Skills management in the extended enterprise: approach and strategies
Managing the skills of the stakeholders in an extended enterprise is of fundamental importance, given that it meets performance and competitiveness objectives. In this article, we take a closer look at the subject and discover the best practices for optimising the skills management of your customers and partners.
Extended enterprise: skills diversity, a fundamental pillar of organisational success
The concept of the extended enterprise refers to an atypical organisational method based on an alliance or partnership with a network of independent partners (suppliers, distributors, subcontractors, etc.). The aim is to add value to the market, stand out from the competition and enable the “pilot” company to achieve its commercial objectives more effectively.
The success of this method is based on fluid, harmonious and coherent cooperation in which each stakeholder must take into account the company’s culture, policies and internal procedures in order to improve the effectiveness of all the actions undertaken as part of the joint project.
In addition, the diversity of skills within an extended enterprise confers a major strategic advantage on the organisation, as it has access to a wide range of knowledge and skills that help to stimulate creativity, foster innovation and consider new perspectives with a view to adapting more quickly to changes in today’s labour market.
In 2023, in a society marked by technological and social upheaval, a company capable of responding to the opportunities and challenges it faces will ensure its long-term survival.
Skills management in the extended enterprise: how can you make the most of your employees’ full potential?
Working with various independent entities presents the ‘pilot’ company with its share of challenges. One of these is skills management, which is crucial to the success of the organisation. To achieve this, the “lead” company must be able to :
1. identify the skills required to find the best talent and exploit their potential
To ensure that the organisation runs smoothly, the ‘lead’ company needs to maintain control over strategic activities such as market research, decision-making, risk management, performance analysis and recruiting new talent to the team.
As a first step, HR managers need to carry out an in-depth analysis of the technical skills, aptitudes or know-how required to achieve the objectives set by the company. A skills map or repository may be used to list all the skills required for each job within the organisation.
On the one hand, this approach will enable the “pilot” company to anticipate its needs (current and future), and on the other, to identify talent from within or outside the organisation with a view to exploiting its potential. Identifying skills needs is of paramount importance in responding effectively to market challenges and ensuring the organisation’s competitiveness and long-term viability.
2. Plan group meetings or brainstorming sessions to exchange ideas and resources
In the context of an extended enterprise where various independent entities work together, it can be particularly beneficial to plan group meetings or brainstorming sessions, either face-to-face or remotely.
Bringing teams together gives employees the opportunity to share a convivial moment to exchange resources, knowledge and ideas. This approach gives rise to innovative ideas/solutions, solves complex problems or opens up new perspectives thanks to the diversity of skills, with a view to strengthening the company’s competitiveness on the labour market.
In addition, the planning of meetings or brainstorming sessions strengthens group cohesion and improves collaboration between the various stakeholders, where constructive exchange and sharing are encouraged. For the ‘pilot’ company, this action also helps to establish a solid retention strategy to engage, maintain and retain employees over the long term.
3. Assess your employees’ skill levels to define a training plan
First of all, before defining any training needs, you should take stock of the current skills of your partner network. This can be done in the form of a one-to-one interview or a performance appraisal by a supervisor.
Assessing employees’ skills will enable the ‘pilot’ company to accurately identify any gaps or difficulties encountered, with a view to defining a training plan in line with the company’s vision, values and business objectives.
The training of the organisation’s stakeholders can be carried out face-to-face or remotely and in a variety of formats (traditional courses, questionnaires, quizzes, games, etc.). It is particularly important to adopt a flexible approach to the content of the training programme. Skills evolve over time and need to be updated regularly. What’s more, each individual develops differently and has specific needs.
In 2023, with the increasing evolution of the digital sphere, the use of technology in extended enterprise training is of paramount importance, particularly where stakeholders are geographically dispersed. Moreover, digital technology offers the opportunity to exploit various technologies (virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, etc.) to design innovative, immersive and entertaining training programmes.
4. measure the effectiveness of the actions implemented on the company’s performance
Skills assessment, exchange meetings, training sessions, etc. To improve a company’s competitiveness, it is essential to carry out a rigorous analysis of the actions implemented with a view to adjusting the strategy and maximising results.
Regularly reviewing the established strategy and the results achieved is part of the continuous improvement process. Not only does this encourage informed decision-making, it also enables the company to remain competitive in a constantly evolving market.
In addition, a solid, concrete development plan gives managers the opportunity to concentrate on other aspects of the company’s life. On the employee side, performance analysis is a positive indicator that proves the commitment and seriousness of the ‘lead’ company in achieving its business objectives.
It also allows employees to see what works and what doesn’t, as well as motivating them and encouraging them to get more involved in the company’s projects.
The impact of the digital revolution (automation, artificial intelligence, etc.) on skills management
The advent of digital technology and the emergence of new technological tools have had a profound impact on the daily lives of businesses, which have had no choice but to make the change to stay ahead of the game and boost their competitiveness.
This transition process has accelerated in recent years with the dematerialisation of certain processes (recruitment, training, onboarding, etc.) and the introduction of remote working. This situation has prompted managers and their staff to completely reorganise the way they work.
Within an extended enterprise, the evolution of digital technology with automation systems or artificial intelligence also has an impact on stakeholder skills management, which must be constantly reassessed in order to remain aligned with the company’s values and needs. The evolution of digital technology offers companies and their employees a multitude of advantages:
- Data centralisation, giving each stakeholder instant and unlimited access to the company’s internal information and resources;
- The automation of internal processes such as the creation of reports, the planning of team meetings or training sessions, which saves a considerable amount of time;
- Effective monitoring of employees’ progress in acquiring skills, with the added bonus (thanks to artificial intelligence) of recommendations on possible development plans based on current levels;
- Customisation of the training pathway for stakeholders (virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, gamification), offering comprehensive programmes that access the individual needs of the learner;
- In-depth data analysis using skills management software, enabling managers across the extended enterprise to make informed decisions and adjust strategy where necessary.
To sum up, the skills management policy in an extended enterprise is of crucial importance. It must be part of a continuous development approach and fully integrated into the company’s organisational culture to guarantee performance and sustainability.