Solving the Talent Crunch Could Be Easier Than You Think

It’s no secret that the talent wars are fierce these days, particularly in high-growth industries like healthcare and technology. According to ManpowerGroup, in 2016, employers reported the highest global talent shortages since 2007. And the most recent BLS data suggests an even tighter market, with the ratio of job openings to hires the highest it’s been in years.

The good news, both for staffing professionals and the businesses they support, is that the answer to talent shortages is closer than it might seem. In fact, the enormous growth of the high-end “gig economy” — experienced professionals who prefer independent work — has put many of the best, most in-demand talent within close reach of the companies that need them.

It’s no secret that companies don’t have to own all the talent they need to go to market with their products and services; areas as diverse as advertising and back-office support have been outsourced for years. So what’s new? The caliber of independent talent that’s available today means that companies can optimize their staffing mix by “accessing” the talent they need, when they need it, to solve critical business issues.

PREMIUM CONTENT: The Gig Economy and Human Cloud Landscape: 2017 Update

Here are just a few of the ways smart companies are putting high-end “giggers” to work for them:

Amping All Things Digital

It can be a struggle to find cutting-edge digital talent — the folks who can help you understand how artificial intelligence can automate your back-office processes, or how the Internet of Things can help you boost customer engagement and loyalty. Even experienced eCommerce experts are hard to hire.

Yet a number of these experts are available on the independent market and are eager to apply their knowledge to your toughest questions.

A disruptive innovation expert who led the development of one of the world’s first smartphones has been independent since 2009. You might not be able to hire him as your chief innovation officer, but you can engage him on high-value projects to refresh your innovation strategies, establish incubators, and explore supply chain disruptions.

An Internet of Things specialist has been independent since 2014, and recently helped a major insurance company size IoT opportunities, building a prioritized menu of product concepts along with the relative pros, cons, and investments required of each.

Building Intelligent IT Infrastructure

If you’re like most companies, it’s been a good, long while since you’ve taken a comprehensive look at your IT systems. You probably already know what you’d find, however: they’re overloaded, stitched together with patches, and riddled with inefficiencies. But who can tell you how much the problem is adding to your bottom line, and how to craft the most cost-efficient fix?

Here, too, the independent talent marketplace offers many dynamic and vital solutions. A senior IT strategist with a PhD in computer science has been independent since 2013. He’s helped companies from the CPG to financial services industries analyze business imperatives, refine IT operating models, and even execute the shift from legacy systems to enterprise-level solutions. A healthcare systems specialist has been independent since 2014; he’s helped companies assess how to incorporate cognitive computing into existing processes and systems and plan and deploy the implementation of new CRM modules.

Navigating Regulatory Pressures

Healthcare, pharma, and finance all face acute regulatory pressures. Specialized consulting firms are out there, but many companies find they need help in ways that are either more cost-effective or more execution-oriented (or both). Independent talent brings them not just a different option but a more superior solution.

An ex-McKinsey financial regulations expert — independent since 2013 — was joined by an independent capacity management specialist and an independent financial analyst to implement consulting firm recommendations and help a financial services public finance group increase productivity while mitigating risk.

In another project, an independent life sciences executive worked with independent R&D and business development strategists to help a global non-profit take a promising malnutrition technology out of the lab and into patient populations, outlining regulatory issues and identifying partners who could develop, manufacture, market, and distribute the product.

Companies need doers, not thinkers, to meet these needs. Yet making full-time hires would have been inefficient, and traditional consulting firms would have been hard-pressed to offer the full, integrated, on-the-ground execution assistance that was required.

Getting Independents Into The Staffing Mix to Win the Talent Wars

Independent consultants can’t replace every permanent hire, but the companies that will win the so-called talent wars are going to do so with more than just full-time employees. Instead, they will tap a blend of internal and external talent, and task them with working together on targeted, mission-critical projects for defined periods of time.

And by thinking more broadly about how they source and deploy this talent, they will realize big gains in efficiency, agility, and impact.

MORE: Think the Workplace Has Changed? Just Wait.

Jody Greenstone Miller

Jody Greenstone Miller
Jody Greenstone Miller is CEO and co-founder of Business Talent Group.

Jody Greenstone Miller

Share This Post


Related Articles

Powered by ·