I am not going to write a long introduction, setting the scene of the work environment in a post-pandemic world since it has been well documented by others, I’ll assume we’re all on the same page regarding the new normal and the move from the office to remote working models.
One by-product of this change has been the battle for talent fueling salary increases across multiple sectors and disciplines. With location no longer a barrier to roles in many organizations and with economies bouncing back, we are seeing a significant amount of churn as skilled professionals take advantage of greater numbers of opportunities now on offer.
Attrition of key resources has always been a risk, but now this is being brought into sharp focus as organizations struggle to compete with enhanced packages to attract and retain talent.
However, salary has consistently been a hygiene factor and while there may be a blip, pay raises will ultimately level out and then the deciding factors will return to being more intrinsic and centered on the role and opportunities a position offers.
This article will explore this within the context of Project Delivery and how organizations can take a different approach to achieve outstanding results AND retain a happy and motivated workforce.
Project Resourcing: The State-of-Play
In large organizations, steering project delivery is challenging especially where multiple projects are in play across different departments and with different stakeholders. This is an iterative process of gathering project information throughout the week, then processed through complex spreadsheets before being compiled into status packs. These are then reviewed by a steering committee comprised of Department Heads and a C-Level Chair, usually the CIO.
Within this (weekly) meeting, key decisions are made to unblock stuck projects, often resulting in resources being traded-off between projects based on priority and other factors such as utilization levels. Decisions are then communicated back to the delivery teams before the whole process is then repeated a few days later. Sound familiar?
The obvious issue here is that the information upon which critical decisions are made is several days out of date by the time it reaches those empowered to act upon it. Projects therefore suffer delays while the wheels of this process slowly turn. Additionally, many organizations are unaware of the skills and capabilities of their workforce, something that changes over time as people join, develop, and leave the company.
This all leads to poor, untimely decisions being made on inaccurate and incomplete data which is immensely frustrating for all concerned. However, little has changed since the concept of Project Offices was envisaged.
While this is clearly damaging to the value businesses derive from their project investments, arguably the greater issue is the erosion of enthusiasm and drive within the teams having to endure the outcomes of the process. Over-utilization of key resources being constantly switched between different projects is also commonplace and all this can lead to high performers becoming disenfranchised with the company and ultimately seeking new opportunities of which there are now many.
Finally, by not understanding the capability mix within the workforce, the opportunity is missed to introduce diversity and new perspectives into teams. This breeds much needed innovation and also the development of the talent pool.
For CIOs this can seriously derail the implementation of the technology roadmap and with it the Business Strategy it underpins. Replacing specialists is not just a question of recruiting someone with the right skills, it also takes many months to gain domain and systems knowledge to become effective in a role. Plus, the impact upon informal networks when popular and respected members of the team leave can be very damaging to morale resulting in a downwards spiral of unwanted attrition.
Along with remote working, another significant change impacting the workforce is the values that newer generations have. As Millennials now begin to occupy Senior levels within the organization, the decisions they make will often differ from those they are succeeding.
Millennials are the generation of Digital Pioneers, who saw the explosion of technology and specifically social media during their formative years. Generation Z, who are now just entering into the workforce, are seen as Digital Natives growing up in during a period this technology has matured to the point where the consumption of real-time information has become the norm.
Both generations share characteristics and values different to previous ones. Rent, subscribe and stream is preferred to ownership. On-demand services providing instant gratification highlights a mind-set not willing to accept methods that do not offer this. Additionally, both are more aware of social-environmental issues and often their choices are heavily influenced by these.
The point here is that both are less willing to stick it out in a job that doesn’t match their self-image or satisfy their demands.
Workplaces are changing and only those that can evolve and adapt quickly will succeed in retaining and attracting the talent required to fuel business growth.
The Perfect Delivery
In a changing world of work and a new cast of actors with different ideals and values, how can we best achieve the dual goals of project delivery and talent retention?
Well, wherever there is a downwards spiral such as that highlighted above, there is an equal upwards spiral that can be attained if those factors are reversed. If the right decisions can be made at the right time and with the right focus on matching skills, capabilities and aspirations to business tasks, then the outcome will be a happier, motivated, and importantly a higher performing workforce.
To do this will require a level of insight that traditional methodologies and platforms are unable to support for the reasons previously stated. The drawing together of disparate information across multiple sources upon which painstaking analysis is undertaken to provide insights just doesn’t meet the needs or expectations of a digitally enabled workforce.
What is required is an enterprise-wide platform that allows organizations to capture and manage the skills and experience of their talent, utilization levels, alongside the demand emanating from the Project Office. By providing this unique view in real-time and on-demand, enables business leaders to make time critical decisions based upon accurate and timely information. By swapping out the cycle of information gathering, collation, analysis, and presentation for one that provides a holistic view of the organization, the performance of projects will be transformed.
This is exactly what OpusView provides. Comprehensive Capability Management combined with feature rich Project Delivery functionality. It links the dual desired outcomes of successful project delivery with the business and personal goals of individuals by matching capabilities, needs and aspirations to project assignments.
CIOs can truly realize their vision through the delivery of their strategic roadmaps and attract and retain the top talent every organization needs.
Martin Shaw, CTO