It’s time to face facts: the future of work happened, oh, yesterday — and most companies missed the memo. See, while we were all talking about what that future could look like and where the workforce might go, the inevitable occurred: things changed, and now we need to catch up. That starts with the gig economy.
Of course, we could argue about the ongoing evolution of this talent pool, about its size and scope, but that would be futile. The gig economy isn’t going anywhere, leaving employers with few choices in the matter. It’s either adapt and thrive, by meeting people where they are in their careers, or lose out on valuable candidates to the detriment of the organization. Choosing the former over the latter, here are a few ways to get more comfortable with gigging and, ultimately, hire the best talent.
Ditch the old mentality
Part of how we got here is this pervasive idea reiterated by HR departments around the world: “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Repeated over and over again, this phrase stymied progress, with HR acting on behalf of the company instead of as an advocate for its people. HR failed in this instance by treating everybody the same despite the dynamic nature of people.
“That’s the way we’ve always done it” created a false, antiquated model that no longer suits how we work. As a result, companies need to rethink how they interact with people inside and outside the organization, including those seeking contingent or alternative employment. This can be as simple as asking “Who can we bring in?” to change the standing belief system.
Since pretty much the dawn of time (or at the very least the Industrial Revolution), work has consisted of projects. People have always been thinking about it; we just haven’t said it until recently. Consider union electricians — they might spend six months working on wiring a data center. Once the work is complete, they move onto a new gig.
A police officer may spend four or five days patrolling a certain neighborhood looking for a specific subject. After they catch that person, the officer receives a new assignment.
Similarly, a marketing team may devote weeks to readying a new campaign, and once it’s launched, they switch to something different. It doesn’t matter if the collar is blue, gray or white; one might say that all work is project- or gig-based.
Redefine career “paths”
And sure, once upon a time, people spent the whole of their adult lives working for the same company. That didn’t mean they dedicated decades to a single task. Lifelong service is no longer the norm — and “job hopping” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Consider that even the government offers a hard pass on categorizing these moves, stating, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) never has attempted to estimate the number of times people change careers in the course of their working lives. The reason we have not produced such estimates is that no consensus has emerged on what constitutes a career change.”
Why hold people to one role, department or team if their skills and experience apply to others?
Embrace a new approach
Offshore, outsource, freelance and so on — no matter how we look at it, the current landscape demands that companies become flexible and adaptable. We exist in a hyperconnected world where the top candidates get to choose when and where they work — and companies are along for the ride.
That’s why we need to build a portfolio of talent. Workers join an organization to complete a project, either moving onto another gig or remaining a contact for future opportunities. Couple this with attractive compensation and benefits, and we become more agile, more nimble and more proactive, developing and retaining a roster of qualified, engaged workers. This promotes a multidimensional talent supply chain that enables the organization to evolve along with business objectives.
Find the middle
Rather than force talent into an existing mold, one that doesn’t fit their lives, companies need to move away from a strictly long-term vision by focusing on the here and now. Because at the end of the day, there are only three worker relationships that exist: candidate, employee and alumni.
Recruiting should reflect this, providing increased transparency and creating individualized experiences. Through high-touch efforts that account for wants and needs, we’re able to understand candidates on a personal level and identify the right fit — whether that’s a matter of talent mobility or external hiring.
But all of this is a complete departure from the standardized strategies of the past and an initiative that requires increased attention and sensitivity. Whether that means implementing new technology or enlisting an external agency for support, we need to make the future of work a priority today.
William Tincup is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.