The human resources (HR) function within an organization has largely been a compliance and brokerage department for far too long. Most organizations put a great deal of effort into the “defensive” positioning for the HR team, especially since there are so many things that could go wrong if someone wasn’t paying attention to the following matters:
- Employee behavior (towards each other and as representatives of the organization)
- Employee morale (motivating employees, maintaining culture, and providing training)
- Hiring processes (legal compliance, proper vetting, and recruiting the best talent)
- Compensation (providing competitive benefits and salaries to attract and retain top talent)
However, while it’s important to consider the defensive strategy to support these concerns, the reality is that organizations need a resourcing department that provides competitive options for getting ahead of these challenges. This means helping management understand the options available for getting work done within an organization. Certainly, hiring employees to fill well-defined positions supports the mission of the firm, but there is so much more the HR team can bring to the table.
There are several types of workers the HR team should consider when working with a manager who has additional work to complete, or who must plan for future work as conditions change:
Independent contractors (or participants in the “gig economy”)
Independent contractors often provide a great deal of expertise or creativity that can be flexibly applied to the work within the organization. While some firms have brought in temporary workers (“temps”) to handle short bursts of grunt-labor, these same firms have overlooked the potential of these workers to provide valuable insights from their many experiences in various organizations. Sometimes it can be helpful to get a “breath of fresh air” from someone who has seen alternative ways of tackling work.
Outsourced workers / managed service providers
While “outsourcing” may have negative connotations, it often makes good business sense to let a firm with experienced workers take on one or more functions within an organization. Customer service functions have often contracted call-center operations teams to provide the 24/7/365 coverage for customer interactions that it would be too expensive or difficult to manage internally. However, outsourcing work, as with independent contractors, also offers the potential to provide a level of service to both internal and external customers that would be difficult to achieve with internal employees alone. This is often seen with IT managed service providers (MSP’s) that leverage experienced and expensive resources across multiple clients to offer capabilities that would be too costly to justify for a single organization.
Digital Workers (or “robots”)
Manufacturing firms have seen the benefits of automating activities using physical robots to, both, increase quality and reduce costs. But there is so much more to the Digital Worker than that. While human employees often are tasked with manual or repetitive activities, they generally tend to dislike that type of work. Whether it’s due to outdated systems or a complex set of rules to support an end-to-end process, humans often are tasked with doing a lot of manual activity. Not only do Digital Workers not mind the repetitive work, they thrive on it. Highly transactional activities, such as on-boarding new human employees, can be done quickly and correctly every time. And, unlike human workers, these Digital Workers never need a break, vacation, or extra motivation to get their work completed.
By offering new solutions, like a Digital Workforce, to management teams across the organization, HR can become a strategic partner by providing creative and innovative staffing options. A Digital Workforce offers the business new competitive options to win market share and increase customer satisfaction, which both lead to higher business value. If your organization hasn’t yet considered a Digital Workforce as an option for tackling common and complex tasks, then you need to look into it, because your competitors are already using Digital Workers to get ahead.