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Types of Workers and the Future of HR

The people who show up at your office, factory, construction site or any other place of work today to add value to your customers, products and services are a mixture of permanent staff, contractors, casuals, outsourced partners or any other of the new style of employees.  Should HR be concerned for all of these types of employees, or only some of them?  What is the role of HR in this rapidly changing, a dynamic marketplace for talent?

To support this changing employee environment the CHRO and their team need to have enhanced skills in old areas or altogether new areas, such as: -

Procurement – Managing contracts with agencies to provide labour is not new and most HR functions already manage temporary employment contracts.  And as labour types multiply the ability to find the right suppliers, at the right price with the right terms will be a skill in demand in HR.  In addition to these regular procurement activities, the HR team need to develop skills to determine the right sourcing channel for each hiring manager’s demand.  For example, a manager puts up a requisition for a new permanent person; the role of HR should be to challenge the sourcing channel.  Is permanent the right type of employee for this position?  Are the characteristics of the role and work, along with the risk, IP, availability of supply and the lead time required to fill the position indicate a permanent employee would be best?  The HR team will need to establish criteria against which requisition are assessed and work with the managers to make sure that the right mix of employees is found to support the business needs.

Kitting Manager – In some production environments, there is a role called a kitting manager, whose job it is to pull all of the items together for one customer order so that they can ship together.  HR needs to learn these skills, especially for environments where there is staffing and hiring for specific projects (infrastructure projects, large IT development efforts, as examples).  HR needs to be able to take the demand from the business and find all the various types of talent needed, from different sourcing channels and markets.  And then make sure it all arrives, ready to start the project, after going through a great onboarding and company orientation experience.  In the NZ Herald article, the example used was a movie director.  You are going to start a production, and you need actors, stage hands, camera people and everything else to create a great film. 

Fixed to Variable Cost Management – If today you have 1000 permanent employees, there is a very high potential that shortly you will have 100 permanent employees and the rest being made up of all the different new types of labour pools.  This change of employee mix is going to have a significant impact on the HR infrastructure which today has many measures based on cost/employee, the number of HR staff/employee, and the contracts with your cloud-based HRIS priced per employee, and I am sure you can think of dozens of other examples.  At the same time, the demands on HR will be greater as the labour mix gets more varied and complex to manage.  How to start establishing the right infrastructure and measures for the future employee types?  Easy ones are making sure your procurement contracts are variable by the appropriate unit of measure.  For example, you would not necessarily want to pay for all the functionality of an HRIS for non-permanent staff, or pick up charges based on the number of employee ID’s if only 10% of them were your permanent staff.  Thinking through the impact of the shift of employee mix is something that the CHRO should start today, as in many cases these metrics, procurement contracts and reporting mechanisms it will take time to change.

Network Engineer – with all the different employee types, how you create connections within the organisation will need to change, and how areas like engagement will need reviewing.  For example, if you have a company blog site, do all employee types get full access, and the same for chat rooms or other networking technologies?  When it comes time to check how engaged the employees are, with your quarterly pulse survey, is everyone included?  Who gets which connections and feedback channels is critical, for engagement, morale and culture, but also for confidentiality, protection of IP and security.  In an earlier post, “Who do you invite to the Christmas Party”, some of these networking and engagement activities are also discussed. 

The future CHRO and their team are going to need a new set of skills, competencies and experiences to handle the diverse, flexible and ultimately more complex workforce of the future.

Mary Sue Rogers

Posted On : 07-06-16

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