Aligning the Business to Support Workforce Capability
Often when people think of workforce capability, staff competency tends to be the first thing that comes to mind. In order to genuinely improve workforce capability however, a business needs to think more broadly than just its people.
When a workplace can successfully build alignment between its people and internal structures, processes and leadership, it establishes a strong framework to support genuine capability improvement. Without this alignment, the business may not be providing an environment that supports staff to deliver, irrespective of their capability.
If you would like to get an indication of whether your business functions are supporting your capability goals, here are some areas to consider:
Employee Engagement Survey
Many engagement surveys ask staff targeted questions about learning and development, however when you review the results, don’t forget to consider the responses to broader questions. These additional responses provide a deeper insight into how the workplace environment is aligned to capability goals. Responses to whether people feel they have the freedom to perform their jobs, make decisions or overcome outdated processes, provides a valuable indication of how well the workplace is targeting areas such as critical thinking, innovation and leadership.
Performance measures set the tone for the skills you are wanting to reinforce. I recently visited a workplace that was concerned about a lack of team work resulting in poor knowledge share. Interestingly the workplace only had individual performance measures, none of which addressed sharing knowledge. While there are generally a combination of reasons, perhaps one of the reasons the staff weren’t collaborating was because they were only being rewarded for their individual contribution.
Processes provide hands-on experiences each day in the workplace and are a powerful reinforcer or detractor of skills. If staff are regularly having to navigate clunky processes, this can detract from their use of other skills such as quality decision making or critical thinking. On the flipside, when processes are aligned with a company’s internal capability goals, they can empower the workplace to deliver on the broader business strategy.
Leaders can play an influential role in building or hindering capability within a business. As an internal representation of your brand, the knowledge and behaviours that leaders display are providing staff with strong messaging about what is considered important. Consider the current leadership messaging in your workplace and whether this reinforces or hinders the capability you aim to build. Values such as innovation and collaboration start at the top.
When you are aligning business functions to support capability goals, where possible acknowledge the opportunities in your workforce plan. This allows you to track the combination of experiences as well as more realistically consider their impact. It is the consistent combination of these efforts, as well as the opportunity to reflect on them, that will be more likely to create genuine business improvement.
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