I’ve been hearing a lot of conversation lately about the contingent workforce. As predicted during the Great Recession, companies are looking at their staffing needs in a much broader way. They are trying to figure out the work that needs to have a regular, full-time person assigned to it versus a contractor or seasonal employee.
I don’t believe this trend is going to change anytime soon. Which prompts a question about the best way to optimize the use of talent (whether it’s internal or external). If today’s workforce is a hybrid composed of employees and contractors, then what should a company’s hiring strategy look like? Should companies focus on hiring A-level talent? Or should they focus on recruiting B- or C-level talent and then bring in the A-team only for projects that require it.
Another option could be that businesses still focus on hiring A-level talent. When they need an extra set of hands, the contractor doesn’t necessarily have to be top notch. The role of the contractor is different when they’re an extra set of hands versus the person totally responsible for the deliverable.
This strategizing should be a regular conversation within the business. Finding talent in today’s marketplace isn’t getting easier. And the answer could have implications with the way a company delivers products and services. For example, if an organization employs B- and C- level players, this could impact customers and the front line delivery of products and services. If external consultants are brought in to create programs and/or processes, they would need to realize the capabilities of the staff they’re working with.
On the other hand, let’s say the company employs only A-players. This might change the projects that are given to consultants. Maybe the focus is less about a consultant’s expertise and more about scalability. It would not only be acceptable but advantageous to have B-level contractors. And of course, they would only do B-level work.
Now you might be saying why not have A-level talent in both places? And yes, that’s a great goal. (Taking off rose colored glasses.) Realistically speaking…everyone is not, nor will be, an A-player. That’s because, in part, companies don’t make the investment to develop people or employees just don’t have the desire. The end result? B-, C- and possibly even D-level players will be in our workplaces in some capacity.
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This also has consequences where employee rewards, recognition, and benefits are concerned. Let’s say we’ve identified our best employees (i.e. the A-team) and we’ve made sure they’re happy, engaged, and going to stay. Now what do we do with the B- and C-players? If they’re not already, they will be getting phone calls from recruiters. These employees have options too. How are they taken care of in the organization?
It raises quite a few questions:
- Where should companies place their emphasis when it comes to talent?
- What strategies exist that allow companies to hire high performing talent within their payroll and benefits budgets?
- Are employees ready and able to work in a freelancer economy?
Organizations and individuals have some tremendous opportunities available to them in the contingent workforce. It still remains to be seen if everyone is prepared to perfect the system.0