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October 09, 2017
Breaking The 100-Year-Old Industrial Workforce Model
By: Edward Miller

How will your company invest in people innovation to unleash human potential and creativity?

The future of work has already arrived, and digital leaders are fundamentally reinventing their workforces. Driven by a surge in demand for just-in-time talent and a fundamental shift in employee focus from employment to employability, on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions have emerged, and legacy models and hierarchies are being dissolved and replaced with open talent marketplaces. This resulting intelligent enterprise will be key to the rapid innovation and organizational changes that companies need to transform themselves into truly digital businesses.

This key trend from the 2017 Accenture Technology Vision highlights how workforce marketplaces will empower people to invent more and achieve more in the era of the intelligent enterprise. This year’s overarching theme, “Amplify You,” illustrates that human empowerment is at the heart of the digital revolution. Rapid advances have created a people-centric technology environment—giving individuals the power to shape technology as they see fit.


Invent Your Future

Here’s the unvarnished truth. While it differs somewhat by geography, society is basically relying on a 100-year-old industrial era workforce model: corporations emerged with hierarchical workforce structures; employees were hired for long-term roles; and regulations were introduced to provide healthcare and retirement benefits.
 
We’re living in entirely different times. Enterprises have been intensely focused on technology investments for their products and services. It’s now time to expand these innovations to their workforce. Trying to manage a digital and on-demand workforce with a 100-year-old model is not working. The future workforces of intelligent enterprises are designed for people: employees, freelancers, and crowdsourced workers who participate together in an open talent exchange.

Technology gives people the power to invent new, more inclusive ways of accomplishing work—and match the supply and demand for people and skills in a highly-personalized way. Deploying a cloud-based system like Workday puts your finance and HR functions, —and most importantly, your data—in one place, providing a more complete and accurate picture of the business. Executives and business managers are equipped with relevant, contextual finance and people insights, while providing a consistent and easy-to-use interface for all users—candidates, employees, managers, executives, and auditors. Embedded analytics and data visibility provide an end-to-end view of the talent pipeline and unparalleled insight into key requirements on a project-by-project basis to support effective build vs. buy strategies. Because Workday provides a truly unified view into finance and HR, it’s even possible to plan for re-organizations, mergers, and divestitures, faster and more seamlessly, evaluating the finance and people-related impacts of different scenarios in one system.

All of this adds up to enabling an agile organization and providing the capabilities necessary for truly embracing a workforce marketplace: identifying and placing the right talent—either within or outside of the organization—seamlessly and flawlessly supporting end-to-end talent needs.


The Workforce Marketplace in Action

In some industries, like entertainment, the workforce marketplace is already a reality. 

For one Accenture client in the entertainment industry, employee population ranges from 5,000 to 10,000 on any given day in North America (depending on the level of TV and movie production) and some 2,000 employees overseas. This client was using a legacy HR system, which contained disparate data sources that made it time consuming and tedious to merge employee data in support of budgeting and forecasting. This resulted in the CFO having limited visibility into the true basis of the company’s actual labor costs—the company’s highest cost component—against budget. A time lag in reporting also meant that what was presented to the C-suite was out-of-date and often inaccurate.

In order to build a strong foundation of high-quality, comprehensive data that could support an even more dynamic workforce marketplace, Accenture helped the company replace its legacy system with Workday, pinpointing the right data to import, and creating a seamless process for the transfer. With Workday, the CFO now has immediate access to insights that enable its finance team to make informed, data-driven decisions around labor costs, ultimately leading to cost savings and a more agile, responsive organization.

For some new startups, a workforce marketplace is part of the core business model. An on-demand grocery delivery startup valued at $2 billion with a presence in 18 metropolitan areas across the U.S., has a workforce that is constantly expanding and shifting, comprised of both full-time employees and contingent workers who serve as personal shoppers in densely populated cities across the U.S.

Workday provides the company with a single, unified system that supports a full range of people-based processes and enterprise payroll needs, enabling their vibrant workforce. In addition to real-time, accurate data about people, organizational structure, and hiring needs, Workday makes it possible to manage constant hiring, weekly payroll runs, salaried and hourly workers, and personal shopper wages that vary by city. The company has increased transparency and maintained compliance within their payroll systems, while supporting exponential growth.


Unleashing the Power of People

Businesses will ultimately use the lessons learned from incorporating on-demand labor to drive larger transformations, establishing the ‘workforce marketplace’ model, in which the organizations are designed for people and enable them to move between roles within the company, and be shared with other companies. Instead of a traditional structure where employees are hired for a single position and engaged in fixed business functions, a marketplace-like approach will support people being teamed together on-demand from project to project, based on skills, knowledge, and staffing needs.

Creating your company’s workforce marketplace will unleash the power of people. With workforce management moving online and on-demand labor matchmaking capabilities increasing rapidly, companies that expand from innovating products and services to innovating people can blaze the path to the people-first economy.

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