As the digital age continues to evolve, organizations must rapidly adapt to meet the needs of the marketplace. One such shift is the rising complexity of building, managing and scaling a high-performing, multifaceted workforce. According to research from Georgetown University, by 2020, an estimated 55 million jobs will become available or created, but there aren’t enough younger workers with education and skills to fill the gap created by those retiring out of the workforce. The report anticipates a shortfall of 5 million qualified workers.
This is one example of many competing disruptions that may force organizations to seek alternative work arrangements. As a result, leaders will have to develop creative ways to fill the growing gap for talent. Leaders must realize that it is more than just updating new job descriptions and hiring these new types of employees into your organization. Doing so without intentional planning can cause havoc and confusion in your organization, which can impact productivity, retention and, ultimately, the bottom line. Here are five ways to build and manage a mixed workforce.
1. Take an agile, incremental approach to workforce planning. Long gone are the days of relying on annual or biannual workforce planning activities. While every industry reacts differently to the speed of technological advances, it is important to know the key drivers of your company’s sector and be prepared for disruptive shifts in your market in a way that aligns with your company’s culture.
2. Understand the motivating drivers of each employment type and multigenerational needs to create relevant career journey frameworks. The career management needs, rewards and motivations of an aging full-time employee seeking a path to retirement are different from those of a long-term freelancer or a temporary millennial gig worker. Build out career journey maps for the various workforce segments of your organization that tailor how talent development, learning and rewards are created and delivered.
3. Identify gaps in internal business processes from the front of the house to back office that could impact talent experience. Work with various key stakeholders — including employees —across the organization to identify and prioritize current breakdowns with internal business processes that could be further impacted with a mixed workforce. Determine how to address those business process gaps to maximize talent investments.
4. Develop an end-to-end, multilayered talent management approach. Make sure your talent management strategies take into account how each employment type fits into the broader corporate strategy and governance model. Integrate these strategies into key talent processes, such as recruitment and performance management.
5. Educate your front-line managers and supervisors on the nuances of working day to day with a mixed workforce. While executive leadership teams may understand the business case for recruiting and developing a mixed workforce, the true test of retention will rely on their day-to-day experiences. Front-line managers must be educated on how to effectively lead mixed teams in ways that convey an understanding of how to balance different employment types.
Finally, leaders must make sure to weigh the pros and cons of a mixed workforce, including taking into account any hidden costs.