Talent Solutions Executive Terri Gallagher On Navigating the “New Normal” of On-Demand Knowledge

Terri Gallagher

Terri Gallagher, founder of Gallagher and Consultants, works with her clients to navigate what she is calling the “new normal” of work, a tech-enabled workplace where talent is not fixed but fluid, and anyone within the company has the keys to access on-demand knowledge when and how they want.

“We are in the middle of a talent war, technology revolution and globalization of the workforce. This new paradigm of work may be the most dramatic change since the industrial revolution,” says Gallagher. “I think some people are going to see it as a threat, but the aha moment is when they see it as an approach that empowers them to deliver elevated solutions.”

Is this revolution thrilling? Is it terrifying? For Terri’s clients, it can be both. We sat down with her to find out more. Here’s what she had to say.

Q | What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the temporary workforce over the past decade? 

A | The biggest change has been the growth in usage. Organizations are beginning to embrace on-demand knowledge. Now they need strategies for integrating the contingent, gig and cloud workforce into their total workforce.

Q | The term “gig economy” has become a buzzword for describing the social and economic ripple effect of on-demand services like Uber and Airbnb. What does it mean for you and your clients? 

A | Some people confuse the terminology. “Gig” has been tossed around for many types of nontraditional workforces. Some stats that talk about the enormous growth of the on-demand economy are referring to Uber, for example, and not traditional independent contractors. For many of the clients we work with, there’s still a bit of a love/hate relationship with the on-demand workforce. Their viewpoint has not caught up with the “new normal” of the workforce landscape of today. There are some misconceptions around the quality and reliability of this talent. Many don’t realize that some of the best talent is in this community. They want to understand the risk.

Q | What’s the driving force behind why people should take advantage of on-demand knowledge and independent workers? Will the need continue to grow?

A | The driving force is that the landscape has changed and this is where much of our most qualified talent is today, particularly in STEM. The temporary workforce expands the talent supply chain and allows organizations to cast a wider net, which increases the chance of attracting the best talent. Given talent is #1 for organizations today, particularly for multinational companies, and is usually the biggest investment a company makes, a fluid workforce allows them to remain competitive.

Q | What advice do you give clients to help them navigate the complicated landscape of MSP/VMS/FMS and ancillary players?

A | I tell my clients to do some research first and be clear about the problem they are trying to solve and why. Then make sure to have all the right players (HR, Procurement, Technology, “The Field,” Finance, etc.) available at the table from the beginning. It’s critical to include the people on the front lines for requirement, assessment and implementation, as it can make or break the solution. Including everyone will make a world of difference by increasing engagement and adoption and ensuring better outcomes for strategy and solution.

Q | Complete this sentence. The future of work will be…

A | People first. The focus will shift from a hierarchal command and control leadership to a question of “how do we find, attract and engage top talent?” The goal will be to source, motivate, take care of and engage workers on an individual level. Technology will be a big part of that paradigm.

According to Gallagher, the “ecosystem model,” a philosophy where everyone plays nicely in the sandbox and, in some cases, even competition partners up to bolster weaknesses, will address gaps in the current MSP model and enable expanded technology solutions. Through open APIs and internal collaboration, Gallagher predicts the ecosystem model will be the future of human resourcing.