“What matters today is people,” asserts Donna Fitzgerald, the keynote speaker at the Tempus Resource 2020 Virtual Conference. “Our view of what’s important has changed. Managing people and work will require a whole new approach,” she continued in her wide-ranging presentation. “People are more than a company’s biggest expense. Without people, there’s no output or creativity. We are how things get done.”
From working in the “post-digital age” to the massive changes brought on by COVID-19 to the “4th Industrial Revolution,” nearly everything about getting work done is shifting. Ms. Fitzgerald leads us through how focusing on people will be the key to adapting to major changes.
First, she lays out a map to resource management maturity, which she sees less like steps on a staircase and more like the phases of human development—evolving organically. All companies start as reactionary and then decide that there’s a better way to do things. They find a tool like Tempus to achieve that goal with determination. They grow dedicated to continuous improvement and preparing their organization to be the best in class. When hitting innovation, the organization starts capturing the next right thing organically, with an innovation process that is less formal and highly nurtured. Finally, the ultimate phase is achieved: transformation, where organizations can operate, grow, and transform steadily.
Wherever you see yourself on this journey at the moment, Ms. Fitzgerald reminds us to remain focused on people. Traditionally, HR exists to “serve management and treat people as a group.” Instead, consider a new discipline to replace HR that focuses on individuals: understanding them and enabling them with the right access to tools, knowledge, and experiences to be best in their class.
Additionally, it’s critical that employees at all levels know the organization’s goals. Strategies should be translated into tactics that every individual can identify and align with.
One example of getting to know your people involves the generation of Millennials, who are often known to show discomfort with the way corporations are structured. Seeking autonomy and freedom to innovate, their solution has historically been to become entrepreneurs. This impulse, advises Ms. Fitzgerald, should be harnessed and leveraged. Those with entrepreneurial desire and acumen should be given opportunities and challenges to explore, think, and make vital contributions within the company.
For those wondering where to begin, Ms. Fitzgerald offers three steps toward resource management maturity. First, build a simple model; second, expand your resource and capacity planning effort; and third, focus on the individual—monitoring work and encouraging growth. Ultimately, thriving in the digital future will require adaptation, which means resilience in the people who make up our organizations.
We thank Donna Fitzgerald for her visionary insights and invite you to view her full keynote address below: