I’ve mentioned before how today’s recruiting strategy needs three key constituents: regular full-time workforce, regular part-time workforce, and contingent workers (i.e. freelancers, contractors, consultants, etc.) Each group has a unique recruiting as well as an engagement strategy (which we’ve also talked about before).
BUY is where the company hires workers 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 high performing workers from the outside.
BUILD is when the company develops their existing workforce. The upside is that this strategy is great for employee morale. The downside is that developing a future workforce takes time. It also means having the learning and development resources available.
BORROW is using freelancers or consultants when the need arises. Not every job is a full-time job, so the positive side to this approach is getting the necessary skills at the moment it’s needed. The negative side is keeping freelancers engaged so that, when you need them, they’re available and ready to work for you.
But a couple of years ago, I heard a speaker that made me realize there’s a fourth constituent – bots. Yes, chatbots. The groups we’ve talked about so far are all human beings. Advances in technology, like artificial intelligence and bots, are allowing organizations to do things never before possible.
Maybe what organizations need to consider in their recruiting strategy 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 you 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. I’m thinking If bots were considered the fourth key constituent in today’s workforce, their role 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 while exploring the streets of Atlanta, GA25