3 Reasons a Flexible Workforce is the Answer to the Talent Gap

Work Culture

A flexible workforce offers wide-ranging benefits including cost-effectiveness, innovation and the ability to experiment and be nimble. 

BY FUTURE STATE

Recent reports verify what many of us in the business community have been seeing first-hand for months: Significant shortages in the talent market. In fact, according to a McKinsey Global Institute study, 40 percent of U.S. companies can’t fill open positions, and management and analytical talent is among the hardest to find.

An HR watchword in recent years has been flexibility: More and more workers—especially experienced business experts—demand flexible work spaces, hours and roles. Done well, fulfilling these desires can help create a more inclusive, innovative and diverse culture as it welcomes more types of workers into the fold and enables management to focus on objectives before structure. 

With the current crunch for top talent, businesses that hope to survive and prosper must learn to become more flexible and agile in how they build teams and manage projects. Relying solely on the old model of full-time employees for every role is outdated, and it slows companies down. Indeed, as Harvard Business Review (HBR) writes in the article “How to Think Differently About a Flexible Workforce,” “Companies that rely solely on full-time employees are finding they have neither the skills nor the agility to sustain success.”

At Future State, we bring a vast network of expertise to bear on every client interaction. Our project managers are highly adept at jumping into roles, helping form winning teams, and driving projects to success. Here are our three favorite reasons organizations should consider regularly seeking and hiring external talent. 

 

“Many of these independent professionals are increasingly being engaged to do strategic, high-value-add work requiring deep expertise. They can be called upon to staff high-level projects that were previously too expensive to hire employees to work on full-time.”

 

  1. Cost effectiveness: Top talent today—motivated to work on high-level projects while living and working where and when they want— is adept at delivering on high-level projects while living and working where and when they want. Staffing individuals with high expertise to deliver on specific, critical projects allows organizations to take advantage of high-level skills they may not be able to afford on a full-time basis. “Economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger found that American workers in alternative work arrangements, including temp workers, increased by 9.4 million from 2005 to 2015, a 67 percent jump,” HBR writes. “Many of these independent professionals are increasingly being engaged to do strategic, high-value-add work requiring deep expertise. They can be called upon to staff high-level projects that were previously too expensive to hire employees to work on full-time.”
  2. Innovation: Bringing outsiders into your organization—especially at a high level—brings fresh thinking, viewpoints, ideas and methodologies to your workplace. “Companies that are able to easily access and manage these workers will be able to unleash fresh energy and thinking inside their organizations, and quickly meet staffing needs when new opportunities arise,” HBR writes.
  3. Nimble and experimental: “If organizations…rely on external talent, they can tackle new opportunities, experiment more nimbly, and operate in new areas,” HBR writes. Start by looking at the work that needs to get done and the best way to meet specific objectives, rather than focusing on whether a full-time employee is available to do the work. “Procurement and legal should be prepared promote these new policies and procedures through open communication channels—becoming champions of adoption benefit to business stakeholders,” HBR writes.