Optimizing Talent in the New Workforce

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about talent management in terms of the new workforce.  We’re starting to see the signs that the economy is going to rebound.  When that happens, the speculation centers around whether companies will go back to their old ways and just start hiring people or will the new workforce be a blend of freelancers and consultants along with employees.

As you may guess, my bets are on the latter.  At least for a few years, I think we’ll see more permatemps in the workplace.  Which prompts a question about the best way to optimize the use of talent (whether it’s internal or external).  If the new workforce is a hybrid composed of employees and contractors, should companies still focus on hiring A-level players?  Companies could focus on recruiting and retaining B-level (or C-level) talent and then bring in the A-team only for projects that require it.

Or should companies still focus on hiring A-level talent and when they need an extra set of hands, then the contractor doesn’t necessarily have to be top notch?

I wonder how many businesses are taking the time to think through their talent strategy for the new economy.  It seems to me this is a pretty important decision.  There might be implications beyond a company’s hiring strategy to how they deliver 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.  So 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 can’t you have A-level talent in both places.  Well, 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 don’t have the desire.  The end result?  B-, C- and possibly even D-level players will be in our workplaces in some capacity.

I’m interested to know where you think companies will place their emphasis.

  • Will companies decide it’s cheaper to hire B-players and bring in A-consultants?
  • Or will they make the investment to turn B-employees into A-employees?
  • Or will businesses do something else altogether?

    And, are employees out there ready for the gig economy?

  • The idea of work becoming a series of small projects (or gigs).
  • The concept that our offices might be coffee shops or kitchen tables.
  • The notion that job security is a thing of the past.

Wishing for the good old days won’t bring them back.  It’s time to prepare for the future.

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