles by offering scope for career development and rewarding initiative with just-in-time training.
  • Personalized onboarding, based on skill sets and unique goals can make each newcomer feel instantly welcome and part of the bigger picture more quickly.
  • Performance-based training, accounting for an individual’s movement within various fluid roles can deliver training right at the time when challenges arise.

Keeping Pace with the Future of Work

As much as Deloitte’s report highlights a need for organizations to catch up and keep pace with the future of work, the fact remains that more fluid roles in the workplace are better for everyone. Perhaps one of the most surprising insights from the results of this research is the fact that more companies aren’t taking advantage of technology that already exists. If you’d like to learn more about how Rallyware assists organizations with employee engagement and just-in-time employee training, book a demo today!


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