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The Five Types of Workforce Transformations

The circumstances that re-shaped businesses over the last two years forced accelerated changes that were rooted in “survival mode” decision-making. In addition to focusing on survival and a new set of challenges presented by COVID-19, common business disruption themes that existed previously were amplified.  


Key persisting business disruptions include: 


  • Work is often unstructured, unpredictable, and filled with unknowns  
  • Risks and influence outside a business’ control (e.g., market fluctuations, pandemics, geopolitical events, regulations, social impacts, natural disasters)  
  • Generational shifts in the workforce  
  • Increasing difficulty in retaining top talent 
  • An unavoidable reliance on rapidly evolving technology platforms  
  • Employees’ desire to work remotely  


As the world starts to move forward, businesses now find themselves shifting away from a survival approach and back to thoughtful, realistic workforce transformation strategies. Those thriving on the other side of disruption are placing emphasis on the importance of consistently evaluating their transformation strategies and, more importantly, their ability to execute on them. They’re making decisions based on data and are staying flexible enough with their transformation plans to adjust course.  


Thematically, there are five main types of workforce transformations:  


The origin of most major changes within a business often begins with a redesign of the organizational structure, which dictates how the business operates. The focus is on teams and how they are working together. Examples include employee development, team scaling, productivity, and alignment to the business strategy. This type of transformation often precedes any of the other four listed below and likely has the most impact related to employees and teams. 



The weaknesses in traditional hierarchical structures have been exposed over the years and there’s now a heightened emphasis on communication, collaboration, transparency, and empowerment amongst teams. Employees are asking leaders to trust them and are looking for credible and qualified leadership that can guide and motivate them – setting them up for success in their roles.   



Following on the heels of a leadership transformation, cultural transformations focus on ways of thinking and behaving. It starts with changes at the individual level and gains momentum when teams and functions are operating with a shared sense of purpose towards the business’ mission, vision, and values. Businesses often find themselves needing to transform their culture due to toxicity, lack of motivation, growing pains, a disconnect from purpose or dated ways of thinking and working together.  


Information Systems / Digital  

Digital transformation might be one of the top business buzz phrases of the last couple years (right after “New Normal”). Simply put, companies undergoing digital transformations are those that are identifying and implementing best fit technologies to modernize their business operations and workforce productivity. They are getting the right platforms implemented (while sunsetting those that no longer serve a purpose) and ensuring employees have the knowledge and skillsets to adequately leverage these new tools.  


Business Processes  

Ways to save time, speed up a return on investment, preserve valuable resources, or respond to market demand more efficiently are at the center of every business operation. But when a business is struggling to keep up with demand or finding themselves wasting time and energy as a workforce, it’s time to explore how the work is getting done at the process level. Businesses will often hire a third party to assess their business processes, but it’s often the employees closest to the work who can help guide a successful business process transformation when given the time and space to do so.  


As we all take a collective deep breath and regroup, it is unlikely that businesses will return to the same methods and mindsets that were working in 2019. Your organization’s transformation efforts will need to be mindfully crafted by taking careful inventory on where you have been, where you are now and where you are hoping to go. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to organizational change, but the companies that remain transparent, nimble, and responsive will see and react to the needed shifts more quickly and with less disruption to employees.


Ardent’s approach to workforce transformation leverages a dynamic, four-phased method that can be adjusted to any size organization and transformational project. We partner with our clients to ensure transformations are successful by empowering employees with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive throughout the transformation experience.  


If you want to learn more, reach out to one of our Learning Consultants today.


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