Increased complexity and unpredictability of Operations work have highlighted the need for knowledge workers who
can adapt to new work environments and find new opportunities to create value for Operations. In a recent CEB survey of 33 Operations senior executives, every single respondent agreed that over the next five years the Operations function will require new skills and competencies of its workforce. Yet today many employees lack the analytical and management skills needed from an increasingly complex and exceptions-driven environment.
As disruptive forces–from automation and offshoring to increased digital use and matrixed organizational structures–reshape our work environments, what are these skills the Operations workforce of the future will need to be successful?
For members looking to upskill and prepare their staff for a new work environment ahead, we recommend these three steps:
1) Assess Your Competency Baseline and Current Talent Gaps
What We Know: Leaders cannot know where to invest talent management resources without first understanding clearly where there are gaps in critical skills and behaviors.
How We Can Help: Learn how one organization we call Pollock Life identifies and defines employee competencies that align with the firm’s five-year business strategy to clearly articulate the skills staff should focus on developing. Next, analyze the gap between current and ideal levels of needed competencies in Operations to create a competency prioritization framework.
2) Develop analytical abilities
What We Know: Due to the efficiency improvements our industry has seen in outsourcing, automation, and process improvement, Operations’ remaining work is increasingly exceptions-driven, requiring more problem solving and critical analysis. However, many members tell us that critical thinking and judgment are critical competencies their junior staff in Operations lack.
How We Can Help: Learn how one peer organization encourages employees to identify problems and analyze root causes through the use of team “vision boards”, and learn five tips for building a successful continuous improvement culture in Operations.
3) Nurture leadership and management skills
What We Know: Three in four senior executives report that Operations staff most lack the competencies needed to be successful at the early and middle manager roles. On average firms expect 24% of senior leaders to leave Operations within the next five years, and the prospects for filling future leadership roles do not look promising.
How We Can Help: Learn how to address current leadership gaps and develop a pipeline of future leadership with our research on Recruiting and Engaging Knowledge Workers: Building a Pipeline of Operations Managers.
Are you working to build an Operations talent development roadmap within your firm? If so, reach out to our team at CEBFSOperations@executiveboard.com to learn more about our resources.