We’ve talked about how today’s workforces need three key constituents: regular full-time workers, regular part-time workers, and contingent workers (i.e. freelancers, contractors, consultants, etc.) Each group involves a unique recruiting as well as an engagement strategy. Which we’ve also talked about before.
BUY is where the company hires talent from the outside. The advantage to this approach is that the organization gets fresh perspectives and new ideas. The disadvantage is that it can be expensive to attract talent from the outside.
BUILD is when the company develops talent from within. The upside is that this strategy is great for employee morale. The downside is that developing talent takes time. It also means having the training resources available.
BORROW is using freelancers or consultants when the need arises. Not every job is a full-time job, so the pro to this approach is getting the necessary talent at the moment it’s needed. The con is keeping freelancers engaged so that, when you need them, they’re available for you and ready to work.
But after hearing Jeanne Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace, speak at this year’s WorkHuman Conference, I realized there might be a fourth constituent – bots. Yes, bots. The groups we’ve talked about so far are all human beings. Technology advances, like artificial intelligence and bots, are allowing organizations to do things never before possible.
Maybe what organizations need to consider in their staffing strategies is not only what work should be assigned to full-time, part-time, or freelancers, but what work can be assigned to bots. Now before people start thinking that this will eliminate the human workforce, it’s important to realize that while bots are an important technological advancement, they haven’t been developed to the point where they can replace all human workers. If bots were considered the fourth key constituent in today’s blended workforce, the description would look something like this:
BOTS would be used when the organization has a defined, predictable, repetitive task. The plus would be that the organization would gain consistency and scalability in managing these kinds of tasks. The minus would be return-on-investment as well as the perceived loss of human interaction.
I know bots are getting mixed reviews right now, but I can see this fourth constituent being important in future staffing discussions. Organizations need to ask: Is this a full-time, part-time, freelance, or bot job? That will determine how an organization goes about finding the worker. Do they buy it, build it in-house, have someone occasionally work on it, or automate it?
The workforce is changing. Even if your organization isn’t looking at bots right now, it’s possible they will be in the future. HR and talent acquisition professionals need to be prepared for a strategic response.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the 2016 MBTI Users Conference in San Francisco, CA1