If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that companies need to be able to adapt quickly. According to IBM, 55% of organizations made permanent changes to their organization strategy during the pandemic, and 87% are prioritizing enterprise agility over the next two years.
With many companies worried about the Great Resignation – a predicted mass exodus of employees from their roles after the uncertainty of the pandemic settles down – I’ve been asked a lot about whether a dynamic workforce strategy could be the solution.
According to the latest McKinsey research, one of the drivers of the Great Resignation is a growing divide between workers and the C-suite. While the majority of employers believe that the primary center for work post-pandemic will be the office, the majority of employees desire a more flexible working model moving forward.
Without taking the time to hear what employees are looking for and committing to trialing and implementing more flexible working models, I can already see the writing on the wall. Employers risk plummeting morale, satisfaction and productivity, not to mention employees who quickly begin to look elsewhere.
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The Potential of a Non-Payroll Workforce
One meaningful solution is to transition your workforce into a small core staff of dedicated employees, augmented by what I like to think of as a talent cloud. Your core staff works on strategy and manages direction, and this vision is practically executed via a niche, skilled freelance economy that’s growing all the time. Imagine a smaller full-time workforce with more responsibility and trust. They oversee your contractors, who are in turn empowered with flexibility, autonomy and choice over what projects they take on, the compensation for their time, and the location from which they work.
For your business, this enables a critical shift in mindset. Today, management looks into the existing workforce of employees and asks, “Whom do I have in my workforce who can take charge of this project or strategy and get the best out of it?” It’s a very limited perspective. In a more agile workforce, decision-makers are not narrowed down to a specific pool of workers from which to draw talent – they can look anywhere for the best freelance candidate available for the job at hand and then cherry-pick employees to manage and supervise output and performance. By scaling up and down as needed for specific projects, companies can also streamline operational costs, paying for the human capital they need when they need it.
The dynamic workforce becomes a win/win. Your core employees gain more responsibility and seniority in-house, improving retention and turnover. At the same time, your organization benefits from a limitless pool of quick-to-onboard independent contractors that are motivated, uniquely skilled, cost-effective, and experienced for the job at hand.
Empowered with a Proactive Approach to a Dynamic Workforce
Today’s organizations have an opportunity to move from a mentality of “adapt or die” to “adapt and thrive.” Creating a flexible and dynamic workforce doesn’t have to be a response to the pandemic or a reactive strategy in fear of a trend like the Great Resignation. Instead, I believe that we will see a strategic shift to increased agility by companies leveraging disruption to make their businesses simultaneously more resilient and more skilled.