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The “New Normal” in Your Workforce Operating Environment

Have you noticed lately that, as soon as you buy a new smartphone, laptop or TV, a “bigger and better” version seems to come out right on its heels?

This increasing rate of change is true not only for technology, but for the entire business environment in which we operate.

If your organization is like most, you’ve certainly sensed this dramatic shift.  HR and recruiting expert Dr. John Sullivan has actually coined the term “V.U.C.A.” to describe it.  And in a recent ERE.net article, he explores the concept of V.U.C.A. in detail, as well its effect on today’s recruiting and workforce management.

If you are one of the many strategic leaders frustrated with your inability to manage the rate of change in today’s talent management environment, you should spend a few minutes learning about V.U.C.A.  This term is an acronym for an environment that is dominated by:

  • Volatility – where things change rapidly but not predictably;
  • Uncertainty – where the past is not an accurate predictor of the future (and therefore preparing for “what’s around the corner” is extremely difficult;
  • Complexity – where countless causes and mitigating factors complicate problems;
  • Ambiguity – where the causes (i.e., who, what, where, when, how and why) behind events are often unclear.

The concept of managing under chaos is not new.  Throughout history, we’ve had numerous periods of social, economic and political upheaval which have created highly unstable business conditions.  But while these periods of uncertainty eventually resolved themselves, most business, economic and political leaders have realized that today’s V.U.C.A. environment is now a permanent condition.

According to Sullivan, talent managers, HR and recruiting professionals must develop new ways to survive in a V.U.C.A. environment.  Traditional models of talent acquisition and management simply cannot work, because they are not versatile enough to accommodate the rapid and unpredictable changes in business.

To truly thrive, you need to develop “agile models” that prepare your workforce for major disruptive events by providing a wider range of options/solutions.  Additionally, these models must also include the processes and systems that can actually shift and handle any unpredicted upcoming event “just-in-time.”  Bottom line, you must be prepared to handle unforeseen workforce events and conditions that literally nobody thought of in advance.

Check the Wood Personnel blog to learn how our staffing services for Middle Tennessee employers can help you thrive in a V.U.C.A. environment.