[PART 2] Getting Strategic in the New World of Work

Getting Strategic in the New World of Work

The new world of work. It’s already here.

Our previous article on the future of work looked at how we got here today and the biggest obstacles for change. These included a 23% increase in flexible workers over the last ten years, the consumerisation of business and advances in the technological landscape.

In this edition of our series, we’re looking into the strategic drivers of change in the new world of work, and what strategies market leaders are implementing to be at the forefront of the modern workforce. By ‘strategic drivers’, we’re talking about shifts in perception from both executives and hiring managers on how they can best engage, manage and deploy talent.

According to Ardent research, 40% of the global workforce is made of contingent workers, including Australia. As such, these strategic drivers focus primarily on the non-employee workforce, and how to get the most value out of them while providing them with an optimum experience.

To achieve this goal, we’re seeing some major shifts in the approach of business leaders including:

  • Support for remote workers
  • Blending non-traditional workers with traditional workers
  • A better ‘employee’ experience for contingent workers.

Supporting remote and virtual workers

Today’s workforce is providing more options for both employees and contractors to work from home, in transit and from satellite offices, anywhere in the world. This is primarily accomplished through advances in collaborative platforms, such as teleconferencing and virtual workspaces; however, it’s not only technology that’s causing this huge change in the workplace.

Managers are finding that employees are more motivated and productive when working from home – welcome to the new world of work. According to Dave Nevogt, CEO of Hubstaff, “remote employees stay longer, work harder, and offer better ROI over co-located employees. The freedom to work from when and where you want is one of the most desired benefits employees have — it helps us keep our attrition rates low”. This trend is firmly cemented into the lives of millions around the world, with a study by IWG finding that 70% of the global workforce is working remotely at least one day a week.

A large international tech company, managed by CXC Global, has embraced this model. This company is a leading IT service firm, providing solutions to complex technical problems. 90% of their workforce is field contractors, who usually reside in India. Through an established job distribution platform that allocates tasks to the contractors, coupled with CXC Global’s contractor management services, they provides an efficient and quality service around the world.

Blending traditional and non-traditional workforces

Businesses are increasingly understanding the benefits of blending their permanent employees with their contractor staff. This practice involves integrating both types of employment into the same talent pool, and sometimes physical location.

According to Ardent Partners, 22% of businesses have already developed a ‘cultural integration strategy’ to blend full-time workers and contractors. A further 31% of businesses plan to do this in the next two years.

Rather than increasing animosity between these two groups, a blended workforce can encourage flexible options and allows for staff to undertake the employment arrangement of their choosing.

During CXC Global’s recent event, ‘The Rise of the Contingent Workforce and the Impact on the Future of Work’, we discussed in detail the reality of a blended workforce. nbn’s Julie Maule, who has worked extensively with CXC Global, outlined how this works in practice in her own organisation.

Julie has helped nbn to achieve optimal productivity by applying a holistic, integrated approach to the management of permanent and contingent workers. Achieving this blend has played a critical role in workforce transformation and consolidation.

Employee experience in a world of contingent workers

One of the most pressing challenges facing many organisations today is how to engage with non-employee workers. Nearly all Human Resource managers understand the importance of the employee experience for their permanent workers, but this has been historically lacking for other types of employment.

We have found three factors to keep in mind when engaging with contingent workers:

  • Communication: the likelihood of contract workers being offsite for a large part of their work time can be high. In this scenario, it’s necessary to communicate with them more than you would a permanent employee. The same goes for company culture – by being away from the office, businesses need to take further measures to ensure they feel like they’re part of the same company
  • Flexibility: it’s important to provide flexible working hours to your contractor workforce. Putting aside issues around co-employment risk when dealing with regular hours, contractors often chose this employment structure because of the flexibility. Make sure your non-employees are getting the same benefit from contract work that your business is getting
  • Payment: contractors depend on prompt, accurate payments, just like any employee. As they’re likely separate from your payrolling system, it’s important to ensure they get the same level of attention. If you outsource your contingent workforce management to a third-party provider, make sure they understand the importance of prompt payments as soon as your contractors submit an invoice.

These are just some of the strategic approaches that businesses are taking to adjust to the new world of work. Our next edition will focus on technological shifts, and what market leaders are doing to adapt.

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