Deloitte University Press recently published the Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report. In the report there is an entire section related to on-demand workforce.The report states that “The on-demand workforce offers companies the ability to tap into extensive networks of innovators, technical experts, and seasoned professionals. To engage and retain them, companies should think broadly about how their HR programs, strategies, and analytic tools could be applied not only to full-time employees, but also to contingent and part-time workers.” This is a nice way to put it.
In the « new world of work » the report shows that we are on the verge to really transform this Human « Capital » into a manageable resource that can be optimized as effectively as other resources for the company financial results. The key in this domain seems for HR people to become a powerful procurement organization able to identify contractors or independent workers to be used as a pool of potential on demand contributors for future needs.It is not anymore only about hiring engaging and developing the salaried permanent employees that were the core of a company in the past. HR organizations are transitioning to a resource management role where the word « human » will progressively fade away and where « people » skills are replaced by hard skills like data analysis. This evolution is certainly not new. In the past contingent workforce was mostly used to flex hourly paid, low qualification workforce and was managed generally by the purchasing department with little or no HR involvement. It is just accelerating. With these 2015 Trends shown by Deloitte’s report, we see that this type of temporary employment is expanding to highly skilled technicians or experts who are available on demand to contribute to the success of the company projects. A part of these freelancers seem to be thriving for this type of work relationship that provides a lot of personal freedom, but the vast majority of these contingent workers may have either no other choice because of their lack of qualification or were former (senior or not) full-time permanent employees laid-off in the recent economical downturn and not re-hired because of their salary and other perks costs.Therefore it is not surprising according to the report that human resources representatives do not feel entirely prepared for this evolution and that CEO s tend to consider their performance as non satisfactory in these domains.
If we go one step further down the road in the possible future evolution of the global job market, it seems that we will eventually come to a situation with a small group of permanent employees maybe mainly in leadership roles and an extensive undifferentiated pool of available on-demand workforce in different geographical areas in which global corporations will be able to tap for resources when needed. Human beings will have become a merchandise as any other one.
Is this really what we want ?