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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.
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.
Peacetime CEO/Wartime CEO by Ben Horowitz is one of the most commonly cited management think pieces of the last decade.
With record numbers of Americans filing for unemployment insurance and many companies and public entities placing a moratorium on hiring, the once-tight labor market is suddenly overloaded with quality applicants. Stronger competition and fewer jobs make for tough sledding for recently displaced workers, but that is no reason to give up. There are plenty of companies who will survive and even flourish during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternative work arrangements, emerging industries, and government supports will provide ample opportunities for workers with the right skill sets and those who take the right approach to their job search.
The COVID-19 quarantine has shone a spotlight on the skills employees need to successfully work from home. Communication and productivity issues top the list, and Metasys has addressed these challenges in previous posts, but we have found several other psychological, professional, and collaboration hurdles remote workers need to overcome in order to avoid burnout and maintain their careers – and their sanity – during the pandemic.
With Coronavirus confining your workforce to their homes, management by walking around is no longer an option. But while your team may be working away from the office, your leadership and people skills may be more important than ever before as you guide your organization through these trying times. If you are unused to managing a remote workforce, you may want to alter your style to accommodate your most important asset.