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From Traditional to Agile: Transforming Organizational Structures for Success

The new work scene demands a new set of skills and a quick reaction in light of the emergence of many skills. Organizational transformation is no longer optional. The work paradigm shift was so radical that even skeptics stopped fantasizing about a possible return to the old work model. The rules of the game have changed and those who don't adapt, won't move forward. Game over.

October 11, 2022

The future is on-demand, flexible, inclusive and decentralized. And it is talent who sets the rules of the game.  Oh, yes. 

‍Organizations stand before a scenario that demands a new set of skills and a quick reaction, as they are faced with the proliferation of emerging skills which require mastering in order to keep standing. Organizational transformation is no longer optional, circumstantial or imposed by a pandemic. The work paradigm shift was so radical that even skeptics stopped fantasizing about a possible return to the old work model. The new normal in the work world has nothing “new” about it, not anymore at least. The rules of the game have changed and if you don't adapt, it’s GAME OVER. The princess is on another castle. 

‍Rule #1

Adaptability to change must come at the speed of light in order to adjust to the ebb and flow of the market.  Companies which have been successful for years are the ones facing the greatest challenges. One does not simply change the winning formula, and being a leading company in the blend age requires constant transformation. Technology is developing fast, modifying everything in the wake of its evolution. New demands require new technologies, which require new talents, who demand new products, which demand new services in turn. This technological tsunami not only affects each and every industry, but it also governs the day-to-day life of the average citizen: consumption, entertainment, academic choice and profession. Historically, business giants tend to grow complacent and rather reluctant to structural changes. However, the context demands innovation and acceptance of this new work paradigm and its multiple facets in order to remain in the top 5. What is even more important is the fact that companies will lose their appeal to talent. They will not be able to access the best professionals and will lose the ones they have, since they can’t offer a business alternative that aligns with talent's purpose and desires. 

The premise is to be open to innovation, to understand the new rules of the game in order to dominate each round, or to end in a tie at least, or lose–but with dignity. It is the effort that counts. In order to do so, it is essential to avoid the vices of the traditional corporate mindset and get rid of the ideas that until not so long ago were carved in stone. Well, it’s time to carve some new ideas in that stone, ladies and gentlemen.  

Rule #2

It is imperative for companies to start building an open talent culture that can swiftly deal with the difficulty of attracting talent, appeal to professionals in the most in-demand sectors such as IT, allow them to compete for the most sought-after experts and keep their current ones happy. 

‍An organization with an open talent culture (CTA in Spanish) fosters hiring on-demand professionals and builds diverse and flexible teams. It brings on board independent talent for a fixed amount of time. With them they form a partnership different to the one with a regular employee.  Social security contributions... what? Bonuses!?

CTA is the Spanish for ‘open talent culture’ and it coincidentally matches the acronym for Call to Action. It’s also an invitation for all partners, regardless of the terms of employment, to feel part of the company and play as team members in the project they are working on. Words like co-creation, collaboration and innovation are part of the essence of an open culture. These are the driving force that makes all parties feel motivated and happy at work, knowing that their contribution is appreciated and will either have an impact in the wellbeing of the community or solve an existing problem. Yes, social responsibility, diversity, inclusion, equality and sense of belonging are also important.  Talent wants it all. And if the ball is in our court, we are going to kick it hard. And we are going to score. 

Companies that broaden their hiring alternatives gain access to talent networks of highly qualified professionals who are passionate about their job, happy with the terms of employment, and as a result, more efficient.  

For an organization, ‘open culture’ entails the implementation of policies, procedures and strategies to foster curiosity, creativity and learning on the go. It means embodying values and beliefs that align with talent desires, interests and expectations, which allows work-life balance to exist, respecting their identity and self-expression, and helping them boost their abilities. The bottom line is to leave behind that which used to make sense but is not relevant anymore. It is essential to have a mindset free of the concepts inherent to closed traditional structures. Time to say goodbye.

Rule #3

In this context, innovation requires a decentralized approach. As we have learned in the last years, the global ecosystem can change abruptly, be it due to a pandemic or an unlikely war. The business units, processes or strategies that make a company grow today, can become a pain in the neck tomorrow. In order to avoid that, companies should be able to act swiftly, rapidly shrinking or expanding as needed.  Long-term stable projections have ceased to exist across each and every business area. What does exist is timely decision making, sustainable growth, responsible management and balanced expenditure.  However, nobody has a crystal ball nor a secured future. 

‍We are living in an age of disruption, no longer cyclical but constant. The strategies that worked yesterday seem obsolete today. To change in the blink of an eye, that is the question.  Companies that access an endless plug-in of diverse talent, with different skills and experiences, can deal with those changes easier and faster. Goodbye forever to hierarchical control, to job positions that reduce productivity, to levels that amount to nothing and bureaucracies that slow everything down. Nowadays, changes must be met with action.  Ask for forgiveness, not permission.  Trial and error. Experimentation 10x. 

Rule #4

‍The top-down approach is no longer relevant, and horizontal organizational structures dominate the scene. Agility is key nowadays, and those who don’t run not only won’t place first but also won’t reach the finish line. 

‍Being agile regarding the hiring strategy ensures the availability of specialized professionals, leading experts, and also provides immediate access to a global talent network, which is diverse and offers specific skills for each critical need. Tomorrow is too late.    

Being agile enables companies to try new and potentially game-changing ideas, conquer limits and think outside of the box, opening the door to new and never-thought-of businesses.  The new economic scene requires corporations to start behaving more like start-ups.  

‍Micro-management gave way to self-management, and for the latter to lead to positive results, it must be accompanied by clear goals, transparency and training. Freedom does not mean disregarding all rules, just as autonomy does not mean anarchy, but rather providing resources so that each partner can make decisions on their own.  When talent is accountable for the outcome, be it successful or not, they work with more enthusiasm and feel that their contribution has value and impact.

Rule #5

‍Structural changes tend to be expensive and complex to implement in the short term. However, starting to incorporate more efficient hiring and talent managing strategies is not only inexpensive but also resource and time saving.   It’s a mechanism that allows to scale up teams quickly when needed or demanded by the situation. It’s no longer necessary to count on all the resources at all times–be it talent, building structure or technological assets.    

Fact: if we analyze the data obtained from surveys on the Future of Work, the common point in the companies’ responses regarding on-demand talent added value was efficiency.   

Rule #6

‍The evolution of organizational structures requires a mindset shift that must be encouraged from top to bottom. Leaders need to head the transformation with the conviction and clarity that any transition requires. It is essential for leaders to be open to communication in order to understand which are the needs, obstacles or strengths of permanent partners. Would the project yield better results if we hire a temporary expert? Do they have all the necessary skills to meet the goals efficiently? Does this particular project require more resources? Working with on-demand talent is the simplest, most functional and accessible solution.  Amen.

Besides saving time and money, working with on-demand talent is beneficial for both the team and the project. Talent can bring fresh and innovative ideas to the table or come up with solutions that are free of corporative vices and traditions. It also brings borders closer and allows for a more diverse, global and eclectic collaboration. The best qualified data scientist lives in Milan - and who cares? Thanks to technology he is able to work as if he were sitting right next to you in the office. 

The main problem that leaders face nowadays is identifying which will be the skill that their company will require next, which skill will become outdated, and how to ensure that talent with those new skills joins their organization. The solution is simple: an open talent culture driven by a flexible and diverse work force. 

Rule #7

Talent wants to decide when it’s more convenient for them to work. Full-time jobs are losing ground and geographical restrictions no longer apply. Companies must start adapting their practices, culture and systems; they must adjust their processes and re-think the benefits they offer to talent. If they don’t start now, then it will be too late.

Many organizations fight to keep their internal culture alive and relevant in a context of hybrid work. The key is adjusting the culture to this new reality and not the other way round. For the umpteenth time, it’s all about flexibility.  A PwC study shows that 68% of HR leaders think that their employees should work in the office at least three days a week.  Newsflash: employees don’t agree. They think that one day a week is more than enough.  And commuting to work should be worth it and have a purpose. 

Rule #8

‍Talent is the one who chooses, evaluates, interviews and sets the conditions. Fighting against the Great Resignation is useless; the real battle is elsewhere. Fighting to retain talent is not the solution, increasing individual incentives to prevent talent from leaving is useless: there is no room for indecisive and unhappy workers.  Goodbye forever.  (To retain: to keep or continue to have something that should be given back). 

The paradigm shift is such that nowadays it is companies that work for their employees.   Paradoxical, isn’t it? It's not only a matter of economic compensation but also of emotional compensation–enhancing the work experience, giving employees what they ask for, and setting in place dynamics and strategies to make it happen.  Freedom, flexibility, autonomy and continuous training are key in order to improve their skills.   

Nowadays companies must be generous with talent if they want to compete for the best. Companies which are undergoing a talent shortage–a growing trend in the IT sector–must change their approach in order to attract talent. Hiring needs to be fast: lengthy negotiations have become outdated in an open talent culture where the hiring of specialists can be achieved within weeks.  Action must be placed over bureaucracy, talent over prejudice, agility over rigid structures and external talent networks over now obsolete traditional hiring strategies.

Join the work (r)evolution and access the best qualified and on-demand talent of Latin America by clicking here.

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