What are the Contingencies of the Future of Work?

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Charles Abramo

Future of work contingencies

The workforce of the future is a topic that has been heavily analyzed for decades and a hot topic of discussion in recent times. There is no shortage of content on what work will look like in 5, 10, 15 years and beyond. Some of the analyses of the future are consistent with one another while others have come to different conclusions.  Regardless of the analysis, the contingencies we need to accomplish to achieve the ideal workforce of the future has little dialogue.

As a society, we have a tendency to focus on the end; end of TV shows, movies, books. We want to know what the result is, and we have become an “endgame” type of society. Essentially, only looking at the result stops us from enjoying the journey and, at times, impedes innovation and efficiency.

The stock market is more volatile than ever, resulting in companies being forced to rethink their payroll more frequently than in years past. Organizations have become heavily skilled at ramping their workforces up and down in record speed. The need to be agile and reflect the current market landscape puts companies in the position to alter their headcount more frequently and to have the technology and resources to do so.

The workforce of the future is exciting, new and innovative. To get to that state, we need to accomplish a few things on a grand scale, meaning we need to find solutions that can be applied across multiple industries, various company sizes and in a cost-effective manner. Below are five things that will help organizations get to the Holy Grail: the workforce of the future.

More Flexibility with How People Work

The infamous Gig economy has brought on a record number of people categorizing their employment as ‘contract’ (or more colloquially known as “1099s”). Select companies are seeing an all-time high of their workforce being categorized as something other than a full-time employee.

Listed in the alternative employment classifications are freelancers, contractors, temporary associates, seasonal employees and part-time employees. Companies have started to spread their workforce into other categories to help match the everchanging economy. These other employment statuses allow for more flexibility when you need to scale back or increase labor costs. 

Subsequently, this allows workers to cater work to their lives and personal situation. 

Talent Platforms for Non-Permanent Employees

With the rise in alternative employment statuses (contractor, freelancer, temp), a need has been developed for a better platform to house candidates who are not seeking the typical direct employment.

Right now, if a company is looking for support outside of a direct hire, there are two common ways to find that talent: Google search and referrals. Both avenues do not tend to yield the best talent, but the talent with the best marketing skills.

READ: Talent Management 360: An Evolving Approach to Talent Part 1

There is a need for a more universal platform to house individual’s specific skills, portfolios, and past project work. LinkedIn seems like an obvious choice but the functionality to really evolve, isn’t present.

Current practices to find such talent keep us insular to our personal bubbles and don’t expand out to find the best talent.

Better User Interface with Open Market Benefits Purchasing

As the Gig economy takes off and contractors become more of the norm, it forces workers to find benefits (particularly health insurance) on the open market.  This process is expensive, cumbersome, and not user friendly.

In the future, a solution to resolve this will be necessary to help families obtain low-cost insurance while entering in and out of various employment statuses. The alternative is future legislation tightening the rules around companies not having to provide medical benefits to contractors.

In the past week, the UK passed legislation forcing companies like Uber to turn their drivers from contractors to employees. This was a milestone move that was close to being passed in October 2020 in California.

Quicker Onboarding and Assimilation Times

Studies have shown that effective onboarding programs take about three months for a new employee to get assimilated to a company. Those same studies argue that the first year should be reserved as a learning experience and extended onboarding time for an employee to truly learn the company, the team and their role.

Companies will need to work diligently to lessen this timeframe to meet the need of a world that is outpacing itself. Employees will need to get up to speed quicker without losing the quality of a successful onboarding. This includes learning the culture, learning the role and making an impact.

Think about the different processes within your company that are more efficient and quicker than they were five years ago. I imagine “onboarding” was not on that list. Companies need to utilize the research that is out there to understand adult learning and how to get new players up and running if companies ever want to be prepared for what the future has in store for them.

Prioritization of the DEI Function

2020 was a record year for the DEI function. It was sparked by severely unfortunate events that drove companies to look at the function with more importance and more urgency. Despite the great work that is being done, it is evident that we are still in the early stages of that journey.

More than anything, companies need to prioritize this function with more speed. Unfortunately, there are some companies that need to get on board entirely. There is no reason why large organizations do not have a DEI function supporting their business in 2021. Period.

What we can all agree on is that the world is changing. For society and business to effectively accept that change and embrace it, we need to be willing to prepare ourselves for it; and that means changing the way we see some common practices like employment, how we interact with talent and onboarding.

The above items are certainly not an exhaustive list but if we want to continue the dialogue around what he future looks like, we need to simultaneously talk about what it will take to get us there.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish,” as they say.

Talent Management: A Guide for HR

Talent management continues to be one of the top focuses for HR departments all over the world. Why? It is a commitment from an organization to recruit, hire, retain, and develop employees. In our guide, the HR Exchange Network explores the topic in more detail, looks the current state of affairs, strategies, why you should invest in talent management and provides a forecast into what to expect in the coming years.

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