Will COVID-19 reduce or increase the talent gap? | FM Insider Blog

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

This blog is part of our Covid series that explores a range of topics related to these issues and will naturally evolve as events unfold and facts reveal themselves. The blogs are in no way intended to provide scientific or health expertise, but rather focus on the implications and options for facilities services and workplace organisations.

These insights are based on our ongoing interactions with organizations operating in impacted areas and our expertise in facilities service growth delivery. 

While some people in the global services industry think that large scale unemployment and the slowdown in growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic may reduce the talent demand-supply gap, we wholeheartedly disagree. Indeed, we believe that strategic workforce planning has become even more critical for the global services industry.

Here are three reasons why organisations need to accelerate their workforce initiatives right now.

Talent shortages will become acute

It’s true that the impending economic downturn could lead to even more unemployment and oversupply in the talent market. However, the available skills profiles may not necessarily match organizations’ current and future requirements, especially because highly skilled talent is expected to be retained even during downsizing. Increasing focus on automation and digital transformation will further widen the demand-supply gap for skills, making it difficult for organizations to source suitable skills internally or in the open market. The prevailing circumstances (e.g., the lockdown, financial distress, and health issues) may impact overall talent employability in the open market, further compounding the talent availability issue.

Rapid digital transformation is inevitable, and it will intensify the demand-supply gap

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation across organizations. It has not only reinforced the utility of tech-enabled platforms and advanced automation for seamless service delivery during mandatory Work-From-Home (WFH) protocols, but also enabled organisations to react to the evolving business environment and customer needs faster. The impending budget cliff and business model changes will further push organizations to prioritise digital transformation, which will have implications on the talent needed both to drive this change and to deliver services after transformation. Demand for emerging skills will spike even faster, again creating the need for reskilling, alternative talent models, and productivity enhancement.

WFH is here-to-stay

The extended lockdown in the near term and a high utilisation, once the COVID-19 crisis has abated, will likely make WFH an integral component of the overall service delivery model. This change will have significant talent implications – motivation, employee engagement, performance metrics, reporting metrics, communication protocols, and collaboration – which organizations will need to proactively address to optimize productivity and enhance output.

COVID-19 has precipitated a fundamental shift in the way we work. There are underlying opportunities for enterprises and service providers that proactively adapt to the new normal. We believe there are four immediate steps that enterprises must take:

  • Review your enterprise global workforce strategy
  • Develop a roadmap for skills development initiatives
  • Review your locations portfolios and BCP strategy
  • Build a playbook for integrating WFH into your services delivery models

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting talent strategies.

How can we engage?

We like to start with a conversation to learn where you are on your journey and what level of support might work best for you and your organization. Drop me a line – baskar@baachu.com

 

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