How To Unlock the Agile Workforce

Rob Biederman
November 11, 2016
“It is impossible for anyone in the organization to have all of the best ideas, so we’re leveraging open innovation, collaborative innovation, and crowdsourcing to collaborate with experts and entrepreneurs everywhere who share our passion for solving some of the world’s most pressing issues.” -Senior Executive, Fortune 500 Industrials Company
If experts and entrepreneurs are indeed “everywhere”, how do you find and access them? Today, top talent is increasingly choosing to work in different ways, seeking more autonomy, flexibility, and choice in the work they do. As a result, organizations must rethink the ways they access and manage talent. By applying an “outside-in” lens on talent, and focusing on the capabilities required for specific projects and workstreams, enterprises will unlock an agile workforce that offers greater efficiency, flexibility and innovation to business leaders, and ideally, more freedom and satisfaction to the individuals doing the work. The Organizational Mindset of the Future Our new whitepaper, Winning With a Flexible Workforce, developed with insights from Pat Mascia, general manager of Catalant’s industrial practice, and Stuart Kliman, Catalant advisor, examines the rise of independent workers and the role of digital platforms in accessing and optimizing this new talent pool. Some key highlights include:
  • A new way of working: By 2020, an estimated 40 percent of the American workforce will work independently, according to a study by Intuit. This growing population of independent workers is comprised of highly qualified, often highly-experienced professionals like business consultants, marketing executives, financial experts, and lawyers. These elite workers are experiencing many of the same privileges that freelancers have long enjoyed: increased flexibility, more dynamic work lives, and higher take-home pay.
  • Advantages of accessing this on-demand talent pool: Enterprises that easily access and manage flexible talent pools will be skills-driven, innovative, and agile. Companies will inject new energy and ideas into their organizations, and access opportunities that were previously unreachable.
  • Five key business areas affected by the shift: Companies are not traditionally structured to take advantage of highly skilled independent labor. To fully enable a new way of working, organizations must take a rigorous approach to accessing and managing independent talent. This involves shifts across five key areas: planning and budgeting, procurement and legal, technology, human resources, and training.
  • 6 features of a purposeful “future of work” initiative: Organizations that focus on systematically moving to this new world of work will see its benefits more quickly than those that move in this direction piecemeal or in response to competitive pressures.
  • Technology as an enabler: Technology that supports accessing the best resource for a given deliverable or worksteam will be a critical way to power the new world of work.
A New Way of Working Measured against the tremendous variety of unique talent that exists around the world, every business, no matter how successful, has limited and narrow capabilities. There are simply not enough skilled employees inside a company to accomplish everything that an organization wants to do. At the same time, those individuals who can offer the most to a company increasingly want to work when they want, where they want, and with whom they want— and they also want to work on varied and interesting projects. In response to these changes, leading companies and executives are revising their relationship with talent, becoming more agile at accessing diverse labor pools. Catalant believes – and has seen firsthand – that companies that navigate this transformation will experience substantial payoff in terms of new ideas, new growth opportunities, and new efficiencies. This is the first in a series of whitepapers exploring the future of work, and how executives and organizations can capture the benefits of this seismic shift in workforce trends. In the upcoming papers, we examine the future of work from an industry lens by taking a deeper dive into the trends driving innovation in talent access in each of the consumer, healthcare, technology, financial services, and industrial sectors. For more on this topic, download the full whitepaper, Winning With a Flexible Workforce.
Featured in: Workforce Flexibility

About the Author

Rob Biederman

Rob Biederman is co-founder and CEO of Catalant  Technologies, Inc. Prior to founding Catalant, Rob was a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, where he focused on the healthcare and high-tech industries. Rob  attended Princeton University and graduated from Harvard Business School.

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