by Hema Crockett and Jamie Jacobs, co-founders of Gig Talent and authors of “Designing Exceptional Organizational Cultures: How to Develop Companies where Employees Thrive“
We’re seeing it happen day by day. What we originally thought was going to be a few weeks of time away from the office, has now turned into several months of adjustments. Many organizations are 100% remote and appear to be so for the foreseeable future. In addition, employees have had to learn how to navigate a new and unfamiliar structure.
With COVID-19 impacting organizations everywhere and in different ways, it’s important to consider the changes that need to be made on the other side of the current crisis. We’ve seen breweries convert operations and make hand sanitizer while clothing companies sew scrubs and face masks. While some changes have been larger than others, we do know that work as we’ve known it has forever been changed.
So, what should we learn from all of this pivoting and how do we build on new opportunities moving forward?
First, We Think Differently About Talent.
With so many organizations rethinking strategies and shifting business models, it’s important to be agile in the way talent is thought about and managed. This opens up the opportunity to tap into the Gig Economy. According to Forbes, 36% of U.S. workers are working in the gig economy and that number is growing at a rapid pace. For many businesses, these workers are an untapped yet critical resource.
As organizations determine their new structure and processes, gig workers can fill critical gaps without organizations needing to make a long-term commitment. So how can we think about this talent differently moving forward?
Rethink job descriptions. One size does not fit all. By breaking your job descriptions down into projects and/or tasks, you can tap into the gig economy and leverage expertise and skills for those who are amazing at their craft, creating a talent advantage in specific areas.
Think about teams differently. We know that people perform better in their roles when they are able to utilize their skills. When it comes to leading an effective team, emphasis must be put on two things, understanding how to manage (1) different tasks and (2) different people. Teams should be made up of the best people who can help the organization achieve success. Notice how we said “people” and not “employees.”
Turn the gig economy internal. When you let your own employees shine and help them focus on the tasks, projects and areas they are skilled in, business objectives are met and often exceeded. Plus, you are developing your employees in areas meaningful to them.
Then, We Leverage Consultants vs. Hiring Full-Time.
As the traditional workplace continues to change, the flexibility, choice and opportunity the gig economy provides continues to stand out. A study done by Upwork concluded that 64% of professionals who are the top in their industry are increasingly choosing to work independently. Think about the projects and interim needs your organization has. They often don’t require hiring a full-time employee and this is where independent consultants thrive, especially because most have been doing this work remotely before the pandemic.
Here are some questions to consider if you’re thinking about leveraging outside talent:
- What skills are involved for the task?
- Do we even have the internal expertise to complete a specific project or task?
- Does it require a full-time employee?
- Does it make more sense to hire a gig worker who specializes in a given area?
- Can they be brought in on an “as needed” basis?
Freelancers, independent consultants and other forms of gig workers are playing a large role.
Finally, We Stay Innovative and Embrace Change.
Growth and change are uncomfortable, however the innovation we are beginning to see is coming from organizations and teams that are embracing the unknown head-on and creating new opportunities. With access to top talent increasing more than ever, organizations have the ability to stay ahead of the curve by tapping into a diverse pool of talent to meet their specific needs. Gone are the days of the, “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset. Ask yourself, how can we stay on top? How can we think about things differently and change the way we manage talent? The talent is here, it’s available and it’s growing fast.
As work continues to change amid the current crisis, it’s important to keep the future in mind. We cannot afford to continue thinking about work in the same way. Plus, if your business model and strategy are shifting, shouldn’t your talent strategy pivot too? While we hope and pray that we may never see a crisis of this magnitude again, it’s inevitable that all organizations will face some type of crisis again in their future. It’s imperative organizations use Covid-19 as a learning experience in order to adjust how work is done.
Known as authentic, transformational business leaders, Gig Talent Co-Founders Hema Crockett and Jamie Jacobs believe that people should do what they love and love what they do. Synthesizing decades of combined experience as business and HR executives across a broad range of companies and industries, Hema and Jamie provide their vast consultant and client base with the tools and resources they need to succeed. Known as strong advocates for the Gig Economy, Hema and Jamie are sought after speakers on the evolution of talent strategy and leadership and their forthcoming book, “Designing Exceptional Organizational Cultures: How to Develop Companies where Employees Thrive” will be released February 2021.