Future of Work is Now: Future Proofing your Workforce

When we think about “proofing” something we think of making it durable, but also impenetrable - like weather proofing, or fire proofing - where “proofing” is meant to keep something out. In terms of your workforce, future proofing is less about shielding and more about flexibility. In the workforce of the future being flexible means being adaptable and sustainable. But what does that look like in terms of action? What steps can you take now to future proof?

What Does Future Proofing Mean?

To answer this we first have to admit that the workforce is changing, and will likely continue to change and evolve for the foreseeable future. Why? Because technology plays an ever increasing role in how and where we conduct business. Brick and mortar institutions are now investing in greater online presences and employee geography is becoming less relevant as more jobs move to remote working models. Aside from location, the needs of our businesses are in a constant state of flux as new tools and softwares are consistently updated and deployed creating new techniques that need to be mastered in order to keep up.This is a good place to zoom in on the point. Keeping up with the changing marketplaces and the wider internet landscape is priority one. And there are two paths to approaching this:

  1. Try to find employees that have a varied set of skills and can accomplish a wide range of tasks with high proficiency.
  2. Hire a core staff for your consistent functions and supplement with a strong contingent workforce when you need to.

We are definitely in favor of option two. Finding quality employees can be challenging without trying to find a full team of all-around mavericks. The future of the workplace isn’t just contingent - it’s heavily based on a gig economy with workers as a collective leaning more heavily on contract work and freelancing.

Culture is King when Future Proofing your Workforce

Your mission statement is not just for looks. Creating foundational goals and embedding them into your company messaging and culture is a solid way to start as it sets the tone for your expectations but also if you follow a contingent workforce model, it’s going to be read a lot more frequently. There’s an adage, “practice what you preach”- mission statements always sound good and mean well but have no value unless they are upheld.Step one? Create clear messaging and extend it to your onboarding. Working with contingent teams means more people coming through your digital doors that need to quickly align to your company’s values. When done right, there are “countless studies showing that many team members report a higher level of satisfaction with a more flexible work life.” And contingent teams provide this. How? By reducing the strain on existing employees to learn complex skills to complete a project, reducing the workload of high-achieving employees who are more likely to burn out, reducing employee turnover, and increasing the timeline for scalability, feature releases, and developments.If contingent workforces sound too good to be true - then pinch yourself because you aren’t dreaming - though there are new methods to managing these types of teams.

Managing Expectations for a Contingent Workforce

Let’s talk about managing expectations, not just for business owners and managers but also the expectations of the workforce you employ. With a combination of core and contingent teams ironing out communication and obligations is important. Your workers may not be in the same location, or the same time zone, so creating a clear expectation of check-ins, meetings, and general communication platforms helps combat the lack of physical proximity - and it can be very effective.Defining project leads and department heads is also important - just because you are working with a combined team doesn’t mean you are trading in every ounce of structure. Now we get to the big topic - managing contingent teams specifically - how do you control contract workers? The easy answer is to partner with a company that can not only assist with management, but help you source vetted talent for your projects at the start. If you choose to hire and manage independently then managing expectations starts with a contract, and follows through with good communication and a clear timeline.

The "New" Traditional Employee

“The model of the traditional hiring funnel: recruiting, interviewing, screening, hiring, and training team members is a plan that is costly in both time and money.” [Read More]Hiring is challenging. Hiring consistently for contingent needs transforms hiring from a necessity into a service. This is a mindset shift to consider. Wipe away your notions of temp agencies and part-time employees because contingent workforces are a horse of a completely different color. Third-party providers are extremely common, we outsource things like contact forms and CMS, advertising, and payment providers, etc. So considering talent sourcing as a service makes a lot of sense when you consider how other elements of your company and website are already structured.The pool is also much deeper. Consider what employees want; flexibility, interesting work, and a little autonomy. The amount of skills, certificates, and specializations that could benefit your company are numerous but so are the employees looking for projects. The future of the workforce is collaborative, an exchange of talents, ideas, and services that doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The tricky part about a high speed, expansive workforce is that it can be a challenge to get your bearings. We’re pretty good at navigation. Curious to see what the future of your workforce looks like? Reach out to us today to get started.