Matthew Franceschini discusses a range of factors that need to be addressed when implementing a blended workforce approach, to ensure best outcomes for all in the supply chain.
If there's one benefit that can at least in part be attributed to the skills shortage of the past decade, it is the widespread acknowledgement of the importance of talent to an organisation. Where once employees were largely considered from the perspective of headcount, there is now far more focus on who those individuals are and on the skills and experience they bring to their roles.
Talent has entered the HR vernacular. The difficulty of finding the right skills, along with increased business competition has given talent value. Organisations understand that with the right talent and the right mix of talent, they can obtain competitive advantage. This has led to good talent – wherever it may exist – being in high demand. This is evident in the growing number of organisations willing to look internationally for highly specific expertise and skill sets.
Not surprisingly given the market for skills, talent has also become transient. People don't tend to stay in one spot for long.
The case for blending
Despite the focus on talent, no organisation can afford to simply amass talent without the rigor to contain cost. The pressure to reduce costs coupled with an organisation’s obligation to increase productivity has become a constant in business, particularly in light of the global economic situation of the past five years.
Therefore, businesses are looking for more flexibility in their talent engagement models. Rather than setting head counts at the highest level to cope with peak business periods, organisations are turning to blended workforces that combine permanent employees with the supplementary support of independent professionals such as contractors, temporary staff and consultants. These flexible resources are brought in as changing business conditions dictate, such as during busy sales or production periods, or when new skills are required for a particular project.
A key requirement for blended workforce success is to take an integrated, holistic approach, tapping into permanent and contingent talent in a way that ensures a seamless pathway for the project and the organisation. There must be flexibility of engagement while ensuring governance and visibility of spend.
The blended workforce must also meet the driving need of cost reduction, or at a minimum, cost containment. Ideally you want to create a dynamic of cooperation between permanent and contingent workers, one that leads to greater productivity. Your workforce then should be managed in a way that ensures logistical ease when connecting people to projects.