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How to embrace the fluid workforce

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by Startacus Admin

fluid workforce
Rob Hill, CRO at ProFinda, discusses the emerging fluid workforce, what this means for businesses - and how to embrace it! 

"As companies start to recognise there is a new world of work, it is time to start swotting up on the fluid workforce. This is a relatively new term used to describe the many different ways a company can hire its employees.

Rob Hill Profinda There’s full-timers, part-timers, flexible workers, remote workers, gig workers, and contractors. Hiring someone on a traditional 9-5 contract isn’t suitable for every employer or employee. Especially for start-ups where resources can sometimes be limited. Embracing the fluid workforce, therefore, is something all businesses should be considering.

Where the fluid workforce has come from

Digital innovation and digital transformation is now driving business growth. This, in turn, demands innovative organisational models that provide flexibility.

The fluid workforce is being driven by people demanding flexibility in hours worked, employment type, career adaptation and variety along with greater mobility. You probably know it already, but our workplaces are changing. The 9-5 is no longer the norm for some, nor is it something that younger generations are aspiring to. The way we view work has shifted, with the ‘rules’ of working along with it. We are entering a new era of work. But a lot of businesses are critically underprepared.

Let’s start with the gig economy...

The gig economy has got a bad rap thanks to Uber’s many court battles and Deliveroo workers’ regular strikes. But for some people, gig working offers the kind of flexibility they want in their work lives. Despite what some might say, the gig economy isn’t the last stop on the road to unemployment. There are many people out there who want to spend time studying, bringing up their family, or supplementing other work.

But not every gig worker is an Uber driver. There’s been a rise in white collar gig workers, for instance, freelance lawyers. Working in this way allows Fluid workforcepeople to balance their career aspirations with other life choices, and also prioritise work that matches more closely with their interests. Freelancing is becoming more popular, with half of UK workers expected to be freelancing by 2020.

The fluid workforce changes priorities

For organisations, this offers some pros and cons. For one, moving towards a more fluid workforce model will allow businesses to respond more rapidly to changes in their client needs, and adapt their resources more efficiently. Productivity is now the name of the game, according to a report by Bersin, and the organisations which are set to get ahead, are the ones with a more agile, team-centric set up.

Businesses are no longer made competitive by the size of their teams. It’s the companies that can respond swiftly to changing needs that have the edge. By moving towards a fluid workforce, businesses reduce a major overhead - fixed staffing costs, whilst also being able to upscale to meet urgent project requirements when needed. It takes a lot of time to find a permanent employee, but finding external contingent talent can be a significantly faster process.

The right tech is critical

That said, without the right technology in place, a fluid workforce can drain away pretty quickly. In order to make the most of a contingent workforce, businesses need to have an effective team and work management platform. That doesn’t just involve messaging tools like Slack, but also ways to engage and recruit talent when needed most.

fluid workforce This technology needs to be seamlessly integrated within an organisation’s current tech stack, processes and culture. It’s no small task. You’re not just looking at how to get Person A onto Job B, but also how to engage the workforce as a whole, how to get Person A to meet Person B and C virtually (or in person) and how to build a close-knit team when some people are on completely different continents. Of course there’s instant messaging, video conferencing and the like, but there’s also a degree of matchmaking that needs to happen. You need a complete view of all the talent available to you, and also the ambitions of your workforce (so you can place people on the projects that matter most to them).

This rings especially true for large, multinational corporations, as well as smaller businesses. If anything, in today’s competitive environment, it’s the large organisations with their legacy systems and process that are set to benefit the most from the new fluid workforce.

Businesses need to address shifting attitudes

This new era of work does require a cultural shift in many companies. But it’s not going to go away. Workers’ attitudes are changing and the traditional drives behind career development aren’t as relevant or effective anymore.

Both businesses and employees have a lot to benefit from with the fluid workforce model. It’s a win-win. People get to focus on the work that interests them, and achieve their ideal work/life balance. Businesses can drastically cut fixed costs, become much more agile, and respond to changing resource needs more efficiently. And with the right investment in the right technology, managing the new workforce will be relatively seamless for everyone."

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Published on: 6th June 2018

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