Gaining new markets, launching new products and services supported by digital platforms, winning consumers with new experiences, increasing revenues through the use of new technologies and analytical tools to predict demand-side behavior… Is all this daunting? It looks like it is. In our increasingly global and dynamic world, opportunities for growth are the order of the day. However, they are very difficult to capture if you do not have the main element of success: the right people.

Talent is scarce. The battle to attract and retain it is harder than ever. Remote work, in that sense, represents both the possibility of having access to human talent located anywhere in the world and the challenge of competing with companies also located anywhere in the world. Additionally, collaborators have more and more demands to stay with the company: from labor flexibility and a greater balance between their personal lives and their work, to the requirement that they share the company’s values.

This scenario is indeed very complex. Companies must adopt comprehensive workforce plans. That is, it is not only about determining the skills and roles that need to be covered to meet immediate goals; rather, any gaps that might exist need to be addressed in order to facilitate growth plans. For example, a study conducted by Workday and the Human Capital Institute (HCI) concluded that 45% of corporate HR specialists consider that they are not prepared to face the future.

The first steps

If a company wants to structure the talent necessary to bolster its growth, what should it do? The first step is to make a diagnosis: to evaluate the availability of professionals, to determine how well they match the business goals and to detect any gaps or deviations. Maybe the diagnosis will reveal that there are collaborators who are not in the adequate position or whose talents are undervalued. Imbalances can also come to light: excess of certain profiles as opposed to lack of others. This perspective can be applied transversally to the whole organization, vertically to a specific department or horizontally to a given line of command.

These analyses are not static, and are not made only once. Nowadays, companies have real-time access to the information necessary to conduct regular reviews and optimize performance. The above-mentioned study revealed that 13% of companies never review their plans, while 55% do it once a year.

On the other hand, a diagnosis can be made based on data about the state of mind and career development of the different team members. The diagnosis can identify both individual variables (time elapsed between each person’s promotion or specific information about their performance assessments) or group variables (turnover rate). This makes it possible to overcome moments of stagnation whenever they happen, to increase the level of motivation and, again, to reassign talent to leverage their highest potential performance.

For the future

The next step will be to review the company’s goals to determine the key skills that might be necessary to achieve them, particularly when they refer to strategic processes such as digital transformation plans or the implementation of new business models.

We have to fully understand market evolution, demographics, consumer demands, channels and new technologies (we will have to pay close attention to the set of skills necessary to face up to potential disruptions in our segment). Additionally, we will have to determine how much talent will be required or how we will have to redistribute the existing talent according to the new needs. This will also be useful to plan workforce training.

With innovation, new technologies and globalization, the future is full of opportunities for growth. Having the tools and the planning to scale the workforce, so that it accompanies the process, makes the difference between competing and winning in new markets and moaning about what could have been achieved otherwise.