A tidal wave of change is coming that will make the way we work almost unrecognizable. There will be new ways to organize, recruit and manage. Imagine having a seamless blend of high quality workers who work, on demand, to fill the talent needs of your company as it grows and changes. In this new future, which has already arrived for many, you have mastered this worker challenge and have a strategy to manage it proactively so that trusted relationships are built with the best individual and team players. Getting really good at this is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
Those leading business today must figure out how to deliver value with new solutions. Research states that already 40% percent of our workers are “non-employee” and are flexible on-demand skilled resources. Work will be delivered via platforms, projects, gigs, freelancers and technology has empowered us to be creative and solution driven.
Brandon Moreno, former HR & Talent Acquisition executive, now president of EverHive, is clearly ahead of the curve and helping organizations build strategy, processes and technologies to manage this growing blended worker cohort like no other services firm. His bottom line results are impressive. I was intrigued to learn more about Brandon’s perspective on the future.
Sherry Benjamins: Brandon, What led you to this business?
Brandon Moreno: I have been involved in HR since 1993 and learned a lot from the leading companies that I was able to work with. Working with these business leaders and executives, we saw early on that if we did not add value to the business, we would be relegated to a merely transactional function.
The playbook for Talent Acquisition had to change. I am passionate about educating clients and elevating the conversation and actions to be taken around flexible, on demand highly skilled talent. The growing space of contingent workers captivated my attention and I decided to build a capability and solutions model to help companies manage these non-employee resources with a line of sight to improving the bottom line.
Sherry: How can managing the contingent workers impact productivity?
Brandon: First, the growth in this segment is taking companies by surprise. There are many organizations that seem to be running this ad hoc or with little priority on the program. We are seeing more CFO’s and CTO’s involved in the discussion along with Procurement, HR and heads of Talent Acquisition. We start with a client by understanding their current state, analyze spending and then partner with them to map out their future state of their entire end-to-end contingent worker program. The goal is to architect and design a program that is customized but also efficient, effective and flexible. There are many factors that impact productivity and creating base line metrics to manage this program sets the stage for meeting worker demand. My goal is to help the client establish strategy, elevate and optimize their contingent worker function, achieve significant cost reductions, enhance compliance and streamline process.
Sherry: Why should the CEO pay attention to this change?
Brandon: If a company’s non-employee workforce spending is growing (and many are in the $10 – 400 Million range), this has significant impact on the bottom line. Surprisingly, there are many companies that do not have a handle on this aggregated cost. Talent is the number one issue that keeps most leaders up at night and it’s their limiting factor for growth. I understand how hard it is to predict what will be needed as the business changes, however, without a forward looking plan or integrated forecast, the CEO is reacting to changing demands and ad hoc solutions. The ultimate goal is for organizations to have access to on-demand and flexible workers to complement their overall talent acquisition strategy. Not only will this have cost benefits to the bottom line, but it frees up current employees to be more strategic and elevate overall business operations.
Sherry: When launching this business, what have you learned that you didn’t expect you would?
Brandon: I am most surprised in seeing the difficulty and fear that HR departments have in moving this conversation into a managed solution for action. I understand this is a challenging problem for business leaders. Their positive intention is to get the work done with resources available. I can see they have significantly less patience now compared to one year ago. The fight for resources and the right talent is more intense now and addressing this requires a new mindset. I am surprised that many say this is urgent, yet they are slow to act.
I have also learned that building trust, educating our clients and introducing tools that will help them start this work makes sense for many. Others feel the criticality of an enterprise-wide solution. Sometimes we take small steps to get them onboard. Even smaller firms who see this tidal wave coming are better to build the platform now and think about contingent workers and unique skills required rather than wait until it is an imperative.
Sherry: What advice would you give business leaders today as they prepare for 2025?
Brandon: Step outside of the comfort zone. Look at the talent challenges holistically and as though you are already in 2019 or 2020. I know contingent workers have been around a long time but the growth in demand is taking many by surprise. Ask your executives including HR to look ahead and be focused on running the business in pursuit of better outcomes and a strategic talent plan that eliminates ad hoc problem solving. Five years from now, contingent workers will expect to be integrated into the workforce – an extension of your culture with a unique set of rewards that includes interesting and fulfilling work.
Leading the work in the future will profoundly change the world of HR. Work will be deconstructed and dispersed with rewards being more short term and individualized. The organization will have an internal and external, permeable structure. Kate Kjeell, SBC’s Managing Director facilitates a group of TA leaders in OC from premier companies. She noted that managing a contingent workforce has been the top issue TA leaders have struggled with for the past three years. Awareness of the size, cost, liabilities and opportunities of this workforce is a significant catalyst for change.
To learn more about this worker and workplace change check out Brandon’s site and feel free to speak with him. (800) 945-6340, firstname.lastname@example.org.
When two companies share a truly unique approach to their customers and are committed to the people side of business, why wouldn’t they team up? This year, S. Benjamins & Company (SBC) and EveryBusiness HR Essentials (EBHR) have agreed to a strategic partnership. We believe that growing our shared resources will benefit our clients and teams. Through this effort we are demonstrating the importance of openness and agility needed in business today. SBC and EBHR are practicing what we preach.
We help organizations attract and hire great talent. In addition to “finding the one”, we expand the conversation to include talent strategy and solutions beyond a single hire. Sonya helps her clients embrace customized HR solutions at various key stages of their business growth. Neither of us are a “one size fits all” firm and it is an exciting time to combine forces.
As we advise our clients about what workers want today and how they will thrive, we see less importance on hierarchy and more emphasis on reciprocity and creative collaboration.
How did we pair up?
I met Sonya ten years ago. We were hosting a learning event for HR leaders in transition and Sonya had just returned to California from a successful mid-west entrepreneurial venture. She was looking for that next opportunity and what author Jenny Blake calls, “the pivot” to something new. The successful pivot starts with a foundation of core values and understanding your strengths. Sonya was entirely grounded on that front and was in the process of creating a vision for another chapter of her career in HR. As years passed, we developed a great relationship and exchanged ideas about our focus on the human side of business. When she was ready to leave the corporate world and start her own company, we met to talk about the entrepreneurial life, which of course included the risks and rewards.
What I observed was Sonya’s quiet transparency, business savvy smarts and genuine positive spirit. She was and remains open, curious and authentic about what matters. She places purpose front and center. EBHR cares about community, giving, learning and bringing the best ideas to her clients. Our team values that too. Most importantly we both approach our clients with a kind of care and commitment that I find energizing. Together our firms support On Demand HR, Business Essentials (Work Design, Talent Strategy and Search) and Learning Forums/HRoundtables.
Kate Kjeell, our Managing Director and I are excited about this change and partnership with Sonya’s firm. We’ll continue to focus on talent strategy and management search. That means finding our clients great leaders (in HR, Sales, Marketing, General Management, Operations) or helping them build their own capability to do that for themselves. For the past twenty years, we have utilized a project on-demand business model to deliver candidates and fill key management openings. We augment our client’s existing Talent Acquisition function in a variety of ways. Story telling in search is a key differentiator of ours. We use creative approaches to help our clients tell their story to ensure we “find the one.” Video, podcasts, marketing micro-sites are an example of the ways we increase our response rate with passive candidates. The goal is to develop a high quality pool of talent for our client’s immediate and future needs. It is all about meaningful and ongoing conversations. We hope to hear from you to learn what you are up to and how we can stay connected and continue to learn from each other.
It may be too late to catch up, as Bob Johansen, author of The New Leadership Literacies states, but it is a great time to leapfrog. Looking beyond skills, Bob introduces us to the new literacies that are really a combination of practices and world perspectives.
We will not see predictability and volatility and uncertainty will prevail. So, how will leaders prepare for this? In the future, Bob maps out forecasting as a tool to look ahead and then back to prepare for changes that are coming. He also introduces low-risk gaming (great chapter on gaming) to hone our skills. Personal energy will need to be high and this matches up with the emphasis these days on health, well-being and mindfulness.
As a search consultant, our role has been to find the talent that our client has profiled for success. It can be a financial leader of HR VP. There are often long lists of requirements as we launch a search and it becomes the challenge to triangulate hard skills, strategic skills and character for a good fit.
Clarity will be king in the future. I mean, if we are clear on who we are and what we value, and what our business is intended to deliver, this will serve as our guide in making decisions and evaluating talent. Those long list of requirements will transform into a "top five criteria and deliverables" for success in your organization. The hiring team will embrace that and use advisors or trusted talent evaluators in their company to keep the team headed in the agreed upon direction. Then, we will start to see the old job posting and description become an artifact of the past. The new mindset is select for potential and fit with both top fives addressed. What was certainty in writing those old artifacts will shift and be "clarity" on what it takes to succeed and show up authentically.
Future talent will be continual learners, embrace challenge and lead from the edge of complex networks. Bob says, hierarchies will come and go and "mutual benefit partnering" will take hold. If a new leader needs an expertise he or she is light on, there is encouragement to partner inside or out. Experimenting and learning will be a celebrated process for the best leaders.
It used to be that leaders needed to learn it all and know it all - that is gone in this future. Now, we will be measured on how to nurture and develop shared resources and ourselves from wonderfully diverse networks. Sound good? Our development will be as good as our network is. Our success will be based on how open our companies are about listening to and learning from our talent. Are you ready to leapfrog!
Charles Antis, CEO of Antis Roofing invited an impressive group of OC leaders to an event yesterday (in their amazing Irvine headquarters) to learn from an accomplished and inspiring Story Teller. Charles models the power of story and purpose in big ways for all of us. He generously hosted Jay Golden, Author, story coach and storyteller who showed us how to tap into our own stories so that they are retellable and impactful.
It only takes three minutes and within a very short time we were practicing our stories with each other. Jay says, that "the ability to find, shape and share your own story - told one to one and one to many - is one of your greatest assets as a leader."
What is a retellable story? Jay's new book introduces concept using a simple framework. You would think that we know how to do this. Not really. I learned it can be simple and yet powerful in creating connection quickly. It does start with us. Our stories reveal a lesson that helps inform and inspire others.
At this time of year, we often retell stories at family gatherings or create new experiences that become future stories. It is not just simply a beginning, middle and end process. There is more to it and I recommend getting Jay's book to dive into this for yourself and your team.
Stories matter today. The human connection we make with a memorable personal story takes our relationships and engagement with others to a different level. This takes us beyond the noise and data flying at us every day. I can see the direct link of story to insight and creativity. I am going to try this out. Jay says in his book, "The twists and turns of the story draws us in, gives form to the journey and enables us to gain new understanding. The teller is the guide to that understanding."
The concepts fascinate me and I am going to reflect on the stories that have been meaningful for me so that I may share them, plant some seeds and see how they grow. Any one who references Joseph Campbell is my hero, Jay closes his book with a quote from Joseph, "The hero is the one that comes to know." Bravo.
Some people think that dramatic improvement in robotics and AI puts us on the road to a jobless future. MIT researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee say we are in the "second machine age." It is true that many jobs will be at risk of being automated and it is happening right now. It is true the workplace is transforming. However, the job market does not show that robots are on the rise yet. Our clients share that they see a shortage of skilled folks and not a labor surplus. If automation to replace humans was really impacting us now, we might see more job turnover. One study written by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says that "levels of job churn are at historic lows."
We can't deny huge changes in work, workers and the workplace. I respect what exists today and look forward to having the influence to change everything. This sculpture is in the harbor in Barcelona, called Miraestels. I was just there and loved this inspiring structure - he is holding a hidden star behind and he seems to pose a question, and imagines a possibility yet he is awaiting a response.
We in the people business don't have to wait for a response.
To get at some of the workplace questions, we hosted Kevin Mulcahy, author of the Future Workplace Experience and Dean Carter, head of HR and Shared Services for Patagonia on October 3rd with 100 senior executives to ask questions and learn of their perspective on change.
One message was, "The strongest organizations today are learning machines." That does not mean robots that learn, it means humans learning to leverage technology and be agile in the face of huge change.
There is a focus on productivity (app-ification) for almost everything, from performance, to how you give feedback, understand your talent and worker expectations as well as profiling success. The majority of our attendees, who are senior executives in HR or Talent said that digital analytics and workforce analytics is the next big thing for them. Data is king. But there was recognition that having a strategy and clear assumptions about change needed is essential.
Kevin Mulcahy says, "Pick your trends." Make the case for change and articulate the assumptions around this before you leap ahead with analytics or how you want to transform the workplace.
There was also discussion about Recruiting and the automation that will allow greater efficiency and the ability to build eco-systems of talent that are aligned with the organizations values, purpose and career paths. Dean Carter talked about building communities of people who might want to work with Patagonia but the company or individual may not be ready. His company curates conversations with talent that shares their values and purpose driven culture. He urged us all to think broadly about ongoing and continuous conversations with talent and why having a clear and compelling employer brand is critically important to answer the "why work here" question.
Are you a workplace activist? You need to be...the robot will not play that role at all. We have the opportunity in the people business to be the catalyst for change and to speak boldly about the big bets for the future and what can be started now. Go to it.
We just returned from one of our favorite places on earth - Bali. It had been six years since we had visited our Balinese family (former business partner and friend of my husband) and now our adopted family far away but close in heart. Life is changing there and while all the magic and beauty of the island remains, you can see that business is more entrepreneurial, tech savvy and global. For me global means a richer more diverse group of people doing work and living in Bali than I observed years ago. We met Europeans, Americans, Australians, professors, musicians, academics and entrepreneurs - it was more like a mini United Nations.
Eighty five percent of the population in Bali (which is 4 million people) are Hindu. They believe that spirits inhabit trees, stones, forests, and places. It is truly a fascinating mix of ancient tradition and contemporary life yet a focus on culture, spirit, family, music and art. I always wondered how the mash up of corporate work and spiritual practice would play out as businesses grew. It seems to work so far with such an influx of folks from all over the globe who respect this wonderful culture and people.
This island in Indonesia offers a confetti of sensory experiences, smells of frangipani and burning trash along with sounds of Gamelan that soothes the soul. What better place to grow an idea, start a business or re-start your psychic and physical energy. I even found a company called Hubud (hub in Ubud) that brings coworking, coliving and colearning experiences to entrepreneurs from all over the world. They look for digital nomads. I do hope all these global citizens or corporate escapees embrace the gift of Bali culture and respect for tradition and not change it too much.
There is a total engagement of social media now that we did not see six years ago. Trip Advisor is king in a land of tourism and growing hospitality businesses in a big competitive market. I don't recall on previous visits the requests in a very nice yet direct way for feedback, comments on facebook, and please share your customer experience. We met two business owners that are focusing on marketing plans, improving their on line presence and learning about branding. That is new.
The good news is that religious expression, colorful ceremonial dress, daily offerings, dance and music remain key to their life. Ceremonies which are daily communicate ideas about community, status and aspects of life as well as afterlife. People embrace living fully and honestly today for it might impact later in the next life. Not a bad idea to take with us and cherish in our home and work here today.
There was a fascinating article in the Opinion Section of the Wall Street today that highlights Barbara Oakley, a Professor at Oakland University, Michigan and her book called Mindshift. It is a deep dive into the science and practice of learning. Her personal story truly demonstrates a multi-faceted journey in learning. We place obstacles in our way when confronted with new learning challenges. I can say that from personal experience. However, according to Professor Oakley, this holds us back from new outlooks.
I was taken by the notion of learning something new as a workout to the centers of the brain that are most affected by aging. That was not a new notion but hit home for sure.
What really captivated my imagination was the idea of learning the unexpected. Do we allow ourselves the vulnerability to ask, "Who do we want to become in our work and what needs to be explored in this life?" Not often enough. It is consuming to just respond to everyday challenges that are right in front of us let alone think out into what we want for our future self.
I attended a workshop a few weeks ago in San Francisco, facilitated by my favorite corporate poet and philosopher, David Whyte. He is working with executives to help them be "Half a Shade Braver" (his new topic and CD) and be vulnerable and risk yourself in leadership. That often means surrendering to the unknown and reflecting on key questions that we have inside of us that will patiently wait for us to answer. Those questions are not going away, says David Whyte.
The mindshift that Professor Oakley speaks of had me reflecting on the workshop with David. The question that I want to ask is, "what parts of me have I not spoken of or developed yet in my work?" What are the possibilities? It is an exciting time at any age to hold the possibilities in your hands and learn how to learn.