In a previous post in this series, I spoke about machine-human collaboration as a component of an adaptive workforce. Now, I’ll take a close look at how new ways of sourcing and organizing talent can help banks and insurers to become more adaptive.  

Technology plays an important role but the real key to workforce agility lies in a strategy that puts people and culture first, enabled by technology. From new digital talent marketplaces and job sharing, to pooling talent with ecosystem partners, FS firms today have a multitude of options for expanding their workforce model. Let’s look at some of them:  


As talent and skills gaps grow, as many as 40 percent of companies experience shortages that drastically impact their ability to adapt and innovate, according to a 2016 Talent Shortage Survey.   

Wise leaders are now starting to look beyond traditional organizational constructs where a full-time employee fills a permanent job—to a more boundaryless workforce where a freelance worker is as critical to the core operations of a business as a full-time employee.  

Freelancers bring the flexibility to meet business goals, with the added advantage of scalability, allowing a company to contract and pay only for the work necessary. Seventy-eight percent of FS organizations say they will view freelance workers as a seamless part of their workforce within three years, according to Accenture research.  

In this changing environment, FS organizations will need to look again at their traditional approach to contractors and freelancers, who are today often treated as second-class citizens. Retaining the skills of top talent from the contingent workforce should be as much of a priority as retention of full-time employees.  

HR will need to evaluate how it can deliver experiences and an organizational culture that engages and attracts top contractors and freelancers. What’s more, a contractor terminating a contract or an employee resigning no longer necessarily mean the end of a person’s relationship with an organization.  

FS firms can use tools such as Enterprise Jungle to keep talent engaged in the company network after their employment ends. This facilitates access to people who understand the business for special projects for fixed periods of time.  



Digital marketplaces

As large FS organizations compete with more entrepreneurial competitors for skills, those that tap into the rising number of on-demand workforce marketplaces and crowdsourcing sites will significantly enhance their agility. Some FS companies have already turned to freelance digital talent platforms such as Upwork to help fill the gap.  

Leaders need to address the needs of diverse talent inside and outside the traditional boundaries of the organization, while balancing the compliance and risk regulations and concerns that are core to FS organizations.  

This requires them to evaluate where they can augment internal skills with freelancers, where regulations or the confidentiality of the work preclude use of on-demand workers, and where they need to develop specialized, internal skills of their own.  

A Chinese proverb says: “A wise man adapts to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” As the workforce and the workplace continue to transform; so the organization needs to be agile enough to adapt to these changes. 

In my next post, I’ll look at how companies can get their existing workforces ready for tomorrow. In the meantime, download our full reports on: Shaping the Agile Workforce and Shaping the Adaptive Financial Services Organization of the Future. 

For more discussions on the adaptive workforce or to join us at the Change Directors Forum and People Innovation Forum in London, please contact me here or on Twitter @knott_nic.

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