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Why “On-Demand” is Shaping the Future of Work

Editor’s note: If you find today’s article insightful, take a moment to download our Contingent Workforce Management: 2016 Technology and Innovation Outlook Report, available here. This report not only highlights the evolution of technology, software, and solutions in the non-employee workforce industry, but also discusses the “path ahead” as innovation continues to transform (and disrupt!) talent engagement and management.

In 2016, the non-employee workforce is markedly different than in years past. It is also part of a business revolution that is critically dependent on on-demand talent to achieve crucial objectives. With more than 35% of the world’s total workforce comprised of contingent labor, including independent contractors (“ICs”), freelancers, services, and project-based/SOW-based labor, today’s businesses must be on the forefront of innovation to effectively engage top-tier talent, manage that talent from spend management and human capital perspectives, and attain a clear understanding of and visibility into the financial and compliance ramifications of this labor.

Contemporary technology platforms are the foundation upon which innovation is transforming the concept of the “future of work,” which Ardent defines as the ability to address any business need via on-demand/real-time and independent, freelance, or contingent talent regardless of the skillsets required.

“On-Demand” as the Foundation of the Future of Work

Around the globe, there are myriad definitions of the “future of work,” some of which take into account robotics servicing traditional enterprise roles, while others revolve around a future state in which artificial intelligence guides business decisions and strategies. No matter which way this concept is defined, however, the notion of “on-demand” is its true foundation in two critical ways:

  • More and more, today’s businesses are striving for a direct relationship between the greater organization and its talent. While the legacy approaches of the past will never fully fade away (traditional staffing suppliers are still a primary option for talent for a vast number of global enterprises), the realm of on-demand talent is sharply shifting talent engagement strategies across the world. Businesses are soon (for some, they’re already there) going to expect to address any talent-based need, whether it be a task, project, or initiatives, in a matter of minutes.
  • The non-employee workforce is expected to continue to alter the dynamics of talent engagement as it continues to impact social, political, economic, personal, and business arenas across the world. Innovation is a critical piece of today’s contingent workforce management programs, as the lines are blurred between talent management, talent engagement, spend management, compliance management, and other key strategies that are now required to effectively drive value from non-employee labor. The road ahead is complex; Ardent Partners predicts that the new, transformative on-demand world of talent will shape the way technology is leveraged, creating an “ecosystem” in which all aspects of the talent supply chain will be automated and linked. From online staffing and human capital management platforms to compliance/risk management solutions and spend management technology, these realms of technology now comprise an ecosystem that promotes deep workforce intelligence and the automation of all relevant talent engagement and management processes.

Final Thoughts

Innovation is a critical piece of the contingent workforce puzzle, as today’s leading businesses alter the ultimate engagement, management, and integration of talent within their organizations. As the talent supply chain continues to push forward and progress into new arenas, the contingent workforce industry will remain an epicenter of innovation that is truly reflective of a continually growing and evolving market.

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