Specialization. Scarcity. Rivalry. Humanity. Companies that understand—and harness—these forces will have an edge in creating vibrant workforces capable of achieving sustained, positive outcomes.
If you lead, manage, or plan a workforce, you’re familiar with disruption—and have seen a lot of it lately, including geopolitical and social crises and the biggest public health emergency in living memory. And you’ve spent time and energy on everything from designing remote and hybrid work experiences, to understanding the “great resignation,” to simply trying to keep your people safe.
Against this backdrop, you need to keep sight of the urgent, fast-moving workforce challenges you face—without losing sight of the long game. You need to inspire and support your people now, even as you help them redefine the nature of their jobs and roles so they can thrive in a highly uncertain future. Only by getting the balance right can you create the kinds of sustained outcomes that will benefit the company, your workforce, and even society.
A good place to start is by grounding your thinking in a better understanding of the dynamics that your workforce strategy arises from, and that it depends on. Four underlying forces—specialization, scarcity, rivalry, and humanity—have been shaping workforces at key points throughout human history, and they’re highly relevant again today. Taken together, the forces offer a framework to help companies understand the interplay between workforce strategy, business strategy, culture, and technology.
By Bhushan Sethi, Blair Sheppard, and Nicole Wakefield via PwC