Accenture coined the phrase “liquid workforce” to describe the trend toward workforce expansion in its must-read report, Accenture Technology Vision 2016. It describes how cloud technology is enabling companies to employ agile, flexible workforce teams – a spectrum of full-time workers, agencies, temps and true freelancers – through intelligent automation and a single integrated dashboard. A few insights that are particularly compelling:
- Last year, Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce. Their very different demands require new engagement strategies.
- In three years, 43% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be freelance. This will transform how enterprises find and deploy talent.
- In less than five years, a Fortune 2000 company will exist with no full-time workers outside of the C-suite.
You might be thinking that this sounds more like a startup model but, in fact, it is traditional enterprise companies that are leading the way. For example, as part of its FastWorks program, GE is embedding lean startup practices into their culture to make faster decisions while staying close to customers. Likewise, Walgreens is leveraging innovative technology to empower flexible servicing of stores around the country, and brands from JPMorgan Chase to FedEx are using service providers like NAVCO, which has been relying on a flexible, agile workforce to respond to their clients’ needs quickly and more efficiently, for years.
The liquid workforce model is a new and emerging source of competitive advantage, and the trend is here to stay. Imagine what it could mean for your Marketing department:
Do More, Spend Less
Fill immediate skill gaps and drive under-resourced projects when you don’t have budget for an agency.
Chances are your Millennial team members already work a “second-shift” after-hours to learn and make a little extra money. Implementing a liquid workforce model will help you attract more talented Millennials, both full-time and part-time.
“Port” Your Talent
Over time, as you build your stable of talent, you will have the ability to take these teams with you to any new department or company, with no non-competes or professional courtesies preventing you from tapping into your trained, portable team on Day 1 in your new role.
Labor Clouds and the New Breed Marketing Department
If you lead a Marketing team, I suspect you will recognize these common frustrations and restrictions: shrinking budgets, headcount freezes, salary caps for new-hires, procurement restrictions for engaging freelancers, limited career tracks for specialists. I know because I’ve been there.
Likewise, I bet you intuitively recognize that there is a better way. You need access to talent you know and trust on a flexible basis, and the talented people you know need an easy way to plug into your company and get paid – compliantly, securely and hassle free.
Work Market solved these problems for me – it’s a key driver of why I joined the company earlier this year. As CMO, I did what many “new breed marketing departments” are doing – I built my own Marketing Labor Cloud to run my department. The results have been higher productivity, team engagement, and growth well beyond our numbers.
Here’s how I got started and how you can too:
- Make a list of the most talented people you know. Be thorough – former employees, freelancers, alumni, interns, agency partners, etc. Find out if they freelance (or would like to start!) and, if they have a full-time gig, whether they “second shift” (i.e., do extra work on the side).
- Make a list of projects or skill gaps in your department. Write briefs for the specific work that needs to be done.
- Connect the two through Work Market.
a) Create your liquid team by having your key talent log into Work Market and build their profiles. (It takes about five minutes, especially if they upload their LinkedIn profiles in one click).
b) Build your company profile in Work Market. (There is no tech integration so you don’t need any procurement or tech department approvals to get started).
c) Send a project brief to your liquid team through Work Market. Super simple.
d) Use the system to assign tasks, track their hours and pay them. No hassle.
As one of my team members put it: “My ‘marketing labor cloud’ makes me look like a hero. Just last week, I was at an ANA Conference and on deadline for our 2016 Workforce Productivity Report. I dispatched a brief to one of my marketing-cloud team members, who finished the report while I focused on the conference. I delivered an exceptional product, our cloud-team member made some money. It was a win/win.”
In a few years, this will be the way every Marketing department gets things done. Why not be ahead of the curve? I’d be happy to talk with you about how to build your own liquid workforce today and be part of Marketing’s next frontier. Also feel free to join my webinar this coming Tuesday, December 6 at 11 a.m. EST where I’ll explore this topic in much further detail.