Adapt to attract talent in the gig economy

Tip Sheet

In a recent Ernst & Young article, Nancy Altobello, global vice chair of talent at EY, writes about the negative impact of the “age of disruption” on companies’ ability to attract and retain talent.

She discusses the “gig economy” – the employment trend revolving around freelance projects and flexible work hours – as a barrier for companies searching for skilled talent. The article cites a 2015 survey by Upwork and Freelancers Union reporting that 34 percent of the U.S. workforce freelances.

Altobello says the accelerated boom in technological innovation is the reason for this drastic change in the labor market and companies of all sizes must realign their talent priorities.

She suggests three ways to navigate talent challenges amid market disruption:

Learn to love flexibility

Flexibility is a major attraction for freelancers and the self-employed. From remote work opportunities to seasonal work schedules, flexibility offerings for employees will help companies directly compete with the gig economy for skilled talent.

Adopt an “intrapreneurial” spirit

Ernst & Young’s “predictable time off” practice – a shared calendar on which team members post non-work conflicts they have on evenings and weekends – is one way the company encourages its employees to be “intrapreneurial,” entrepreneurial-minded within the larger organization. A company that encourages innovation by enacting an “intrapreneurial” spirit fosters productivity and attracts new talent.

Develop a stronger sense of purpose

Know your company’s purpose and then follow a business strategy that reflects that purpose. A sense of purpose will guide and validate every new business initiative and strategy. Open communication with employees will help them also develop a sense of purpose which, in turn, will encourage them to advocate for the company and recruit new talent.

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