How to build a successful on-demand workforce for 2022

In today’s business world, success is determined by having the right talent in the right place at the right time. Companies can improve their ability to compete in a period of technological transformation, demographic upheavals, and economic instability.

They can do this by implementing a flexible work model. Their flexible people management plan can be a dynamic force that helps them improve their competitive strategy.

A few of the world’s most successful companies are rethinking their entire strategy to attract and keep people. They’re adopting more flexible, hybrid workforce models. These models allow them to scale up or down their access to specialized, highly skilled personnel as needed.

Over the last five years, the expansion of digital technology platforms has allowed businesses to experiment with hiring freelancers. Thus, creating a new on-demand workforce model.

The shift away from old, pre-digital talent models and toward on-demand labor models has been hastened by Covid-19.

The Project on Managing the Future of Function at Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group polled almost 700 top business leaders at U.S. enterprises.

The poll was to better grasp the transformative potential of the on-demand workforce in the future of organizations and how they will work.

In addition, they conducted in-depth interviews with representatives from both the talent platforms and the businesses that employ them. The primary aim of the interviews and survey was to learn more about the prevalence of new talent platforms and how they are used.

The research focused on how businesses used digital talent platforms, like Upwork to find highly competent workers with a four-year college diploma.

The Key Findings

As the researchers dug deeper into how companies were using digital platforms to reach highly talented individuals, they found the platforms helpful across many tasks in companies. But the use of such freelancers is also widespread.

Long-term and short-term work arrangements, strategic and tactical work arrangements, specialized and generalized work arrangements were all used.

The study uncovered a surprising contradiction. Most firms were substantially using these digital talent platforms and knew their potential to revolutionize the organization. However, they still use them to address high-skills gaps quickly.

Few businesses have created a consistent strategy for incorporating highly competent freelancers into their operations. Only a few firms have investigated the alternative sources of value and growth opportunities that freelancers could provide for their businesses.

As they contemplate the prospect of change, the question is; how can we maximize the value of on-demand, highly skilled staff to boost our competitiveness?

  • From 2009, the total count of digital talent platforms has increased from 80 to over 330.
  • More than a third of corporate leaders said they use new talent platforms substantially, while another third said they use them moderately.
  • Nearly half of those polled predicted that their use of new digital platforms would skyrocket in the future.
  • Nearly 90 percent of business leaders said talent platforms would be somewhat or extremely critical to their company’s future competitive advantage.
  • Accessing highly talented people using new digital talent platforms helps users enhance speed to market, productivity, and innovation, according to 40 percent of users.
  • Only a few firms have leveraged new digital talent platforms to improve the performance of existing business models and to innovate and establish whole new future agile, talent-light company models.
  • Many executives (60 percent) believe it is very or somewhat likely that their core personnel will shrink in the future and that they would increasingly prefer to borrow, rent, or share talent with other businesses.

 Final Thoughts

To create a blended, on-demand workforce model, companies need to refocus on staff value propositions.

They can do this by redefining how new talent platforms might benefit the employees. Companies can also redefine work into discrete components that internal or external contributors can tackle.

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