Lloyds Banking Group – former chairman Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman: Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, asked me to consider establishing and chairing a group of Chief Executives and Chairmen from leading employers to consider the issue of workforce agility and how UK business might support the growth of workforce agility across UK plc.
The 22 founder companies of the Agile Future Forum (AFF) differ in terms of sector, size and location. We all share a common view, however, that workforce agility is generating significant and tangible economic benefits for our businesses. We set out to investigate the benefits we already enjoyed from our workforce agility practices, to identify additional potential value, and to understand how we could help other businesses across the economy replicate good practices.
With support from McKinsey & Company, one of our members, we identified substantial value. In the areas we reviewed, we are enjoying benefits equivalent to 3-13% of workforce costs. Our research also suggested potential further value to be had from taking an exciting all-new approach to agile working: we identified opportunities across sectors for potential value equivalent to 3-7% of workforce costs and sales uplift of up to 11%. But the realisation of these benefits requires a different approach.
Historically, workforce agility (or flexibility as it is more commonly known) has largely been positioned as an employee benefit, part of the employee value proposition, rather than a way for companies to meet their strategic business goals in a challenging business environment. That needs to change – this can be about benefits to businesses, as well as employees. Business leaders, rather than simply HR, should lead the development of agility practices, starting with a clear understanding of the needs of the business and their workforce.
We have developed a new approach that enables organisations to consider workforce agility in this way. Our in depth testing of this approach across the AFF founding companies demonstrates that it works across all sectors and size of business.
I hope that the benefits outlined here, along with the tools and golden rules that we have developed to support other organisations, demonstrate that it is possible to develop a way of operating that is valuable for businesses and employees alike and, as a result, to the UK economy. I encourage executives to reflect on what we have developed and see whether it might be of benefit to their businesses.
We would like as many companies as possible to join us: those who are already operating in an agile way to share their learning and experience; and those who have further to go and who might benefit from the work we have begun. So, I encourage you to spend five minutes to, ‘Take the Test’ and see how agile your company is today.
Sir Winfried Bischoff – Chairman, Financial Reporting Council.
How agile is your organisation?
Agile Future Forum report 2014
Understand the economic benefits of workforce agility