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Managing the future workforce

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The labour market is undergoing unprecedented structural changes that will fundamentally change the way we work, says Anna Clark-Hall, director of staffing, Randstad.

Brought about by a convergence of social, demographic and technological forces, these changes mean more professionals are choosing to be free agents – taking their valuable skills to market on their own terms for the long term.

The growing number of skilled knowledge workers choosing self-employment, and the relentless demand for their skills, has given rise to the notion of the blended workforce – contractors, freelancers and consultants working alongside the permanent workforce in a critical capacity – and all evidence suggests it is here to stay.

According to Randstad’s World of Work report 2012/2013, 95% of Singaporean employers believe organisations will increasingly manage a blended workforce of permanent, virtual and transient teams over the next 10 years.

At the same time, and for the first time in history, four generations with different needs will work alongside each other and organisations will need to manage a generation gap of up to 50 years between the oldest and youngest workers.

This blended workforce means there is no room for a one-size-fits-all approach. Business leaders will need to create new solutions to workforce planning and talent management to overcome the cultural and practical barriers. Here are five tips for managing the future workforce to effectively meet the needs of these changing workplace dynamics.

Take stock: Find out how many freelancers and independent contractors are already working for you today. This will give you a good idea of how blended your workforce is; it might be more diverse than you think.

Assess the impact: What impact does a contingent workforce have on your employee culture? Consider how freelancers and independent contractors can contribute positively to your culture.

For example, there could be a great opportunity for knowledge sharing between contractors and permanent employees, while contractors may be more motivated to support organisational goals if they are included in team meetings and events.

Review and gather: Review policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive and relevant for contingent or diverse workers. Regularly gather feedback from employees on what works and what needs to be improved. Update policies or create new ones where necessary.

Make it measurable: Make workforce diversity a meaningful, measurable goal in staffing your organisation. It will be essential to attracting and retaining enough skilled employees in the decade ahead.

Use psychometric tools: Consider using psychometric (or personality) testing to engage teams in a constructive dialogue about different work-styles that goes beyond stereotypes.

Randstad’s World of Work report 2012/2013 revealed more than half of employees in Singapore self-identify as networkers (42%) or soloists (17%), while only 41% identify as collaborators.

Assessing workplace dynamics can help business leaders to manage professional networkers and soloists as they deliver high productivity without a strong need for collaboration.

Having a tailored approach to workforce planning that considers the needs and motivations of employees at different stages of life and career development will ensure companies stay competitive and future-ready

 

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