Adaptation and the Changing World of Work

Posted by Christopher Dwyer on March 8th, 2017
Stored in Articles, Complex Categories, People, Process, Strategy, Technology

H.G. Wells’ “adapt or perish” adage, now more than ever, is the contemporary business’ inexorable imperative. As heightened global competition for market share has created extraordinary pressure to execute seamlessly, executives need new, more adaptive strategies and approaches to propel it to the next level of performance. The winners will be the agile organizations that can leverage their strategic prowess and fluid resources to anticipate and support dynamic business requirements amidst the more rapid changes in industry, markets, and customer behaviors.

Agility is the characteristic that will help enterprises advance and thrive in this new age where innovation continues to expand beyond mere products and services to core business processes and entire business models. If this new realm of agility will be the norm, it all begins with talent. The “new world of work,” pushed forward by an increasing reliance on non-employee labor, the need for new talent, and the overarching pressure of the “gig economy,” is actively forcing businesses to shape talent engagement and management strategies around the notion of adaptation.

There are several key approaches that contemporary organizations are actively leveraging to adapt to a new environment and business culture. The very foundation for contingent workforce management in 2017 looks markedly different than in years past; while most organizations can still drive tremendous value from various “traditional” approaches (i.e., proper spend management or supplier management strategies, blended procurement and HR competencies, etc.), there is an additional layer of complexity on top of years of leveraging non-employee talent.

  • A transformation in executive thinking. Sixty-three percent (63%) of organizations are currently rethinking how enterprise work is addressed. This shift, which is essentially digging into the very core of every corporate project and initiative and questioning legacy directions, represents perhaps the most considerable transformation in today’s business world. Executive leaders are actively reshaping how work is done across the enterprise, understanding that, in order to produce a successful result, the required talent could come from any one of several forms (freelancer, independent contractor, gig worker, etc.) and does not need to be situated within the realm of traditional, full-time workers.
  • Embracing on-demand staffing and real-time talent. On-demand sits at the very core of today’s non-employee workforce, supporting the evolution of talent engagement and the very progression of CWM programs across the globe. Nearly 60% of enterprises are embracing on-demand/online staffing (social networks, online talent platforms, etc.) as a means of adapting to a new world of work; this new grip on fresh sources of talent proves that enterprises are promoting the quality and depth of their talent supply chains, pushing the utilization of new outlets of expertise to drive real business value.
  • Promoting self-sourcing of talent. For years, the legacy approach towards contingent workforce sourcing followed a decades-old tactic: utilize a “middleman” or intermediary to fill open positions or project-based roles. While outlets within this arena, such as staffing suppliers/vendors, actively play a key role in fill in these scenarios and will never fade away (especially for those businesses that require an absolute “human touch” to their recruiting), more and more businesses are striving to own a direct relationship with its talent to not only reduce the time to fill open roles and project positions, but to also enhance control over the “match” between non-employee workers and the requirements of various enterprise initiatives.
  • Improving the “talent experience.” One of the more interesting components to the evolution of the non-employee workforce lies not within innovation or technology, but with the strategic shift in thinking discussed above. This new approach promotes the enterprise’s brand and how it appeals to a new cross-section of workers. As yet another by-product of the gig economy, enterprises are beginning to strategize around the “talent experience,” which is the actual, real experience of contingent workers and freelancers within the enterprise, from interactions, collaborations, project support and management, and exposure to enterprise leaders, as well as tactical experiences (payment, financial aspects, etc.). Today’s businesses are concerned about the brand’s appeal to new talent in a similar fashion as it is to the consumer world, and, in an age when non-employee talent is critical to achieving core enterprise objectives (and with a consistent “war for talent” raging across businesses), this new line of thinking is another indicator of the evolution of engagement.

If you enjoyed today’s article, make sure to download our new State of Contingent Workforce Management: Adapting to a New World of Work research study. This modern guidebook highlights new market trends within the contingent workforce industry, highlights the progression of innovation within the non-employee workforce technology ecosystem, and discusses how the “future of work” is a concept in which all organizations must prepare for in the months ahead.


The State of Contingent Workforce Management: Adapting to a New World of Work

Contingent Workforce Weekly, Episode 130: Digging into the “Future of Work”

Contingent Workforce Weekly, Episode 118: Adapting to a New World of Work

Tagged in: , , , , , , ,

Share this post