Skill, Will, Task and Time: The key levers of workforce management

In this authored article,Sreekanth Arimanithaya,Senior Vice President, Integrated Workforce Management, India co-managing director, DXC Technology,talks about the growth of the next-gen workforce, management systems and HR practices with four significant components of skill, will, task and time.


Photo Credit : Shutterstock,

The IT services industry is at an inflection point: As organizations chart their path to digital, CIOs are finding it vital to evolve their strategy and operations, aligned to the rapid pace of technology.

Re-platforming the enterprise portends a major shift in talent, too. Many organizations misinterpret digital to be only a technology platform, but digital is actually a culture. Enterprises today need to invest in and grow next-gen talent ;covering people, skills and new talent sourcing models such as crowd sourcing and Bring Your Own Team (BYOT). Lean, agile and DevOps, which in the past were regarding only as methodologies, are quickly finding a way to become a part of an organization’s mainstream culture. And the concepts of skill, will, task and Time are becoming relevant and helping organizations to get a pulse on workforce sentiment.

In the past, the IT industry has led the way in driving innovation for other industries. This time around, IT can pick up a few innovative resource planning strategies from other sectors. For example, just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, pioneered years ago by Toyota for automobile production, uses lean processes to reduce the production cycles and customer response times. Another lean strategy is centered on the “pull” concept, whereby a finely tuned flow of goods or services is produced (or pulled) only in response to customer demand. The fast-moving consumer goods industry, too, deploys sophisticated and advanced planning and optimization techniques to keep their inventory in balance with real-time demand. The IT industry can tap into these strategies for demand planning and to be more proactive when responding to market changes.

Customer expectations are changing, and workforce planning must align accordingly. Hiring strategy needs to be refreshed based on the availability of skilled talent across college graduates, lateral hires, contractors and freelancers, or maybe even via a dynamic talent platform.

Skill - the need for employees with digital skills continues to grow and evolve. Today, a majority of organizations consider a lack of digital skills to be a major productivity hurdle. Mastering skills across the software stack gives employees the ability to move across projects, dictated by the demand for their skills. It is crucial that IT firms invest in training, re skilling and mentoring programs to build a workforce of versatile employees and develop a skills inventory and nuanced taxonomy that will enable successful demand and workforce planning.

Will is defined as the willingness to do more. IT firms can encourage all-around employee growth and development by providing the necessary tools, incentives and organizational support to help individuals succeed. It is important that the firms have the right mechanisms to glean insights about employee performance and behavior, instead of just relying on annual appraisals and conventional rating methods. For example, pulse surveys help to get a sense of employee sentiment faster and provide valuable inputs for implementing constructive measures.

A task is the module of work that an employee is handling at any given time. It is important to analyze an employee’s engagement,based on their job description and work life cycle — at the task level, in relation to the task they have on hand, the value it is adding for the employee and the costs involved to the company. Identifying non-value-adding tasks makes it easier to eliminate/automate them. 

The next step is to consider alternate methods of completing non-value-adding tasks, such as automation or crowd sourcing. According to a recent study by business consulting firms, almost sixty percent of occupations could automate at least thirty percent of their constituent activities or tasks. Mapping tasks to roles helps departments understand whether the right skills are being used to complete a task or if the right task has been assigned to the employee with a specific set of skills.

A deep understanding of the three components of skill, will, task and time helps to develop a quantifiable picture of how an employee’s time is spent and how overall productivity and efficiency can be improved. For example, a recent analyst study states that knowledge workers using social technology to enhance communication and collaboration can scale up their productivity by twenty-five percent. Time is a derivative of productivity and bill ability, and therefore an important metric.

Understanding these four key components of workforce management enables organizations to re engineer business processes in real time. Maximizing meaningful and value-adding tasks that leverage the range of an employee’s skill set is an important factor in employee engagement, specifically in enhancing their will. This, in turn, drives productivity across the organization.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) of the future needs to shift its focus to employee development, productivity and engagement. To successfully nurture and grow the next-gen workforce, management systems and HR practices must reconfigure these four significant components of skill, will, task and time. Organizations that embrace this change will be successful in creating a vibrant environment for their employees, thereby producing new beneficial outcomes for stakeholders such as customers, partners and investors.

Sreekanth Arimanithaya LinkedIn-

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

Tags assigned to this article:
Sreekanth Arimanithaya DXC Technology


Around The World