Three issues are emerging that will impact companies and will provide opportunities for consultants to provide assistance to executives and business owners:
1. New Emerging Workforce: As employers spring from this painful recession, they will be faced with significant workforce tests including the need to keep labor costs low, pressures to increase productivity further, a battered and disengaged employee population, and government agencies scrutinizing employers who seek cost savings at the expense of workers, while avoiding their tax obligations. Employers must prepare now for this new emerging workforce.
This workforce will also include more part-time workers, temps, contract workers and independent contractors. Consultants can help executives make this transition; integrate these new workers into their existing workplace and culture; and train managers on how to lead this new 21st century workforce.
2. Narrowing the Skills Gap: Changing technology demands a more skilled worker—but our existing workforce cannot meet the challenges and companies are suffering. Consultants can help narrow the gap by helping executives understand the impact this is having on long-term growth and viability of the organization. The consultant will have to focus attention on training and development, helping the organization becomes a learning organization. The consultant will also have to help forge partnerships with community colleges and universities and government to foster greater cooperation and skills training programs, all geared to narrowing the skills gap.
3. Succession Planning: As the workforce grays and a greater percentage of the workers near retirement, the need for succession planning becomes great. Companies are not stepping up to address this. Consultants can help educate boards of directors and executives on the importance of developing plans to prepare the organization for succession, emergencies created by the sudden loss of a key person, and the loss of institutional knowledge. Beyond the creation of these plans, the consultant can help the executive with the emotional aspect of knowing someday someone else will be sitting in their seat.
The challenges are enormous and are putting significant strain on executives. The value consultants can provide them in addressing these issues is tremendous.