Get To Know Your Workforce
Get To Know Your Workforce
Your Ability To Adapt Depends On It
August 17, 2020
After more than half a year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the United States,1 it remains impossible to know the full impact the pandemic will have on the global economy. As a recent Harvard Business Review article put it: “Six months after the start of the coronavirus recession the macroeconomic landscape has become more, not less, confusing.”2
However, as business leaders have had to navigate shifting expectations and continued uncertainty, certain business pressures have been made clear and the learnings from this period will have a lasting impact on the workforce and corporations of the future.
Flexibility, speed, and organizational readiness will be critical for success as businesses become increasingly accustomed to a state of constant transformation.
But it turns out that most companies don’t know their workforces very well. They simply lack visibility into the knowledge, skills, experiences, and aspirations of their employees — and into how those capabilities and ambitions align with their most important objectives. As a result, businesses are struggling to reallocate resources and ensure that the right people are matched with the right work at the right time.
As companies settle into the ‘new normal’, most will be looking to strengthen their organizational resilience through technology and operating models that give them increased workforce visibility and enable more dynamic resource deployment.
1The New York Times, “A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic,” August 6, 2020.
2Harvard Business Review, “Taking Stock of the Covid-19 Recession,” August 14, 2020.
The Increasing Need for More Adaptive Resource Allocation
Responding effectively to changes in the market is a major concern at every level of large organizations — from business leaders, who are responsible for setting strategy and organizing execution efforts, to individual contributors at the execution level, for whom changes in the market could radically alter their ability to deliver.3
Many of our customers have told us that some divisions or business units are soaring in post-pandemic market conditions, while others are facing significant headwinds. This imbalance creates stress for many large organizations, as high-performing parts of the business must produce beyond capacity while anemic parts of the business may have extra capacity due to slowed demand and little likelihood of executing their pre-pandemic plans.
Research supports that companies that are better at reallocating talent to rebalance in such scenarios significantly outperform their competitors;4 however, talent mobility remains cumbersome within most large companies despite widespread adoption of workforce management and project planning tools.5 As companies pivot their strategies to adapt to changing market conditions, it’s logical that they must likewise adjust their resource allocation and reexamine how they are deploying the capabilities within the workforce.
In Gartner’s 2020 Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, which cites Catalant as a sample vendor, Helen Poitevin writes:
Large enterprises needing to pivot quickly and push innovation to the edges may be encumbered by heavy management and control structures. However, internal talent marketplaces have the potential to change that. They establish trust through feedback mechanisms. They allow for worker-led innovation and help workers take full control of their careers. They enable much better and more granular tracking of the skills, competencies, knowledge and interest of individual workers. This, in turn, will give enterprises a much better view of their workforce and improve workforce planning. Internal talent marketplaces will help bring about leaner, more agile and more adaptable organizations.6
It is widely agreed upon that strategy-execution efforts are stymied by organizational rigidity and ineffective resource allocation. Yet, gathering resources to execute plans remains one of the biggest challenges to strategy execution for large organizations today. Proprietary survey data from 451 Research (part of S&P Global Market Intelligence) supports not only that skills shortages are throttling execution, but also that the top methods to improve talent access include more proactive candidate recruitment and better identification of internal candidates.3
3451 Research, “Voice of the Enterprise: Workforce Productivity & Collaboration, Work Execution Goals & Challenges,” 2020.
4McKinsey & Company, “Linking talent to value,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2018.
5Gartner, “Cool Vendors in Human Capital Management: Transforming Talent to Drive the Digital Workplace,” 2019.
6Gartner, “Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace,” 17 July 2020.
Case Study: Strategic Plan Execution for a Multinational Pharmaceutical Company
A multinational pharmaceutical company used the Catalant Platform to digitally transform how business leaders engaged its internal strategy and consulting group. This centralized group of high-impact employees is charged with taking on a wide variety of strategic initiatives across the organization.
Getting real-time visibility into both the pipeline of strategic projects and available resources enables the group’s leaders to make better-informed decisions about work prioritization and to accelerate execution, ensuring that the members of the team with the right capabilities are deployed to the right projects at the right time.
The projects tasked to the internal strategy and consulting group often require niche skills and experiences, and dependencies between projects and initiatives often make portfolio-level staffing decisions complex puzzles to solve.
With greater visibility into the experience, knowledge, skills, interests, and capacity within the group, business leaders are able to ensure that projects are staffed by people with the right capabilities and that junior team members are gaining exposure to projects that require them to develop new skills.
Using Catalant’s software to make better-informed staffing decisions enables employees to take greater ownership over their learning and development. It also ensures that members of the group are gaining knowledge and experience that make the team more effective as a whole. This has compelled them to adopt a growth mindset and cultivate a culture of learning, as all members understand that their professional development is inextricable from executing against the company’s strategy.
Increasing Workforce Visibility & Enabling Adaptive Resource Allocation
Catalant’s SaaS Platform gives business leaders a clear view of the organization’s most important work and of the knowledge, skills, experiences, and capacity of the workforce. This enables organizations to dynamically deploy the right people to the right work at the right time.
Catalant User Profiles
Profiles on the Catalant Platform are designed to help you find the right people, quickly. In addition to providing a high-level view of a candidate’s background and capabilities, they gather structured data that informs our platform’s search recommendations based on skills and experiences.
This information is updated in real-time based on work that people do in Catalant, which helps to keep the profiles accurate and up-to-date over time. You can see feedback from this work summarized at the bottom of every candidates’ profile.
Getting Visibility into How Knowledge and Skills Align with Strategic Work
Skills reporting views allow you to identify who within your organization has specific skills and at what proficiency. It also allows you to zoom out and identify top requested skills within your organization and identify potential organizational capability gaps.
Mapping Resource Utilization & Capacity To Strategic Work
Resource Capacity Planning and Utilization views also allow you to expose where different team members may be over-worked or under-engaged, which both helps to reallocate resources to optimize efficiency and also de-risks execution.
Matching People with the Right Capabilities to Strategic Work
The above reporting views make it easy for business leaders to understand how their workforces align with the work to be done. They are also critical to understanding where project teams have knowledge, skill, and capacity gaps.
To seamlessly fill those gaps, project and initiative owners can access the capabilities they need to execute, whether those capabilities are found within the company or through Catalant’s Expert Marketplace of nearly 70,000 independent consultants and more than 1,000 firms.
Getting from Strategy to Execution calls for a centralized SaaS platform.
Through years of developing Catalant’s SaaS platform and Expert Marketplace with our enterprise customers, we’ve learned that uniting the right people, processes, and technology is essential for effectively executing strategy.