Gig working, interim hire, consultancy. All these nuances on an alternative to full time employment have taken on new value in the changing world of work.
Digitisation and new lifestyle considerations have opened the gates to seeing the way we recruit in a more strategic light. However, what are the business benefits of this new world of interim hire, especially at c-suite and senior management level?
More and more businesses are going gig
In case we needed documented proof, a study by Ernst & Young showed that businesses are gravitating towards the gig economy. The reasons? The economic advantages, the greater access to cloud computing and other technologies, the availability of the right talent, and a changing way in which businesses are managed.
In their survey, 49% of large organisations (100,000 employees or more) said they increased their use of gig workers in the last five years. 40% expected to increase their use of contingent workers in the next five years. A quarter expected 30% or more of their workforce to be contingent workers by 2020.
The same survey also showed a very high rate of employee satisfaction amongst gig workers. 73% reported positively on the arrangements they had with clients. 66% believed the benefits of contingent working outweighed the downsides. Just 6% believed the opposite.
Immediate business benefits of interim hire
The benefits that interim hire poses to business vary according to situation and company requirements. But it is exactly this flexibility that’s at the root of its appeal. It can be plugged into the needs, situation and budgets available.
In the initial instance, the speed of interim hire means that positions are not left empty for an extended period of time, leading to a lack of organisation. It can also mean that in the case of a particular project or crisis management, an expert can be brought into the position quickly and effectively.
Of course, the expert knowledge that an interim hire brings to a company, and the opportunities for valuable knowledge transfers to other members of the team is also an often overlooked benefit. In our book, The Gig Economy, we discuss the ecosystem effect of the new gig culture. That’s the ability to bring in new knowledge by recruiting interim team members. They are constantly learning through their portfolio style careers, and it’s to the mutual benefit of all involved. There is also an impartiality to interim hire. That allows for a new perspective to be brought to plans and situations, which full time team members may be too close to see.
Value for money:
Equally, one of the most immediate benefits of interim hire is value for money. There’s a likelihood of adhering to delivery times on projects and goals because they have been recruited with specific targets in mind. Those goals are not muddied by the admin of daily grind.
Long term benefits of strategic use of interim hire
All of these are very much immediate benefits that companies can expect from incorporating interim hire into their team. By making it a part of the overarching business strategy however, there are longer term wins that companies are beginning to benefit from.
The cost of space:
One of these benefits is the option to reduce the physical footprint of an organisation. The changes in the way we contract work can have a significant impact on the way we use space. Businesses now think more creatively and with more precision about how, why and where they employ members of their teams.
If you could minimise costs and maximise productivity, then surely you would? So how creative can you be? Do you need an office space at all? Or can you be entirely virtual, conducting meetings in hired office rooms and public places? Will you limit the size of the space you occupy by doing as the Japanese do and have stand up meetings designed with the express purpose of keeping them short, sweet and functional?
Accessing a greater pool of relevant talent:
There is also the question of the availability of the right talent. Many companies have reported increasing difficulty over the last decade in finding the right level of talent that want to come and work in a full time position.
The confluence of socio-economic changes, technology and attitudes to work means that recruiting gig workers at the C-Suite level not only makes good business sense, it’s a way of life in demand. There is a demographic that has grown up in offices and now want ‘out’ but still want to work. Meanwhile, Millennials have a different set of lifestyle goals with a greater emphasis on work life balance than previous generations.
This longer term, more strategic use of interim hire is part of a much larger strategy that a business can benefit from.
Understanding how to incorporate interim is at the heart of gigCMO. We offer interim hire at a senior leadership level ranging from marketing strategy to corporate strategy and procurement analysis. That includes the strategic insight to make it work for the growth and benefit of your organisation.