Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The future workforce?

My friend Brian Galbraith from Perth, Australia recently sent me a copy of a new report – published this month by IBM Global Business Services.

The report is called 'Unlocking the DNA of the Adaptable Workforce.'

There are 4 key isses to emerge for the future of workforce development - according to this worldwide research. The report was written after interviews with 400 Human Resources Executives in 40 countries

  • Create an adaptable workforce – my take on that - encourage the frontliners who actually do the work
  • Leadership Gap – my take - find inspiring leaders
  • Talent – my take - find your talent and nurture it
  • Workforce Analysis – my take - HR to use information to help transform business rather than simply gather and collate information for transactional purposes.

These 4 conclusions, needless to say, are music to my ears.

If you want to read the full report go to this IBM Website to download it:

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/html/2008ghcs.html

4 comments:

Dave Wheeler said...

It seems that every time I read surveys/results like this one in particular, I get that deja vu feeling. The issues and solutions are valid. The problem is I have been reading this same analysis for many, many years now.

So what does this say about the Sr. Executives who came to these conclusions? They are indeed HR folks and everything you read about the HR function anymore is about the need this profession has to gain a seat at the "table" of operations, to reinvent themselves as partner in strategy development and deployment. Hence the repeated references to "strategic partnerships", "HR can't do it alone", If only 14 percent of companies say their workforce is very capable of adapting to change, who owns this process? Who hired them, trained them? How did they assess or measure the "adaptability" of their folks to change? The issues identified with metrics...closed loop management systems like Baldrige link and align strategy to HR planning and data collection/metrics that HR data have been around for decades. Where have these folks been?

Your "takes" on this report, translated into action, would be a performance and productivity multiplier. This is a "BFO" to front line leaders and workers. Maybe leadership will catch up some day...maybe...well, it could happen.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Dave - I often use the expression we are moving rapidly forward to the past. There is not much really new stuff ever discovered although the language changes and the words tend to be longer and more academic. At the end of the day its about valuing front line workers, providing the freedom and permission as leaders for front liners to make mistakes and then just getting out of the way to let them do what we all know they can do.

So why doesn’t everyone agree with you and me my friend?

dave wheeler said...

This will probably sound more harsh than it's meant to be but fear...ego...and it's far easier to hide behind the "perception" of power that folks derive from their supervisory position.

To use your "coach" comparison, coaches have to know the "game" inside out, you have to be able to "teach" the game, basics, strategy, develop winning attitudes, deal with each member of the team as an individual, and if you never played the game you are coaching, you have to work three times as hard to gain credibility and the respect of the team. Yeah, one heck of a lot easier to hide behind the positional authority.

Simple/leadership is sometimes very hard work...but that just makes the results much more rewarding.

Trevor Gay said...

Doesn’t sound 'harsh' at all to me Dave – it sounds like you are describing the facts that I saw in 35 years in healthcare management – far too many fragile egos and pretentiousness and too many managers not being in touch with front line workers sums it up nicely. Getting alongside front line workers is the hardest route for any manager but far and away the most rewarding.