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Every aspect of business – and life in general – remains uncertain. The state and composition of the nation’s workforce is not immune from the confusion even as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates the trend toward more agile workforces. As a successful venture, your company probably already has explored the ways non-traditional talent can give you the flexibility to compete in the rapidly evolving marketplace. The question in your organization likely is not whether to use or expand a contingent worker management program, but rather how to install and implement it. As this new business model surges, your company may not be equipped with or want to invest in the infrastructure and management expertise required to capitalize on the contingent workforce.
Flexibility has become a watchword in the current business and hiring climate. Businesses are encouraged to build flexibility into their talent strategies by increasing the variety of worker types they employ. By making greater use of freelancers, contract workers, and consultants in addition to traditional, full-time employees, firms become better prepared to deal with market fluctuations. This approach assumes the nature of work will change often, and companies should be able to shift their workforce to take on new challenges. Of course, the ability to pivot manufacturing, operations, marketing, and supply chain procedures is a key component of firm longevity and success. But meeting the dynamic demands of buyers, vendors, and workers also requires companies to have access to diverse skills. Hiring workers who possess many in-demand skills and developing new capabilities among employees and contingent workers allows firms to expedite refinements to their go-to-market strategies, absorb market shocks, and take advantage of emerging trends.
The concept of “work” and “career” are undergoing a major shift. The COVID-19 pandemic may have expedited this adjustment, but contingent work is an idea whose time has come. Many workers have pivoted nicely into roles as freelancers, contractors, and part-timers. Some companies, on the other hand, must adapt quickly if they are to remain competitive in the battle for talent that will re-emerge with the reopening of the U.S. economy.
Companies always have boasted that their people are their most important asset and the source of their greatest competitive advantage. And while that may be true, for much of the last decade organizations rarely were forced to compete for talent the way they fight for customers. That all began to change several years ago, as work became more technical, collaborative, and specialized. COVID-19 has temporarily eased the talent crunch, but it already is showing signs of returning as the curve flattens and more and more states reopen. To attract and keep employees and contingent workers, successful firms of the future must approach their workforce assets strategically, building their brand as talent-centric hiring organizations.
Working from home and the other new realities of everyday life during the time of COVID-19 has exposed a lot of gray areas when it comes to employment law. Just what are the rights and responsibilities of employees and the companies they work for? While common sense should rule in most situations, there may be times when employees or employers try to take advantage of circumstances or “game” the system. Other times, companies and workers may simply not be aware of laws or regulations that govern specific situations. We created this guide to help employers and employees navigate the swirling waters of employment relationships. This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. When in doubt, always consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
With an estimated 40 percent of the U.S. workforce engaged in contingent work before the rise of COVID-19, companies already had realized the importance of agility and access to talent. Before the outbreak, more than two-thirds of American workplaces reported that they planned to increase their use of freelancers, consultants, and independent contractors. Now, with many more organizations and workers working from home, there seems to be no turning back. More than ever, companies must embrace the possibilities of a total workforce solution that includes a variety of external workers. COVID-19 has shifted the work paradigm, both in the near term while it still continues to infect the population, and later when organizations maximize productivity by building the optimal combination of all worker types.
The state of your company’s talent strategy and pipeline as at three months ago has probably been altered dramatically. At the top of your list, you probably are looking at ways to cut costs, and limit new hires currently. In light of these circumstances, your hiring program and talent pipeline may need to be rejuvenated in preparation for when the economy gets moving again. This is why you need to put your talent pipeline rejuvenation plan into action now, before the hiring frenzy begins.
The way the world has gotten work done for decades has become highly diversified across a multitude of different sources of talent. Some work is shifting toward specialization while repetitive, rules-based work is being automated. Specialization has made work more technical and markets more targeted. And over the last several years, even the way companies acquire them have become more specialized!
In our recently released whitepaper, we discussed some of the unexpected work-from-home benefits the COVID-19 quarantine has uncovered. Now we turn to some pitfalls companies and managers must navigate in order to realize all those advantages. To get the most productivity out of employees, companies should avoid making these mistakes.