Hybrid and remote working models have certainly changed the way organisations operate post pandemic. Surely, these two models have made it easier for employees to work during difficult and uncertain workplace situations. However, they are not the only possibilities that organisations have within their reach.
One of the emerging models that seems to be especially successful is the ‘open talent’ or ‘flexible’ model. In simple terms, flexible models allow organisations to use employees outside of their workforce for a limited amount of time to complete a project.
‘Open or flexible talent’ is a broad term that includes everyone, from local freelancers being hired for a specific job and contract workers, to people coming on board for projects after being selected through competitions.
Win-win: It works well for the organisations as well as talent. It offers a way for fresh talent to use the skills needed for specific projects while the organisations do not have to wait or stress their employees by imposing new responsibilities to learn new skills in short periods of time, which could lead to several blunders.
“Millennials are a future-oriented generation, and are more likely to adapt to an open talent model because of the flexibility they have acquired through the years”
Anil Gaur, CHRO, Akums Pharmaceuticals
Anil Gaur, CHRO, Akums Pharmaceuticals, says “More organisations are going to adopt the open talent model in the coming years because it is mutually beneficial for both parties.”
Evidently, organisations that hire gig workers have the advantage of having their projects overseen by experts who are likely to take less time to complete them and do their jobs more comprehensively. On the other hand, gig workers get recognised for their talent and can get more work based on successful results.
And this is one of the biggest points to remember about this model; that gig workers aren’t people who are unemployed or any less deserving of jobs than permanent workers, as Gaur explains. They are actually experts in their domains and they bring a very high level of knowledge and competency to projects. Gig workers also get more compensation if they complete a project before the timeline or improve some aspects of it, he adds.
Youth: Of course, open talent model is a new mode of working, which is likely to attract young people more. That is because, youngsters are not set in their ways of operating unlike the older lot that have been working the same way for decades in the same roles at the same organisations.
“Millennials are a future-oriented generation, and are more likely to adapt to such models because of the flexibility they have acquired through the years,” points out Gaur.
‘Open talent model’ has seen swift acceptance outside India, Gaur points out.
Profitablity: “In Europe, especially, gig working has become a very normal phenomenon. Slowly, these models are being accepted by corporations in other parts of the world as well because they have proven to be very profitable for organisations,” enunciates Gaur.
“Many organisations use the open talent model to upskill their employees, fill short- term vacancies, such as those created by maternity leaves, or if they want a person for a specific role immediately but don’t want to wait for a long time to hire someone permanently with the right skills”
Abhijit Bhaduri, executive coach & author
“Since gig workers aren’t bound by long-term contracts, the companies do not have to worry about different kinds of benefits, increments, or even about firing them from their jobs,” he says.
Application across industries: Anurag Verma, vice president – human resources, Uniphore, gives an example of how the model can be utilised in the automation industry.
Unifore remains in contact with language experts, who come in for the purpose of fixing speech-recognition processes in their projects. “Sometimes, when there is a new language, linguists are required to explain what mood or sentiments mean and how they have to be interpreted,” Verma says.
Gig workers are much sought after in industries where skills for projects need constant updating and adjustment. Hence, their skills become more valuable and are in high demand.
“Gig workers also get paid more sometimes, even better than the permanent employees because of their expertise and based on the kind of projects they are working on,” states Verma.
Short-term hiring: Prior to this, companies used to hire people from consultancies because they couldn’t afford the experts. Now, however, it has become easier to get experts, who complete the job and leave. There is no need to retain them longer than necessary.
“Uniphore leverage the open talent model by being in contact with language experts, who come in for the purpose of fixing speech-recognition processes in its projects”
Anurag Verma, vice president – human resources, Uniphore
Abhijit Bhaduri, executive coach & author, says, “There is a buyer for every skill in the marketplace. Skills that create value will always be in demand but it’ll take time for this practice to become commonplace.”
Apart from being a great way to get talent needed for specific projects, the ‘open talent model’ is also helpful in many different ways.
Upskilling: “Many organisations use this model to upskill their employees, fill short- term vacancies, such as those created by maternity leaves, or if they want a person for a specific role immediately but don’t want to wait for a long time to hire someone permanently with the right skills,” Bhaduri explains.
Flexibility: It has become very clear after the pandemic that people don’t want to remain stuck in the same job for years and waste away their talent. Similarly, organisations have also become a little more flexible after witnessing these changes. They are calling people from outside to work on projects that need expert attention.
In the long run, this can only be a good thing because it will lead to more opportunities for people who aren’t ready to take up permanent jobs. It is also a step in the right direction by organisations in a bid to adapt newer ways of working for a better business future.