How Organizations Should Start Thinking Differently About Talent

In our last blog we talked about the benefits of the gig economy and why so many people are opting out of the traditional employment relationship in favor of a more flexible lifestyle. While workers have embraced the gig economy, organizations will need to as well if they want to succeed.

Leaders know that in order for strategic execution and a high performing organization to occur, they need the right people on their teams. But, do those right people need to be permanent full-time employees? Not necessarily. Forward thinking organizations are already figuring out how they can leverage gig workers in order to build their teams with the best talent possible and achieve outstanding business results. This isn’t an “and/or” situation. Organizations can augment their current teams with gig workers. Here’s how you can start thinking differently about talent.

Rethink Job Descriptions

You know those clothing stores that have sizes marked “one size fits all?” One size does not fit all on clothing, shoes, most things designed for people. Yet, this approach is a common trend with job descriptions. We see it all the time. Instead of a blanket job description filled with lots of different projects and tasks for one person to do, the key is to break things down into specific categories based on skillsets. Maybe someone has a list of 15 tasks, but they’re highly skilled in 6 of those tasks. Why not embrace their talent in those 6? Here are some questions to think about. What skills are involved with each task? Does it require one full time employee who can do a handful of the tasks well, but can manage the other items? Or can you hire a few gig workers on an “as needed” basis who are amazing at each of those tasks? When you successfully develop a way to tap into what the gig economy and your own employees have to offer, you create a talent advantage in specific areas like growth, motivation, engagement, learning and development. This is where you find the top performers.

Think About Teams Differently

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The gig economy is absolutely changing the way work gets done. When it comes to the changing role of a manager, the gig economy requires a more diverse view of the talent pool on your team. If you’re focused on reaching the goals of your organization, your team is working toward the same thing. In order to lead teams successfully, emphasis must be put on two things; understanding how to manage (1) different tasks and (2) different people. We know that people perform better in their roles when they are able to utilize their skills. That being said, managers that get to know the specific strengths of their team members benefit in more ways than one. Teams should be made up of the best people who can help the organization achieve success. Notice how we said “people” and not “employees.” Managers will need to learn how to manage a diverse workforce and employees and gig workers will need to work side-by-side, but if the goals are the same, then you’re setting yourself and the team up for success.

Turn the Gig Economy Internal

Take a look at the roles in your organization today. Can they be broken down into tasks and projects? Are the people in these roles outstanding at every task and project that is part of their role? Chances are the answer is no. But, we bet they are high-performers in a handful of those tasks. So, why not let them shine at those? If you turn your current employees into gig workers and let them focus on the tasks, projects and areas they are highly skilled at, your overall objectives will be met and exceeded. Plus, engagement will increase because people are focused on meaningful work. Another way to look at the gig economy internally is to think about special projects you may have. For example, let’s say your marketing department needs to produce a video. Rather than going external, post it as an internal “gig opportunity.” Think about it as a way to tap into hidden talent that already exists in your organization.

As work continues to change, leaders will need to be agile in the way they think about and manage talent. Organizations that make the effort to think about talent differently will see increased levels of engagement and productivity. The gig economy is continuing to thrive and grow. Ask yourself, can you really afford to continue thinking about talent in the same way?

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