The Next ‘Great’ Is Here: How Leaders Can Capitalize On The “Great Reassessment” -- Series 3

We’ve talked a bit in previous posts about the “Great Resignation” and how leaders must prepare to engage their workforce and lead with empathy.

When we look at getting work done now and in the future, organizations must look at their entire workforce, not just their full-time employees. This includes temporary workers, contractors, freelancers, SOW-based talent, consultants (what we call the extended workforce) -- the list goes on and on. With that comes a series of intersecting and changing relationships between suppliers, workers, and the enterprise that companies must manage appropriately or risk missing a key foundational component of this transformation. 

The need to keep all of these parties connected and engaged is critical to the success of an organization and its workers. This collection of workers, which, during a recent webinar, Ardent Partners predicted will outpace traditional full-time employment in the next two to five years, must be attracted, engaged, and retained differently from the past. Workers today want more control over their data, their career, and how they navigate through an organization. User experience has never been more important.

What can leaders do?

Top talent has more choices than ever before -- not only in where they work but how. Flexibility comes in many forms, both in remote vs. office settings, and includes how workers set their schedules. If you aren’t actively listening to what your workforce wants and providing the technology that makes it possible to seamlessly engage and communicate with them in this new world, you will miss out. 

Forbes and BCG presented data showing that 58% of the companies they polled are “well along in their thinking on, and in some cases already experimenting with, new remote and hybrid work models.” But this leaves 42% who have made “little progress or haven’t started yet.” Of the 58%, two-thirds are focused on back-to-office solutioning, and over half on what technology they need to make the future of work a reality.

How engagement happens is key

Leaders must understand that both the way people are working (full-time versus the extended workforce) and how they are working is changing rapidly. Managing people is no easy task. Managing people remotely who don’t have a long work history with your organization or have worked in many different departments can feel daunting. For all parties to be successful, there must be dedicated, agile, flexible processes in place that are user-friendly and focused on how all parties -- be it suppliers, workers, and the enterprise -- engage.

Shift thinking to new ways of work

In a recent Seattle Times article, the author highlighted one such group of workers that are changing how they engage with work -- nurses. Citing the pandemic, an “aging, burned out and retiring nurse workforce,” and other factors, has full-time nurses leaving their jobs in lieu of traveling work, a more flexible, lucrative career. 

“We need a better way to think about how we oversee and distribute and monitor the supply of our health-care workforce,” said Bianca K. Frogner, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We don’t have any kind of centralized workforce commission in this country.”

This is happening throughout all industries and work, where full-time teachers, ER doctors, engineers, and developers are leaving their full-time roles for work as contractors and freelancers. While how they are engaged is changing, companies must be prepared to continue to develop, train, and offer incentives to bring this top talent to the table. If they don’t have the technology to do so, they will be left with a major talent shortage.

Extended workforce systems provide a talent centric system of record

As organizations get their arms around the growing non-employee workforce, consideration must be given for how to properly manage this talent. The majority of the extended workforce isn’t coming in under a standard time and materials, bill rate model. Statement of work and project-based billing and invoicing is complex. How companies manage their job profiles for tracking purposes across their engagement is also tricky. Because of this, extended workers don’t fit into traditional HR systems of record and need a purpose-built solution designed for the extended workforce.

What’s more, effectively supporting three agendas (enterprise, workers, suppliers) at the same time requires a solution that’s designed to do just that. Extended workforce systems must be worker-centric, making it easy to take into account the various needs and preferences of the worker, allowing them to be mobilized in a scalable way. They also need to give workers and suppliers more control over their data and how they interact with technology, providing the flexibility and configurability necessary for them to get work done. 

As a leader, how you adapt to all the changes and nuances happening is more critical than ever. If you’ve enjoyed our three-part series: The Great Reassessment: How Leaders Can Plan and Lead Tomorrow’s Workforce and want to learn more, please contact

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