Widening the Lens: Are employees your only talent?
It’s been a blur. Lots has happened in the last two and a half years for People and Culture professionals in that time, unfolding for many of us through the view of a laptop screen. The sheer social disruption is what I think will stick in my memory when I look back, coupled with the enjoyable challenge of setting strategies during a time of uncertainty.
There have been many valuable lessons learnt of course, such as the power of friendships and the importance of unity. The pandemic has taught lessons to many businesses too, in trying to survive and grow the value of supporting their employees, paradoxically it’s brought workers and their organisations closer together.
Naturally this time has risen expectations of employees, who demand the same types of flexibility their independent contractor peers enjoy, while keeping access to the multiple choice game of career development. Let them have it or lose them is how it is these days.
But the workforce of today no longer just comprises permanent workers, rather a blend of all parties that contribute to successful organisation. This of course includes on-hired labour, temps, casuals, professional contractors, and even service providers.
The rise of independent working which started to build in the Australian talent market in the last few years has continued during the pandemic, no doubt due to the taste many got for the unprecedented flexibility they enjoy provided by the relative security afforded by the skills demand in the market.
The same goes for temporary labour and on-hire workers. Sure, some work in this way for the flexibility to fit around school, other jobs, or to transition from one workplace to another perhaps as their working rights or skillsets allow. Others in this workforce using temporary roles as a steppingstone to be part of an organisation with which to grow, develop and rise – they’re wanting to be considered ‘’talent.’’
What’s more, the workforce itself is more diverse than ever and their values and expectations are being influenced by greater choices, technology, and opportunities.
THE CONFLUENCE OF STRANGLED PERMANENT TALENT SUPPLY, COUPLED WITH SHIFTED WORKER EXPECTATION IS EVOLVING THE WORKFORCE DESIGN FOR MANY ORGANISATIONS, AND IT’S BECOME CLEAR THAT INCLUDING THEEXTENDED WORKFORCEIN A WELL-THOUGHT-OUT TALENT ATTRACTION STRATEGY IS A STRATEGIC MUST-DO.
The benefits of widening the lens on who you consider talent can have a profound strategic impact in a few important ways:
- Workforce strategy: ensuring a clear and consistent understanding of organisational goals is translated across both permanent and complimentary workforces, simultaneously sharpening the accuracy of sourcing effort, and proliferating your EVP messaging to a wider audience.
- Cost: Deliberate strategies to engage the right worker type to do the task result in less reaction, and more planful engagement with agencies keeping costs under control. Invest in proactive sourcing and workforce planning to develop your own management framework.
- Recruitment process: adopting proactive sourcing to the needs of the blended workforce including the strategic utilisation of temporary worker categories and consultants focusing process and system designs on creating positive experience for all successful and unsuccessful talent.
- Organisational effectiveness: investing not just in employees but all workers who achieve outcomes for your organisation including their own career pathways, consideration for longer-term roles in your organisation or the opposite – harnessing their flexibility requirements can unlock performance.
- Experience: Building a Customer and User-experience (CX and UX) centric Talent Model to ensure onboarding, mobility, and talent management reinforces the employment proposition and deliver a positive, frictionless experience. Be easy to work with.
- Understanding your workforce: Talent analysis can inform succession planning, strategic sourcing gap analysis, diverse workforce opportunities, and create insights that lead to learning and development opportunities. Knowing their capability can unlock innovation, too.
Yet there are risks of getting it wrong. In Australia there are rules requiring classifications of contract workers, the mismanagement of which has increased activity in the legal suite and broadened the scope of the law. There’s an alarming amount of misclassification workers in Australia, putting at risk your compliance to payroll tax, compulsory super, income tax rules, and workers compensation payment requirements. And no good business wants to do wrong by the worker, or face big fines.
TAKING A MACRO-VIEW, THE RISKS AREFAR GREATER.
Lack of reach to a professional contracting workforce such as skilled trades or consultant for example can hamper your ability to gain access to expertise, innovation, and on-demand skills that you may require to develop products, manage projects, or handle excessive service demands on your teams.
A governed whole-of-talent approach will bring insights that can facilitate strategic decision making and ensure the optimal use of service providers and contractors within your extended workforce mix. Commercially speaking, understanding worker patterns, costs, and factors such as turnover can help you make informed, strategic decisions about allocation of work, selection of supply partners, and the application of legal best practice to reduce the risks associated with worker classification and compliance.
Whether the extended workforce is a handful of people, or hundreds or even thousands of people in your supply chain, gaining an understanding of how well utilised they are, whether they are being paid commensurate with their skills and experience, how well they’re performing, whether they are engaged and want to stay, or return is of course critical to their successful contribution.
Prioritising the capture of this information allows you to personalise career or assignment opportunity sharing, provide a higher touch candidate and hiring leader experience. It also allows you the insights you need to start to communicate with workers like customers, keeping them engaged in company news, opportunities, and engagement events harnessing their collective interest in your company to be part of your talent pool – while not asking them to relinquish the freedom to stay independent.
Crucially, whole of talent models preserve the culture and climate of the company they support, while enabling work to be done through finding people to blend work into their desired lifestyle, through the widest possible lens.
IS YOUR VIEW ON TALENT TOO NARROW? SWAPPING THE MICROSCOPEFOR BINOCULARS CAN TRANSFORM YOUR APPROACH TO ATTRACTING THETALENT AND SKILLS TO MOVE YOUR ORGANISATION FORWARD.