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How To Create a Flexible Workforce

Jan 16, 2024

Workplace flexibility has been top of mind for businesses across industries in recent years, but the need for elasticity doesn’t simply extend to your work arrangement. Leaders are quickly adopting the idea of a flexible workforce to help them navigate uncertainty. This can help your company ensure you have plenty of workers when you need them, while saving money and resources when you don’t. Here’s everything you need to know when utilizing a flexible workforce at your organization.

Considering a Flexible Workforce

Before considering how an elastic workforce can be a boon to your business, it’s important to understand what this means. A flexible workforce essentially grows in number to meet needs at any given time and reduces down to a baseline number when a larger size is no longer needed. This can mean any mix of full-time, part-time and contingent workers you see fit. Your employee needs are likely to change depending on the nature of your business and this strategy aims to work for your unique situation.

The concept of a flexible workforce is quickly gaining recognition as a valuable way to meet variable demand. This is especially true for industries in which seasonal shifts consistently impact demand for products and services.

Employing an elastic workforce can help your business see benefits including:

  • Fast access to well-qualified workers: With a more flexible strategy in place, you’re able to access workers faster than traditional methods. This is a necessity to manage changes in demand because it’s difficult to be constantly aware of exactly how many team members you’ll need and when you’ll need them.
  • A larger pool of skilled talent to work with: Flexibility is also of growing interest and priority to employees. This means instituting flexibility into different aspects of your organization can give you access to a wider range of external talent that might not have been available before.
  • Happier workers: New hires are typically enthusiastic about their work and employees in general value a chance to learn and grow. Because of this, flexible workers are likely to be much happier than those in a more traditional role. Utilizing skilled, contingent workers can quickly boost morale throughout your company.
  • Reduced overhead costs: Because an elastic workforce flexes to meet your short-term and long-term goals, you can ensure you have the right amount of workers at the right time. Labor is costly, even more so when you have too many workers in a period of low demand. As a result, the capital you can save on unnecessary employees can improve profitability or be reinvested back into your organization.

A Guide to Building a Flexible Workforce

While the benefits of a flexible workforce are clear, it can feel daunting trying to implement these new systems into your organization. However, these processes don’t need to be difficult. With a guide to follow, and the help of beneficial tools, utilizing an elastic workforce can be seamless.

The best practices for creating a successful flexible workforce include:

  • Determining where you need help: Before you can make any decisions, it’s best to consider how your current systems have operated over the years. This is critical to give an employer an overview of when the company has had too many workers or not enough employees to keep pace. As a result, an employer can more intelligently determine where and when you need help, as well as specifics such as whether you need full-time, part-time or temporary help.
  • Finding the approach that works for you: Flexibility has come to touch multiple aspects of the workplace, and it will be necessary to recognize where a more flexible and adaptable system can benefit your organization. Implementing the use of an elastic workforce gives contingent workers greater flexibility in terms of deciding which jobs they can take on at the time.
  • Standardizing your procurement practices: Freelancers or contingent workers are the foundation of a flexible workforce. However, you need standardized systems in place for finding and managing this external talent to ensure the process is as efficient as possible.
  • Encouraging a healthy work-life balance: Introducing flexibility means understanding that employees need to find a suitable balance between their work and home life. Utilizing contingent workers in an optimized way not only ensures that your business can maintain productivity and improve efficiency, but also prioritizes employee wellbeing in the process.
  • Understanding the workforce resources available to you: When working to standardize your procurement practices, it’s helpful to find a specific solution that works for you. Leveraging advanced platform technology like Employbridge allows your organization to build and manage a flexible workforce with ease.

Implementing Proper Management Practices

Utilizing an elastic workforce also requires a focus on what your workforce management will look like moving forward. Luckily, quality management should be a priority no matter what kind of system you employ. However, there are a few practices to consider to ensure your flexible workforce is managed in the most efficient and effective way.

Techniques to improve your management when implementing employee flexibility include:

1. Cultivating a culture of respect and trust

When it comes to leveraging an elastic workforce, it’s essential not to underestimate the importance and impact of company culture. According to TeamStage, 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers say that a healthy culture at work is vital for success and 86% of job seekers avoid companies with a bad reputation. Cultivating a positive culture of trust and respect is a necessity to keep your employees happy, as well as ensure any freelancers, independent contractors or external talent will be interested in staying long-term or returning. This will be vital as companies continue to navigate high employee turnover rates.

2. Prioritizing communication

Whether workplace flexibility means introducing an elastic workforce or a more flexible working arrangement, communication is key. In fact, a report from Pumble found that 86% of employees and executives cite the lack of effective collaboration and communication as themain causes of workplace failures. Proper communication will be a linchpin in creating a united workforce that understands exactly what is expected of them — ensuring employee engagement, productivity and efficiency are maintained.

3. Treating all of your employees equally

Fair and consistent treatment of employees is a growing expectation, and it’s equally important this treatment extends to contingent workers along with full-time employees. This will be essential to promote employee satisfaction from the entirety of your workforce — who value an employer or manager that cares about their teams and believes every member has something important to add.

4. Maintaining a focus on results

Keeping productivity high is always a priority and a clear focus on what needs to be done to drive operational efficiency can keep managers on course. If you’re working to cultivate better business results, leverage management techniques to ensure your teams are on the same page and are able to stay on track. This can help bring about increased productivity and organizational success.

These management tips are a beneficial way to support an elastic workforce, however, the introduction of technology and tools can streamline this process even further. With the help of data-driven technology and analytics from Employbridge, you can significantly upgrade your performance management with ease.

Read on to learn more about how Employbridge’s platform technology can help your organization utilize a flexible workforce and upgrade your management systems successfully.

Implementing Proper Management Practices

Despite a large number of organizations being aware of predictable fluctuating demand, traditional hourly staffing remains rigid. Companies need a more dynamic solution that allows them to remain at peak performance — no matter what demand looks like at the time.

That’s where Employbridge’s elastic hourly workforce comes into play. Not only does Employbridge’s advanced platform technology give you access to a wide range of skilled workers but it also gives you a number of alternative benefits as well — all at your fingertips. This workforce-as-a-service solution supports your organization’s processes including recruitment, scheduling, time-tracking, compliance and more.

These tools can help your organization alleviate the costs of traditional recruiting and hiring, scale your teams to meet variable demand, eliminate costly vacancies and, most importantly, drive better business outcomes.

If you’re ready to employ a flexible workforce that benefits your business, contact us today to learn more and get started.

Worker wearing blue shirt smiling - flexible workforce

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