Who do we
organize the
change for?

  • “Who” is about organizing change for and through new talent and skills.

    But beyond the employee base experiencing these changes, we also need to consider external factors. With organizations looking to use technology in new and different ways, they will also need to look differently at their talent pool—new, emerging skill sets will be at a premium to enable them to make the most of technology. Digital talent is the obvious area to consider (e.g., data scientist, human-centered designers, virtual reality designers); however, “21st century skills” (e.g., critical thinking, collaboration, design thinking) will also be required—particularly to help prepare for the transition into the future digital workplace. 

    The challenge for organizations will be where to find this talent—and particularly when it will be at a premium all over the world. Should they hire in, outsource, reskill or upskill? 

    One thing is clear: We expect that the gig economy will have an important role to play in the workplace of the future as organizations turn to “talent rent” alongside “talent buy.” The gig economy has led to a proliferation of freelance websites, and there are also a growing number of start-ups and smaller tech firms offering specialist skills and actively looking for new opportunities. To date, these individuals and companies have been fairly focused on certain pockets, for example, coding and design, but as the work-from-home forces continue to strengthen, it is likely that rentable skill sets will continue to expand.

  • One thing is clear: We expect that the gig economy will have an important role to play in the workplace of the future. 

  • As BCG’s September 2018 survey of ~6.5 K business leaders, co-developed with Harvard Business School, shows, even two years ago business leaders accepted the importance of gig talent as a means of increasing flexibility. In the workplace of the future, everyone will have this need. The challenge for talent teams is to build a talent model and freelance sourcing strategy for the long term, which considers the capabilities, support systems and ways of working within their business both today, and in the future. And of course, talent no longer has geographic restrictions—when everyone is working from home, the talent pool is global.

  • Figure

  • Of course, talent renting may require some trade-offs. For example, how do you successfully embed gig workers within your existing organizational infrastructure, and what impact does this have on culture? Will you need to think about training or upskilling your existing workforce as well, or risk them being left behind? How will you ensure consistent and high-quality work is delivered by “teams” of individuals? And what do you need to consider from a legal framework in terms of workplace benefits (e.g., health insurance coverage)? However, all of these can be resolved with the right check-and-balance mechanisms in place.

    Overall, balancing the internal and external talent equation will still require a common set of to-dos. These include redesigning high-performer support, recognition and rewards; updating career paths to include personal flexibility and defining what career advancement could look like; identifying and focusing retention efforts on existing critical talent; and scaling up digital and personalized recruiting channels (e.g., online forums, social media) to target specialized talent.

  • Verizon has a multifaceted approach to its talent model, balancing internal upskilling with external talent acquisition to broaden our way of thinking, and working with partners to give us outside thinking to shape and inform how we think about the future. Most importantly, we continue to talk to our customers—understanding their needs enables us to define the skills we will need to meet their future requirements.
    —Tami Erwin