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Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, EY, Grant Thornton, Aon, Mercer… what do all these companies have in-common (other than the obvious fact that they are all consultancies)? Their aggressive move into selling the notion of “The Liquid Talent Pool”.
So what is the Liquid Talent pool exactly?
The Liquid Talent Pool isn’t a new notion, although defining it in this manner is a relatively newer phrase. It’s looking at your company’s workforce in a more agile holistic way. I’ve written about the supply chain, the gig economy and the agile workforce before and this is simply the amalgamation of all of this and the new modern employee centric business model. Most start-ups have always embraced this, your title and division don’t define you, but rather your skills, competencies and interest do. The ability to match people in an agile way to work rather than based on a hierarchical, siloed approach.
Accenture’s 2016 Liquid Workforce White Paper is a great read in helping shape and define what this all means. There are several factors that are helping shape this – from the new desire to build contingent workforces that can blend with the internal workforce (internal and external talent pools). The ability to use automation and AI to learn about what your people know and display data in real-time like never before so businesses can respond instantaneously to needs, rather than lose time working out who and what they know. Using matching technology to create internal marketplaces so employees have visibility of needs and finally new engagement and reward strategies, embedding purpose and happiness into the work-place so employees can finally develop skills and passions at work.
One issue that may be the case, and one can assume that this is the case as management consultancies tend to sell a solution to a well-defined need, is the ability to change your business model to embrace the Liquid approach. How easy is it to break down silos, embrace the ‘contingent worker’ concept, roll-out technology and allow your employees more autonomy? From my experience working directly in this space it’s hard but getting easier.
As mentioned at the start, the consultancies are selling it, that gives the market confidence. With technology, companies are advancing and education the market quicker. The SaaS cloud market has meant the actual technical side of life is at an all-time low in terms of complications to deploy. The ‘Millennial’ mindset now makes up a large proportion of the workforce and with that comes a new attitude into the work-place. One that is more opening to digital transformation, accepts change quicker and uncertainty more easily based around on the way they lead their lives already. All of these are contributing factors that businesses can take advantage of, but quite simply…if the notion of ‘the liquid talent pool’ can increase utilization and profitability then companies will find a way to make it work.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll be looking at examples of businesses employing the liquid model.
This article has been originally featured on Fresh Business Thinking.
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