Amidst the uncertainty of the past two years, one thing has become clear: expectations of “good” work have changed. Previously, most people would have been content with a steady job that offered them the lifestyle they wanted. You would likely join an employer and stay there for decades, climbing the career ladder.
This no longer rings true, as a myriad of career options have become available to workers in recent years and the Covid-19 pandemic has made people rethink what people expect from their employers. More than half (58%) of workers say the pandemic has caused them to rethink their work/life balance.
Knowledge and skills leaving your workforce
Of course, there’s the Great Quit, which causes employees to quit their employers in droves. Almost a third of UK workers plan to change jobs in 2022. Older workers are also taking early retirement, causing a “brain drain” in many industries where their decades of experience are not easily replaced. Then there is the job mismatch — there are not enough workers with the right skills, and in the right places, for the roles available.
People are also leaving the permanent workforce entirely to start their own businesses or start working for the gig economy. More than 4 million UK workers are now working for gig economy platforms at least once a week. More than tripled in the past five years. This has enormous consequences for employers. It’s time to rethink the traditional composition of the workforce and the human resources and talent management processes that surround it.
The hybrid becomes commonplace
A hybrid workforce will become the norm. As Sandip Patel, Managing Director of IBM India and South Asia, explains, “…There will be structural changes under a hybrid workforce that mixes in-person employees with virtual employees. It’s a struggle for skills and talent that will drive business and talent models…and gig workers are sure to have a prominent place in the future workforce.
It requires rethinking everything from talent acquisition and management to development and culture.
Train the best teams
The best teams will not always be made up of permanent employees. Indeed, to get the job done, you won’t always need to hire for a permanent position. Instead, work can be divided into tasks and projects and assigned to the best person for it. This approach allows an employee to work on extended assignments and tasks in other departments, a gig worker to temporarily work on a project, automation to perform certain tasks, former retirees and semi-retirees to return for a short time, and Suite.
The advantages of the hybrid
This is the kind of flexibility that today’s workers demand from their employers. More … than half of workers want to work more flexibly. It also allows people to focus on areas of work that interest them and match their skills. People are increasingly looking for opportunities to work on things they are naturally good at 58% workers saying it’s important to them.
A hybrid approach also enables greater organizational agility and performance. Costs can be optimized, as gig talent can be recruited during times of high demand without ongoing talent costs when that demand drops later. Skills are also being used more as people work on the tasks and projects that best match their current abilities.
Improve the skills of your extended enterprise
To get the most out of this approach, constant upgrading will be required – from everyone within the company. Employee training is commonplace, especially for compliance and to help them become better at their current roles. However, it will also be useful to keep members of the extended enterprise (such as contractors and alumni) informed of the latest company news, product knowledge, and skills needs. This means that when demand increases and a temporary worker needs to be brought into a project, the process will be much faster because they already have a certain level of skills and knowledge.
Of course, providing such development opportunities will help build your organization’s reputation as an employer of choice. If people see that they can develop their skills working with you, they’ll stay longer (as a permanent employee) or prioritize your projects (as a temp).
Add opportunities to the workday
Another avenue to explore is to provide experiential learning that allows permanent workers to explore their career interests and learn new skills more quickly. This can help retain them longer in your workforce as they can explore their passions through projects in other departments and teams.
Providing experiential learning opportunities will also help employees develop their skills and apply their theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting. Extension assignments, temporary deployments, volunteering and peer teaching provide the opportunity to practice learning in a physically and psychologically safe environment (providing peace of mind for learners and employers). It can help improve someone’s skills quickly, preparing their business in a shorter time frame than just theory-based learning.
Different data needed
Moving to a hybrid approach will require different data and information than what you typically collect through an HCM (human capital management) or ATS (applicant tracking system) system. They can provide initial data on a person’s skills when they work for your organization, but for the data to be useful to you in the long term, you need to continuously collect data on each successful project completed, learning in course and the manager or peer feedback. This is especially important for organizations that use temporary talent, as a contractor may work on many different projects and for several different departments or clients, so their skills and experience will always evolve.
Collecting data on all the different ways people work and building their skills will help you match them with the best projects and tasks for them. Plus, asking them to think about their career and work on a monthly or at least quarterly basis will ensure that you can provide them with work that matches their career goals and interests.
There has been a huge global shift in everything we do and work is a big part of that. It’s no surprise people are rethinking their relationships with their careers when our whole lives have been turned upside down in a matter of months. Instead of seeing this as a disruption to your organization, see it as a chance to change things for the better. By creating work and career opportunities that better meet the needs of your people and creating a more agile and successful workforce.