Not long ago, but long enough that it can feel like “once upon a time” to many people, the enterprise-worker relationship was simple, a straight line from employer to employee. Processes, procedures, and policies were built for this straight line and talent management strategies revolved around it.
Around the beginning of the century, things began to change, slowly at first but steadily, as enterprises began including independent talent in their core workforce, many working remotely. Some business sectors like technology and professional services were faster than others to adopt the independent talent strategy. Some even took the next step and started optimizing their workforces through a purposeful mix of employees and independent workers.
The Contingent Labor Imperative
Then, in a rush during the COVID years, the change reached critical mass. As the Great Realization took hold, the formerly straight line turned into a web of talent. Today contingent labor is an integral and permanent part of an enterprise workforce. Our research, reported in The Contingent Labor Imperative, revealed that today:
- An average of 28% of the worker populations in the companies surveyed are comprised of contingent labor.
- Most corporations surveyed expect to increase to 36% over the next five years.
- 80% of companies predicted that their usage of non-permanent workers will substantially increase over the next five years.
- 91% of companies that currently have non-permanent workforces over 50% plan to grow their contingent workforce over the next five years.
- 82% of companies reported that contingent workers with high-value skills make up more than half of non-permanent workforces.
The pool of independent professionals in the US is made up of people with different work styles. The State of Independence report notes that this population is comprised of full-time, part-time, and occasional workers, including the recently established Creator Economy and on-the-road digital nomads. To gain high-value skills in the contingent labor pool, savvy companies are creating processes and procedures that streamline the engagement of any and all independent work types.
Creating the Right Environment for a Productive Talent Web
To leverage the independent workforce effectively and establish a talent web with the right skills, a company needs to put several separate but interrelated initiatives into play:
Ensure that onboarding and invoicing/payment processes for your independent talent are swift and efficient.
Establish Appropriate Policies
Define how you and your independent talent will work together through policies such as insurance requirements, cyber security rules, and work requirements for certain work types (like digital nomads).
Become a Client of Choice
Being a Client of Choice for your high-value independents creates a working relationship that motivates this talent to continue to work with you—and even to choose your projects over others they are offered.
Create a Direct Sourcing Program
Break away from staffing agencies and other sources to find independents with the most strategic skill sets. Instead, launch your own program to directly source this high-value talent.
The genie is out of the bottle, and the companies that will gain and maintain competitive advantage will be those that embrace a workforce that is a mix of worker types. If you aren’t already doing so, make the moves necessary to create a talent web that contains the skills and people that will help grow your business.