Strategic workforce planning requires a long-term view that must weigh and balance skill set requirements, automation policies, contingent working, dispersed locations, new products and services, costs and market volatility. Close to half of M&E executives (48%) cite the transformation of work as key to achieving their strategic goals.
The outbreak of COVID-19 led to mass furloughs, particularly for businesses dependent on revenue from physical gatherings. But it’s important to distinguish between expediencies to preserve liquidity and longer-term trends. Post-pandemic recovery in these sectors will likely involve a return to work locations at varying paces and scales.
Nonetheless, the pandemic will have ongoing structural effects on employment models. COVID-19 forced those who could work from home to do so. Companies soon realized that their employees are equally productive — or in some cases, even more so — when they work from home. At the same time, many employees are enjoying a better work-life balance and don’t envision themselves returning full-time to the office.
Remote models offer another opportunity. Having spent over a year investing in enabling technologies such as remote production cameras and home-based editing suites, many M&E executives (43%) see a path to increasing investment capacity by reducing or consolidating real estate and facilities.
Among M&E executives, the most preferred option (53%) for redesigning their workforce model involves flexible working practices, including a balance of on-premise and remote work. This move will address issues related to talent and skills gaps, work location and recruiting costs by making it easier for companies to source talent more broadly.
It also forces companies to rewrite their employee value proposition, which is a mix of the employee’s engagement, well-being, recognition and trust — and a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, which is a critical priority that executives noted (46%). When the value proposition aligns with employee needs and expectations, it establishes a sense of belonging among staff, which helps the organization retain and attract top talent and ultimately achieve better results.
Another focus for building resilient M&E enterprises is keeping pace with (or staying ahead of) changing talent and skills needs. Overall, 40% of executives cited this as important, but it is even more crucial in subsectors such as cable (57%) and data and information services (50%).
Failure to bridge the talent gap continues to hold companies back. Inadequate skills and training are consistently among the biggest barriers to innovation in M&E companies, according to 42% of executives, a sharp jump from 31% last year.
When accelerating talent development, developing the existing workforce and recruiting new employees with different backgrounds and capabilities are both important. The balance varies by subsector. For instance, broadcast, cable and OTT networks/services and cable companies put more weight on recruitment to accelerate the workforce transformation. Offering remote or hybrid working models will allow M&E companies to access a broader pool of talent.
However, simply going to the market to recruit new talent is only a short-term fix. In the dynamic M&E industry, the only sustainable way to keep pace with rapid change is to put in place mechanisms and a culture for employees to reskill and upskill.