You can’t transform your business without transforming the capability of your people

Three6 | 9 June 2020


Organisational Capability is important because clear expectations are at the centre of organisational performance.

At the end of the day, your organisational strategy is delivered by your people and employees need to know what is expected of them in a changed organisation, in order to deliver and realise the value of the transformation.

If your strategy, operating model and ways of working are changing this will have a direct impact on the capability and behavioural expectations of your people.  

If you are transforming to a more agile, digital or customer-led approach to work – the organisational capability of your workforce needs to change, and your people need to have clear expectations. Employees need to be given the opportunity to learn, develop and adapt (with support and coaching) to lead and sustain the transformation.

Clear capability expectations are related to psychological safety, personal motivation and employee engagement. They also have a direct impact along the entire employee life cycle from pre-recruitment, through to development and progression.

McKinsey research illustrates that around the globe “half of all respondents say capability building is at least a top-three priority at their companies. This finding supports our experience with fast-growing organizations in the region, which face notable capability gaps as they expand”.

The capability of people within organisations can be transformed in a myriad of ways, depending on the context within your organisation. But here are some suggestions to guide you through the process:

1. Identify the future capabilities that your organisation needs by:

a) Reviewing current core competencies – will they deliver the new transformation strategy?
identifying current learning gaps
c) considering capabilities that will bring the new op model, ways of working and processes to life

2. Do external benchmarking to identify what capabilities other companies within your industry are using; direct competitors, market leaders or innovative startups and explore what they are doing. Identify a range of capabilities congruent with your transformation strategy. 

3. Use HCD to create or adapt a capability framework based on what is needed by employees, and develop a plan to evaluate, develop and transform the capability of your people, workforce and organisation. Include process alignment and agile ways of working.

4. Prioritising your capability needs – once you have selected your desired capabilities organisation-wide that will deliver and sustain your transformation, do a ‘learning needs analysis’ (evaluate the competence level of your people based on new capabilities) and prioritise development based on the greatest learning need. 

5. Implement a simple sustainable framework that can be measured to gauge development and monitor progress.

Implementing a capability framework is not a huge amount of work, and can be a positive strong team-building exercise. The aim is to select a range of capabilities that will help to deliver the transformed organisation. The capabilities should define the behaviours and capability of people across different levels within the organisation. It could take as little as two weeks to create a capability framework, using HCD and selecting an engaged team of people.

If you don’t transform the aspired capability of your people, you may be missing one integral piece of the puzzle.