3 Tips to Building a Dynamic Workforce for a Competitive Edge

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(This is a guest post by Terri Gallagher of Gallagher and Consultants. If you’d like to learn more about the new workforce landscape, join us on Tuesday, October, 9th at 1:00 pm EST / 10:00 am PST for a 1-hour live webinar called “Death of the Gold Watch” – Rise of the Gig Economy and the New Worker. Click here to register.)

The rise of the gig workforce (a catchall for anyone outside the traditional workforce model; freelancers, independent consultants, contractors, temporary or contingent workers and crowd sourced) has changed how, why, and where we work. We continue to struggle to capture exact numbers on the rapid growth of the gig workforce per Nation1099’s Freelance Study. A new term “the side hustle” is not just for millennials (50% participating currently), now baby boomers are the fastest growing participants; 24% have a side hustle to mitigate the retirement crisis and lack of cushion.

We are shifting from primarily full-time employees to a more dynamic ecosystem of talent from multiple sources. Talent Strategy is #1 as a competitive differentiator and the lifeblood of your organization. It’s why we are seeing an explosion in talent acquisition technology built and designed to not only source and vet talent, but engage them, retain them, and turn them into brand ambassadors so they tell their smart friends how happy they are and come work for your company.  "Companies who want to build agility, efficiencies and strategic advantage can’t afford to disregard the skills and expertise of flexible workers,” says Katrina Hutchinson Oneil Group Head of Resourcing and Talent at StepStone.

The modern and competitive enterprise understands these shifts and will go beyond traditional models of sourcing from staffing and consulting firms to embrace multiple channels to build their dynamic workforce.

Following are a few tips to get you started…

Embrace multiple channels and types of workforce; Permanent, Independent Consultants, Contractors, Temporary or Contingent Workers, and “Crowd and Cloud” sourced talent.

The old paradigms of hiring a full-time workforce who move up the ranks to retire with the gold watch is over and that is not a bad thing. The new paradigm is a mix of legacy permanent employees paired with an ecosystem of fluid talent who chose to work this way; because of the flexibility, control and freedom to pursue what excites them.  Embracing different types of talent allows organizations to cast the “widest net” to find and engage the best and the brightest. Some of your top talent will ONLY be found in non-traditional populations. This flexible ecosystem of talent also allows an organization to remain agile to meet changing market demand, cyclical hiring, and other business fluctuations that normally occur.

Technology is your Friend – Use it.

Technology is the delivery system and portal for you to access and onboard this dynamic workforce. It can source, curate, vet and deliver top talent on demand. It can manage candidate relationships, scan social networks, assess skills, and provide analytics for your workforce. Technology removes the repetitive and tactical tasks to elevate the role of “The Humans.” The good news is this technology is cloud based and doesn’t require major implementation or dedicating your over-scheduled technology team to implement. It can be white labeled to fold seamlessly into your other HRIS systems. Technology also enables speed and agility when acquiring talent.  This approach provides a win/win for your procurement department who is focused on cost and commoditization and The Field and HR who are tasked with finding and onboarding the best talent.

Speaking of “The Field” Listen to them and use a Bottom up Approach.

Many companies began using on-demand talent and gig workers because someone from the business came to HR with talent they found through these avenues and wanted to adopt this strategy. HR or Talent Acquisition would then champion the solution through the organization and would implement a pilot across a few business units and it takes off from there. With any strategic initiative, a top down approach is challenging to gain adoption and it doesn’t fit how organizations get work done today.

What will your future state organization look like in this new normal of work? The way we work today is about people first and how to find, source, attract and retain the best talent. Today’s modern enterprise is about co-creating rather than managing. Organizations are flattening, it’s about self-directed teams and autonomy to ensure a thriving and productive workforce. 

Having a dynamic workforce strategy works for both sides of the equation; the organizations who need this talent, and the talent participating. No Gold watch needed.