The four forces your workforce strategy can’t ignore

Companies that understand—and harness—the forces of specialisation, scarcity, rivalry and humanity will have an edge.

The Leadership Agenda

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Business strategy
  • Specialisation

    The expertise we obtain and build to succeed

    How can we anticipate the roles we’ll need (and the roles being displaced)?

  • Rivalry

    The reasons employees choose us over competitors

    Are we winning now? How can we win as our requirements change with our strategy?

  • Humanity

    The good we do for our people—and the world

    Does our company purpose resonate with our people?

  • Scarcity

    The talent shortages and skills deficits that could harm our performance

    Where are we short on talent now? What skills will we need?

If you lead, manage or plan a workforce, you’ve got your hands full. You need to inspire and support your people right now—through geopolitical conflict, through whatever comes next with COVID-19—even as you help them redefine the nature of their jobs and roles so they can thrive in a highly uncertain (and likely more automated) future. And only by getting the balance right can you create the kinds of sustained outcomes that will benefit the company, your workforce and even society.

A good place to start is grounding your thinking in a better understanding of the dynamics that your workforce strategy arises from, and depends on. Four underlying forces—specialisation, scarcity, rivalry and humanity—have been shaping workforces at key points throughout human history, and they’re highly relevant again today. Taken together, the forces offer a framework to help leaders understand the interplay among workforce strategy, business strategy, culture and technology. The resulting management conversations can help challenge you and your team to better understand the talent bets you’ve already placed but might not be aware of; better identify where your people do (and don’t) add unique value; and, above all, start anticipating tomorrow’s workforce challenges while better handling today’s.

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Contact us

Bhushan Sethi

Bhushan Sethi

Partner, Strategy&, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377

Blair Sheppard

Blair Sheppard

Global Leader, Strategy and Leadership, PwC United States

Nicole Wakefield

Nicole Wakefield

Financial Services Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9235 5415

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 7789 003712

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