Workforce transformation - AWS Cloud Adoption Framework: People Perspective

Workforce transformation

Enable talent and modernize roles to attract, develop, and retain a digitally fluent high-performing and adaptable workforce that can autonomously drive key capabilities.

Workforce transformation is the programmatic approach to identify the necessary cloud skills, the pipeline of talent that possesses and will possess these skills, and mechanisms to attract, develop, and retain that talent. When learning objectives are linked to a cloud migration or modernization roadmap, it makes it easier to identify the individuals and learning paths that are required. Beyond the talent, managers, and leaders that are required for workforce transformation, business functions such as finance and HR also need to factor learning and headcount budgeting into their annual processes. As organizations adopt DevSecOps practices as part of their cloud transformation journey, workforce transformation becomes a vital factor in their success.


An inclusive and diverse workforce with the appropriate mix of technical and non-technical skills is essential for a successful move to cloud. Amazon tries to create teams that are no larger than can be fed with two pizzas; we call this the two-pizza team rule. In that spirit, many companies, Amazon included, find success in empowering “Two-Pizza Teams” to achieve their goals.

In line with the Amazon Leadership Principle “Think Big” but start small, smaller teams promote better collaboration, which is critical when software releases are moving fast. A team’s ability to deliver software can be a differentiating factor for your enterprise against your competition. One way to start small is to embark on the previously mentioned AWS Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) to analyze your workforce’s current knowledge, skills, and interest in upskilling on AWS. With or without the LNA, you can start addressing technical skills by using the AWS Ramp-Up Guides. These guides are organized by role (such as developer, solutions architect, and system operator) as well as by solution (including containers, cost management, and data analytics).


Your HR and Organizational Change Acceleration teams can use your migration and modernization roadmap to determine the skills and competencies that are likely to be needed in the short, medium, and long term.

To increase and diversify your talent pool, consider motivating your workforce to upskill and cross-train in cloud technology domains. This may help you with your inclusiveness, diversity, and equity (ID&E) objectives by expanding upskilling and certification opportunities to those who have been historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. You can take this one step further beyond internal employees to external contractors and recruits as well.

Once you have recruited and/or upskilled employees, put a talent retention plan in place that incentivizes employees to stay with your organization. While this point may seem obvious, cloud skills are in high demand in the marketplace, and at times, organizations are caught off guard when their best talent leaves. This frequently happens when organizations do not recalibrate the employees’ newly acquired skills against a market test for compensation and culture.

Habits, mental models, and ways of working will change. It is not just technology teams that will become agile; business functions will as well. For example, some Capital Expenditure (CapEx) may become Operating Expenditure (OpEx). Small amounts of funding should be released, with more pre-agreed and easily available as experiments begin to show value. Costs should be optimized and finance staff should be proficient in using the AWS pricing calculator and other native tooling to create cost estimates that can be used in business cases. They should have a good working knowledge of relevant cloud services and understand why they are being used.


At this stage, you should undertake a proactive analysis of current workforce supply and future demand to build required capabilities and capacity to achieve business objectives. HR leaders with cloud knowledge need to be able to look at an enterprise roadmap and plan what will be required in the future, and then either upskill the current cloud workforce or attract new talent. To attract new talent, build a strong employer brand by publicly promoting your digital vision and organizational culture and use it in your recruiting strategy, social networking channels, and external marketing. Explain to internal staff future requirements and seek willing volunteers. Create skill redundancy in anticipation of friction. As cloud services lower the barrier between infrastructure and application teams, rotate staff between different teams.

ML and artificial intelligence (AI) are showing their potential in boosting individual skill management and in the talent acquisition process. Organizations can now build personalized training recommendations for employees based on digital transformation roadmaps combined with personal preferences. ML tools can help HR hire new talent, track a candidate’s journey throughout the recruitment process, and accelerate feedback to applicants.

A distributed workforce strategy should be strongly considered. Employees who are enabled by ubiquitous technology can work from multiple locations, including central offices, homes, satellite offices, and coworking spaces. This allows organizations to widen their pool of talent and take advantage of the global marketplace, while offering work/life balance and flexibility to its workforce. A hybrid model is trending as a best practice to provide balance with community and individual work options, which offers some onsite time together as a team to foster strong interpersonal bonds and spark creative interactions, and independence to work from wherever, whenever.