What Should the Workforce Management Team of Tomorrow Look Like?


At nextSource, the focus is always on seeking out and engaging the latest, newest and, well, next big thing in workforce management.  Ingrained in our culture is the notion of continuous improvement and we place very high value on finding ways to do everything better. That is why this opinion piece by Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall at Proxima resonated among our staff. In the article, he posits four characteristics of the procurement team of tomorrow. With preemptive apologies to Jonathan, we’ve taken the liberty of repurposing his message in the creation of our four characteristics of the workforce management team of tomorrow.

What characteristics should the workforce management team of tomorrow have?

  1. Deep category expertise: The team must have a solid base of expertise atop which a world-class workforce management infrastructure may be built. While it is not imperative that every member of the team be encyclopedic in their knowledge of best practices and such, it is imperative that some of the team is.  If (as Cooper-Bagnall rightly concludes) there isn’t some deep category expertise on the team, the generalist approach can lead to problems.  This is especially true, as he notes, in the indirect procurement space inhabited by human capital procurement folks like us. With such a dizzying array of categories of workers, lacking deep expertise can lead to inefficient sourcing practices.
  2. Non-workforce management professionals: We always tout the benefits of cross-training among functions within workforce management to ensure continuity in your operations regardless of who is available to work at any given time. Taking it one step further, adding team members from outside functions such as marketing, procurement, or even finance can infuse your team with perspectives, processes and practices they may not be accustomed to. The introduction of new ideas and fresh perspectives often yields innovative results which can translate into market advantage.
  3. Change agents: Leveraging the “next” to positive ends takes a mindset that is comfortable with disruption and a personality that is comfortable with the unknown.  Hiring people onto your workforce management team who demonstrate these tendencies in their career histories might seem like a recipe for derailment. We’re not advocating for a willy-nilly, anything goes approach.  Yet, adaptation, evolution and early adoption are all necessary ingredients in building the successful workforce management processes of tomorrow. Seeking out those who are committed to driving the organization forward based on well-calculated risk taking can truly help you to “nextSource”.
  4. Great relationship managers:  We often talk about being the customer of choice with the suppliers serving your programs. Ensuring strong, bi-directional communications is always a key to success.  Articulating expectations and reporting back on performance is just as important as hearing and accommodating the needs of your partner. When you populate your team with good communicators, particularly those who are supplier-facing, you’re ensuring that your program will operate in a harmonious and efficient manner.

Building the workforce of tomorrow requires that you take some foundation-buildingsteps today. Download our latest eBook for more great ideas on how you to not just source, but nextSource!

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