The growing prevalence of worker agency and choice during the pandemic showed that, when given the chance to align their interests and passions with organizational needs, workers can fulfill their potential in ways that leaders may never have known they could, positioning the organization to thrive in the long term.

During the COVID-19 crisis, organizations did not have the time to rewrite job descriptions or meticulously map skill requirements. Instead, they were forced to make real-time decisions and redeploy workers to areas where they were needed the most, and where they had the capabilities, interest and passion to contribute. In short, 2020 has helped us understand the importance of worker potential and choice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing an explosion of creativity and the power of worker potential.


Executives have reflected on the challenging road ahead as they attempt to prepare their businesses and ecosystems for an era of continuous disruption. This preparedness depends on workforce potential. In the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, executives identified “the ability of their people to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles” as the top-ranked factor to navigate future disruptions, with 72% selecting it as the most important or second-most important factor.

In our view, the most important way that organizations can unleash worker potential is to empower them with agency and choice over what they do.


Workforce potential is not about what workers were recruited or are certified to do, or even what organizations or leaders want them to do next. It is about giving workers more freedom to choose how they can best help tackle critical business problems as organizations and ecosystems evolve.

One way to give workers more agency and choice in what they do is through “opportunity—or talent—marketplaces.” By giving workers the chance to volunteer for work they prefer and value, opportunity marketplaces highlight valuable information about workers’ interests, passions and capabilities that may otherwise remain hidden.

The deeper understanding of workers that results from worker choice can help organizations break free of the constraints of traditional workforce planning models.


Giving workers a voice in what they do also helps organizations act more dynamically and in real-time. Top-down approaches based on identifying business needs and then finding or developing the relevant skills to match will always be slower than allowing workers to self-select based on their interests and abilities.


Organizations that wish to unlock human potential should consider initiatives in the following areas:

   • Shift the supply and demand equation

   • Center workforce planning on potential

   • Drive toward real-time, dynamic action


The year 2020 witnessed an amazing display of workforce adaptability. Extraordinary circumstances uncovered the potential of workers and teams when confronted with new and ever-changing organizational problems and priorities. Now, the challenge for organizations is to develop strategies and programs for workforce development and deployment that are as dynamic and adaptable as the business problems we are trying to solve.


If you would like more information on Beyond reskilling: Unleashing worker potential, please contact the Deloitte Banking and Human Capital Leader, Pascal Martino (

And if you would like to view the full 2021 Human Capital Trends report, please download it here:

Look for our next article “Superteams: Where work happens” to learn how leaders have the opportunity to use what they learned to construct “superteams” that pair people with technology to reimagine work.


Article by Deloitte Luxembourg

Publié le 15 février 2021