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The rise of the extended workforce

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Part II of III. Three Part Interview series with Russell Ives, Managing Director for Accenture, on key trends facing the HR and HRO industry.

russelIs it the end of work as we know it?  Businesses are increasingly relying on skills and expertise from people who are not employees or part of the organisation. Workers are brought in for short periods of time and maybe working from home or some remote location.

There are a growing number of people who temporarily lend companies their skills and knowledge in an ever-expanding network of freelancers, consultants, outsourcing partners, vendors and other types of non-traditional talent.

Though bringing in talent when and where you need it can dramatically reduce costs, there is a corresponding complexity in the management of this type of workforce over traditional employees.”

Russell Ives, Managing Director for Accenture, comments, “One of the most significant trends we’ve seen in the last few years is the increase use of the temporary workforce, whether that’s part-timers, contractors, consultants, or outsource partners.  The HR organisation needs the ability to manage that extended work force as if that work force was still a single homogeneous entity from a corporate point of view.”

It allows organisations to access and tap into global talent pools to obtain the best skills at the best price, but, as Ives points out, the challenge lies in bringing that talent into the business most effectively. “The Increased the complexity for the HR department to manage this temporary, external and global workforce is certainly a key challenge and one that HRO is looking to address.”

Being responsible for the organisation’s hiring and firing strategies, HR needs to redefine its goals and activities, in line with maximising the strategic value of managing an extended workforce.  This may mean new skills, new roles and organisational structures.

“The move towards using a temporary workforce has been a response to the GFC, where organisations need to become far more agile. Being able to be leaner, being able to be more agile, being able to respond more to changes and business demands, means resource and talent demands become more critical.”

Traditionally work was organised in hierarchies according to jobs and roles. “Tomorrow, it will be characterized by dynamically configured teams of workers who may not be an organisation’s permanent employees”.

Ives concludes, “Instead of a single enterprise with full-time employees and a recognizable, enduring hierarchy, companies will increasingly be comprised of formal employees and an ever-shifting global network of contractors, temporary staff, business partners, outsourcing providers and members of the general public”.

Russell is the Managing Director for Accenture Operations in Australia. With over 25 years’ experience he is an acknowledged leader in leveraging Business Process Outsourcing to drive improved business performance. Russell’s specialties include Shared Services, Business Process Outsourcing, Process Transformation and Re-engineering across a number of different industries.  Russell has both a Bachelor and Masters degree from the University of Melbourne. 


August 20, 2014
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