Sunday, March 8, 2009

CRE and FM Staffing Models Changing

One effect of the economic downturn is the acceleration of a shift already underway in how companies meet their talent resource needs. Traditional staffing models relied predominantly on corporate employees. Temporary workers were often regarded as little more than fill ins, and consultants were thought of as high-priced problem solvers to be used sparingly. Not so anymore.

This shift began earlier in part because younger workers have different ideas about who they want to work for, where they want to work, and how long they want to work. Many organizations were already making changes in staffing models to accommodate the demands of important new talent. Now, however, that shift has received a dramatic boost, thanks to the economic realities of the day.

Younger workers are typically less concerned about corporate benefits and more concerned about the contribution they are allowed to make across a wide spectrum and their perceived freedom to control their own destiny. They see “free agency” as a way of both enhancing their contribution by working with many organizations, and improving their long term compensation in the process. Now, more and more companies are agreeing with them, motivated in part by cost savings but also because free agency allows them to deploy a better aligned resource set against any given problem or project. Both employees and employer see it as an advantage, not a penalty. And now this perspective is not only the purview of the young. More mature workers are embracing this model as well, some to widen the opportunities they have and some to facilitate a transition to the next phase of life.

So who are these “free agents?” They have many labels. Temporary employee, leased employee, contingent worker, specialist, independent contractor, strategic partner, and to some extent consultants are all what we refer to today as “free agents.” Some project that in the foreseeable future 80% of staffing needs will be filled by free agents, compared to the more traditional 80% “owned” staff model.

Organizations that choose to go this route will have to resolve inherent conflicts between this new staffing model and the stability needs of daily business.

· How will you maintain standards of care?

· How will processes remain in control?

· How will corporate culture adapt to include, support, nurture…and then release these players?

· How will this change affect your customers, and their satisfaction with you?

One very important question to ask yourself is…what about you? Are you one of these new free agents? If you think you might be, what does it take to be successful? How will you need to change?

Ah, there’s that word again. Change. Get used to it.

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