Too many firms are hitting a growth ceiling, but not for lack of opportunity. Businesses simply don’t have enough staff to meet existing client demands, take on new projects, and hire and onboard new employees.
What’s more, contractors may be unavailable, or businesses may lack confidence in the skill sets of available talent.
Add a sudden pandemic-driven economy and unsustainable staff productivity rates into the mix, and you’re forced to consider other avenues.
On-demand talent: a saving grace
Unplanned shutdowns, uncomfortable layoffs, remote working and ‘The Great Resignation’ have left some businesses gasping for air.
In the past, businesses used on-demand talent to bridge the gap between new hires or combat seasonal surges. But today, many companies simply can’t do without them.
A recent Harvard Business School report stated, “Covid-19 has only accelerated the move away from traditional, pre-digital-era talent models toward on-demand workforce models.”
The report also found that nearly 90% of respondents consider talent platforms to be essential to their organization’s competitive advantage.
So how can businesses maximize the benefits of on-demand platforms without disrupting the existing workforce? Here are 5 tips to help you successfully integrate an on-demand workforce.
1. Rethink the employee value proposition
Current employees may see on-demand services as a threat to their positions - especially those who’ve stayed loyal during the pandemic and consistently tracked 120% utilization rates.
This is why it’s essential to package this new framework into an attractive opportunity for those who’ve stuck by the company.
In the HBS report, Upwork’s CEO, Hayden Brown, describes a private equity firm’s approach when planning to collaborate with the freelance talent platform. He explains, “Companies should clarify how on-demand services free up time”.
Instead of running from crisis to crisis, senior managers and directors will have more time to focus on client needs. As a result, they can create an environment that expedites their path to partner.
2. Incorporate a people strategy
There is a popular idiom that moving to a new practice in another firm is easier than moving within one’s firm.
Although managers are often reluctant to lose high performers to other divisions, they should explain to both partners and staff that adapting to regular internal movement can be beneficial and offer a competitive advantage.
Instead of allocating on-demand talent to one branch or division, you can create a resource plan across divisions. In addition, choosing the right on-demand platform can fill the gaps in each division.
Creating this people strategy with on-demand support will ensure a smooth flow of internal talent.
3. Learn to compartmentalize
One in five HBS survey respondents acknowledge that finding ways to diverge projects into smaller tasks and setting more finite milestones is one of the most challenging parts of working with on-demand talent.
Director at Shell, Caroline Missen, says, “There are all types of managers who struggle to articulate what it is they want someone to do. They just know they need help.”
They may also feel a sense of urgency to do it themselves rather than teach and train their staff. This need is compounded when there are no staff to delegate the work.
Guiding staff to think of projects with the end in mind and shifting to a project-based working model can limit this type of inefficiency.
As a result, staff can better understand what parts of the process value chain can be delivered by on-demand talent. It’s also important to have clear and frequent communication with end-users around their capabilities.
Fully training new talent on client methodologies can increase speed to market and, more importantly, client satisfaction.
4. Restructure organizational policies and processes
The policies and processes that worked for a full-time or contract team are unsuitable for a hybrid and remote on-demand workforce.
Practically, human resources won’t have the capacity to handle both the incumbent and on-demand teams.
Restructuring policies and support mechanisms can help HR deliver on its mandate, encourage agile approaches and reduce organizational blockers.
Successfully implementing on-demand talent requires a direct and accountable full-time focus from an influential internal party. This is where HR partners can accelerate and increase revenue for the firm and allow partners to grow the business.
5. Align with management
According to the HBS study, there is a significant misalignment between the frontline managers and the C-suite about the effectiveness of their on-demand workforce. CEOs are generally more satisfied with on-demand models than frontline management levels.
Chief Innovation Officer at Enel, Ernesto Ciorra, admits it takes time for managers to understand and accept the benefits of on-demand talent.
HR teams tend to be even more skeptical about how on-demand talent should be incorporated into an organization. Many surveyed companies pointed to successful merging as an accomplishment despite HR and not because of HR.
There are several steps to combat this, including:
- Aligning KPIs and delivery with the client’s current structure. This ensures consistency and helps on-demand talent feel more included.
- Establishing a communication protocol. Keeping on-demand workers in the loop about the business operations ensures availability when they are needed most.
- Relying on data. To avoid discontent or disagreement, let the numbers speak for themselves. Create reciprocal feedback loops at least twice a month to close delivery gaps and address issues quickly.
- Focusing on the benefits. Using digital talent platforms improves overall speed to market, encourages fresh ideas and increases overall productivity.
An all-inclusive solution
The advantages of on-demand platforms aren’t limited to businesses. Working with a platform like Makosi allows audit and advisory departments to sell more work, securely deliver the work sold or won, and ultimately increase the client base.
It’s time to save more time and resources. Your on-demand talent force awaits.
Visit makosi.com to learn more about our scalable approach to streamlining the needs of transaction advisory practices.