Freelancers, consultants, contingent workers, part-time employees -- these non-traditional workers make up the liquid workforce. And they’re an increasingly powerful component of today’s forward-thinking businesses.
The number of professionals in the liquid workforce is projected to quadruple by the end of 2020. That’s up to 60 million from just over 15 million in 2015.
In just 5 years, the liquid workforce is changing the game for forward-thinking businesses. Those that are successfully managing their liquid workers are seeing increases in productivity, decreases in ramp up time, and reduced staffing costs.
Streamlining and maximizing your management of the liquid workforce is essential today. But what’s next? What can we expect for our businesses and the liquid workforce tomorrow?
What to expect for the liquid workforce and your business
If you’re a regular reader of the Sense blog, you may have already downloaded our free report, based on research we conducted with our friends at HR.com -- Effectively Managing Today’s Liquid Workforce. In it, we share how organizations are successfully managing their liquid workforce and why others are struggling.
Now that you’re putting an emphasis on maximizing the liquid workforce, here are the key findings from our research on what to expect in the near future:
Tracking and assessment of the liquid workforce will become increasingly important
With so many highly specialized, easy-to-mobilize workers at the ready, having the ability to quickly deploy and easily track them is critical. Technology will continue to play an important role.
As HR departments gear up for nearly half of their workers to be comprised of the liquid workforce, more professionals believe that tracking technologies will be increasingly important in order to maximize labor demand and supply. Among our survey participants, around half believe that assessment technologies (53%) and security-focused technologies (50%) will also become increasingly important.
Understanding who among your liquid workforce possesses the specific skills and experience needed to quickly step in and get to work is critical in just about any role. And with cybersecurity and data concerns near the top of priorities for many organizations, arming your liquid workforce with the right tools and information while simultaneously protecting your employees, business and customers is of the utmost importance. As an example, consider a data specialist who is given temporary access to systems with confidential information. Your organization would want to know with 100% certainty that all proprietary information is safe.
Mixed-use technologies may be necessary further down the line.
While more advanced technologies are certainly on the radar of HR professionals, you probably don’t have to expect more sophisticated, mixed-reality technologies to play a major role in the next few years.
In our research, only a small percentage (just 12%) of respondents expect mixed-reality technologies to be imminently important in the management of the liquid workforce. Looking beyond the immediate future; however, it may be important to keep these technologies on your radar. As the percentage of liquid workers increases, the need for contingent workers who can ramp up quickly may necessitate the adoption of more cutting-edge technology to learn new processes. For example, augmented reality might help familiarize production line employees with necessary procedures, or offer training to workers while they are in the field.
In particular, the medical industry is poised to take advantage of emerging technology in the next few years. As this field commands a surprising amount of contingent workers, from traveling nurses to surgeons, to provide better patient care while maximizing employment spend, putting the right technology into the hands of these contractors will become a major focus for hospitals, practices and more.
Watch for many industries to take advantage of putting mixed-use and emerging tech into the hands of their liquid workforces. Just think of the possibilities!
The liquid workforce will hold employers to a high standard.
While not directly addressed in our survey, it’s important to note that today’s liquid workers hold employers to high expectations. Just as organizations are struggling to find, attract and engage talent for full-time positions, businesses can expect to similarly struggle to find, attract and engage the most exceptional members of the liquid workforce. Those businesses that invest in effective communication and strategic engagement will be poised to best maximize this ever growing talent pool.
As the results of our survey indicate, there is enormous potential for organizations to better manage their liquid workers. Organizations that invest in an improved experience for their new workforce from first touch through deployment and beyond will be best equipped to maximize their talent investment and the positive impact on their organizations.
For more insights into the liquid workforce and how your organization can maximize its talent investment, download our full report, Effectively Managing Today’s Liquid Workforce.