In the modern era of rapidly evolving technology, ongoing digitalisation of business processes and shifting worker expectations, businesses need to work hard to keep up with the pace of change.

Workforce planning should be a top priority for company leaders in this exciting but chaotic time. This will help you future-proof your organisation and prepare your people for future challenges and opportunities. 

Whatever the coming years might bring, your business and its employees must be ready for change. That will mean keeping your finger on the pulse of the labour market, tracking the latest tech trends and reskilling your workforce.


6 essential activities to future-proof your workforce.

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preparing for the future of work

It's difficult to predict what the future will bring for employers, but every business can feel sure that change will manifest itself in some way or another.

This could come in various forms. Disruptors could come along and reinvent how things are done in your industry, new technologies could give you the potential to transform and optimise your core processes, or emerging labour market trends could require you to update your recruitment methods.

As businesses saw with COVID-19 in 2020, it's also possible that an utterly unforeseen crisis could emerge and affect entire sectors.

To be prepared for change, you need a diverse, flexible workforce. You need to give your employees the proper tech support and skills development opportunities so they can help you adapt to the latest challenges and opportunities.

PwC's workforce of the Future 2030 report found that 74% of workers are ready to learn new skills or retrain to remain employable.

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Machine learning and AI will help us do a much better job of workforce planning in the future, but we can't sit back and wait for the future of work to happen. Those organisations and workers that understand potential futures, and what each might mean for them, and plan ahead, will be best prepared to succeed.

Jon Williams
partner and joint global leader, people and organisation at PwC

practical steps to future-proof your workforce

So what actions and processes can you start putting in place right now to build the future workforce?

One vital step is to analyse your current skill sets and think about the capabilities you're likely to need to stay flexible and succeed in the future. If this brings attention to some apparent talent gaps, you can start to plan strategies for addressing them, whether through recruitment or reskilling the workforce you already have.

If you choose to go down the recruitment route, you'll need to focus on concepts like your employer brand and whether it's strong enough to attract the people you need. It's also worth considering the benefits you could achieve from working with a dedicated HR partner.

Regarding reskilling and upskilling, there are many advantages to be gained from investing time and resources in finding an approach that works for the business and your employees.

People who feel that their employer is committed to helping them learn new things, expand their skill sets and progress in their careers are more likely to feel happy, engaged, and ultimately stay in their jobs.

Deloitte's 2019 Millennial Survey showed that some of the most common reasons for millennials to want to leave their current organisation in the next two years were:

  • Not having enough opportunities to advance (35%)
  • Lack of learning and development prospects (28%)
  • Feeling underappreciated (23%)
  • Poor work-life balance/lack of flexibility (22%)
  • Boredom/not being challenged (21%)

other key findings in the research showed a strong correlation between people planning to stay in their current jobs and saying their employer delivered on financial performance, community impact, talent development, and diversity and inclusion.

According to Boston Consulting Group, employers worldwide face a "huge upskilling challenge" and a potential "workforce crisis consisting of an overall labour shortage plus a skills mismatch". The firm highlighted six steps businesses can take to meet this challenge and future-proof their workforce:

  1. Create a strategic workforce plan
  2. Launch targeted upskilling programs 
  3. Embrace learning contracts
  4. Adopt the latest learning technologies
  5. Build a continuous learning culture
  6. Extend upskilling to the broader society

If you're looking for new ways to leverage and deploy talent within your organisation so you're ready for the tests and opportunities of tomorrow, the support of a specialist partner like Randstad Risesmart could prove invaluable.

are you focusing on the right areas?

You must concentrate on the right concepts to optimise your workforce planning and prepare employees and your business for what the future could bring.

Randstad has created a guide highlighting six key areas you need to focus on to assess your readiness for the future of work, spanning topics from employer branding to flexibility and diversity.

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about the author
Alex Carson
Alex Carson

alex carson

randstad general manager professionals victoria

Alex Carson has been part of the Randstad business for the last 14 years. Having initially joined the Randstad UK business in 2007 after graduating, after 7 successful years he relocated with his wife to Melbourne and joined the Australian business. Over the journey, Alex has recruited and managed teams across a diverse range of sectors and disciplines including both public and private sector clients.
In his current position of General Manager in Victoria, Alex is responsible for Randstad's Victorian Professional businesses that incorporate our Construction, Property and Engineering, Public Sector that includes both Local, Federal and State Government, Banking and Financial Services, Accounting and Finance as well as our Manufacturing, Operations, Transport and Logistics Business across Victoria.

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