What if companies had no permanent employees? But they still had access to all the world's talent?
I don't think that's an unrealistic vision of for the future of work. More and more people are choosing to become freelancers to maintain flexibility and get access to varied, interesting projects.
Technology and the increased access to professional tools - everything from marketing platforms to coding - is enabling a new wave of specialists and generalists to work on their terms. It isn't all rosy of course.
Challenges associated with new workforce models
With the new world of work comes new challenges:
- A decrease in the stability that comes from more traditional employment models
- Fierce person to person competition to land projects and assignments
- Growing concerns about the gig economy and the negative impacts on basic hourly rates
Where there is a challenge, however, there is an opportunity.
How organisations can benefit
Organisations are consistently striving for creativity, for diversity, for new ideas, new products, new services. Consistently looking for 'the best talent'. Almost daily we hear about the rise of the social enterprise and the quest for meaningful work and purpose.
New case studies are published regularly highlighting efforts to engage and empower employees. I believe these are all noble goals, but I don't believe these goals can be fully met by traditional employment models. A few questions I am pondering on (there are many more) include:
- If we have 'ownership' over people (the permanent employee) can we ever truly create work that moves them?
- If our engagement efforts are focused on our permanent staff are we ever going to be truly diverse? (Leaving our contractors, freelancers, partners and collaborators behind)
- If we want access to an infinite pool of the world's talent, why then do we spend time employing a finite group of people?
For organisations to face the future of work in the right way it's going require a more focused, hybrid approach. Employers must begin to utilise a blend of employment types that will enable stability and flexibility, creativity, standardisation, thinking and doing.
It won't be enough to have this blend. It will need to be fully harnessed using the best possible tools and platforms available. Only then can we enable socio-centric collaboration, new leadership models that embrace more avant-garde thinking and an ability to deal with the complexities of different contracts, different modes of employment, and a multitude of differing schedules and working hours.
The size of the prize for organisations is big. Creating a workforce model enabling deep collaboration and social inclusion. Time to start dreaming.
The Cpl Future of Work Instituteis an initiative that explores, questions and helps design future work solutions with our clients, partners collaborators and candidates.
We conduct research, workshops and engagements across 7 core areas: Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Technology, Employer Proposition, New Workforce Models, Creative Leadership, Government & Regulatory, Future Skills.