“Be Prepared!” That Boy Scout motto is ever green — and the admonishment applies especially well to today’s business leaders and HR executives who are now witnessing a huge change in the shape and nature of the workforce.

Work used to be done exclusively by employees who reported to their employer’s workplace daily and performed their job in the presence of others. When we started Talencio in 2008 we were among the few small voices talking about the “gig economy.” People have long been comfortable bringing in hourly and occasional workers for clerical jobs, but our suggestion that extremely talented and knowledgeable workers could contribute significantly to a company’s productivity on a more flexible, part-time, project-oriented, as-needed basis seemed positively avant-garde back then. Today, everyone is talking about new ways to get work done.

That talk seems fueled by forces for change that include:

  • A huge change in demographics as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire – and new generations of workers are inadequate in number to replace them
  • LEAN- and Six Sigma-thinking that considers new ways to accomplish desired work outcomes
  • Offshoring and outsourcing work becoming commonplace
  • Worker preferences – on the part of both Millennials and older workers – for increased workplace flexibility
  • Changes in technology making it simpler to participate in meetings from several remote locations, enabling documents to be sent and received almost simultaneously, and mechanizing some functions so that fewer employees are required

As the dialog about changes in the workforce has intensified in recent years, new words have been coined to describe these workforce trends and new cadres of workers including “open talent economy,” “freelance economy,” “on-demand talent,” “on-tap talent” and the “newly un-retired.” Researchers have estimated that 30 to 40 percent of all US workers today are “contingent.” (See Talencio Blog post “You’ll Want to Take a Closer Look”.) In their Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report, Deloitte University Press notes that 51 percent of their survey respondents report that their company’s need for contingent workers will continue to grow over the next three to five years. (See figure.) Integrating each workforce segment – permanent full-time, hourly, contingent, contractor and vendor staff – into a complex ecosystem will be a challenge that organizations will need to address. Here are some of the ways that the authors of the Deloitte report have suggested that organizations can be prepared:

  • Plan for a hybrid workforce that includes different payment arrangements with different worker segments
  • Extend performance management and analytics to on-demand talent
  • Develop both HR and IT systems to support on-demand talent

To learn more about how other Life Science companies have partnered with us to overcome hurdles and capacity issues, leveraged assessment tools in talent selection and tapped into our skilled professional talent pool, contact me at 612.703.4236 or email me at:  pnorbom@talencio.com. Talencio, LLC has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Life Sciences community for more than seven years.


New Data Spotlights Changes in the U.S. Workforce. Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2015.

New GAO Report on Contingent Workforce Shows 85% of Independent Contractors are “Content with Their Employment Type.” Independent Contractor Compliance, May 26, 2015.

Workforce on Demand: Are You Ready? In: Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the new world of work. Deloitte University Press, 2015.

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