#TChat Recap: Blended Workforce Benefits and Staffing Challenges

The days of full-time or part-time employees have given way to the blended workforce — a mix of independent contractors, freelance workers and self-employed entrepreneurial talent working alongside full-time colleagues.

This week, the TalentCulture community talked about the many benefits of a blended workforce and the staffing challenges a blended workforce creates. With our guest Sunil Bagai, Founder and CEO of Zenith Talent, we had a fantastic conversation about this growing movement and how it’s impacting the world of recruiting, hiring and overall workforce management.

Employers are now hiring record numbers of contingent workers and relying on a mix of employees to achieve organizational goals. Not only that, research shows that these workers are happier, have achieved greater work-life integration and are profiting on their own. That’s welcome news for both employers and workers.

But building and managing a blended workforce presents challenges on many fronts — particularly when it comes to effectively sourcing and hiring contingent workers. Employers need to think about — and hire — talent differently.

Listen to the recording and review the #TChat highlights to learn more.

Thank you to all the TalentCulture sponsors, partners and supporters!

#TChat returns Wednesday, Nov 18 @ 1 pm ET/10 am PT. Topic: How Wellness Programs Improve Employee Performance with special guest Ann Wyatt, vice president, account management at HealthFitness. The #TChat radio show runs weekly for 30 minutes and then we switch to Twitter for a highly engaging social discussion on the chosen topic.

Join our social communities and stay up-to-date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream, in our LinkedIn group and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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Commit To Building New Leadership Habits

What is it you want to accomplish in 2015? What steps and actions will you take to achieve your goals?

Chances are your first thought was about improving your direct work product, productivity or domain skills rather than improving your competencies as a manager. However, if your goals include a career and performance leap, improving your leadership skills may be the decisive factor in your success.

Most managers and executives work hard, but hard work isn’t the same as leading the way. Harvard Business Review, McKinsey and Gallup cite how managers spend their time as the root cause of many terrible employee statistics – too much time is spent on low-level tasks like getting and reporting facts and not enough is spent communicating goals, holding people accountable, and providing coaching and feedback.

A giant career and performance leap requires a real leap in leadership and management practices because achieving truly remarkable results requires a team of people wholly aligned and committed to ambitious shared goals coupled with management discipline to drive transparency and high-velocity execution.

Assess Your Current Management Practices

Well-understood goals and metrics, clarity on the specific actions required to achieve those goals, progress accountability and feedback and reward practices are the hallmarks of good management. Assess your current management practices with these questions:

  1. When was the last time you communicated goals to the team, and how frequently did you communicate them in 2014?
  2. When was the last time you communicated specific feedback to each member of the team, and how frequently did you in 2014?
  3. What are your top priorities and strategic initiatives for the first half of the year? How well can you articulate them yourself?
  4. What are your top 10 deliverables in the next 30 days?
  5. How long does it take you to get execution status from team members on goals and how frequently do you get it?

How would your team members answer similar questions? Do you know what their career aspirations are, and how your feedback helps them achieve those goals? How effective are the managers and leaders on your team?

People can’t achieve goals they don’t understand or care about, can’t get motivated when they don’t feel appreciated, won’t follow through if no one is accountable, and can’t improve without feedback.

Resolve to Manage Better To Achieve More

Building new management competencies and leading your team to remarkable achievements means developing new habits and practices.

The framework and infographic below can help you create new habits that will you accomplish more in 2015.

Baseline: Establish systems of transparency on goals, priorities, committed actions, and progress to plan to create accountability and the capacity for better leadership.

Anchor on Mondays: Anchor your week and your actions with your intention to lead your team to great achievement (versus muscle it yourself). Get centered on strategic goals and assess what’s needed to achieve them.

Mission on Tuesdays: Reinforce the goals and metrics that matter for your team. Ensure team activities wholly align with goal achievement through direct engagement and assess goal gaps early in the week.

Coach on Wednesdays: Invest time in enabling your team members to succeed. Rather than asking for status, ask what you can do to help. Listen to the answers and work to provide the help requested.

Execute on Thursdays: Allocate the full day to executing what you need to achieve personally. Guard against diversions on misaligned or reactionary activities (e.g., ignore email missiles!) so you spend a full eight hours accomplishing priority work.

Invest on Fridays: Tune into your team and reflect on your top, mid and bottom performers and their unique needs and contributions. Allocate time to advancing their careers by providing direct feedback, support for training or skill-building programs or opportunities to excel.

Rejuvenate on Saturdays: Don’t work, not even a little. Renew your energy with exercise and enjoyment. Give yourself permission to set work aside for the day to give your mind the day off.

Reflect on Sundays: Bring your inspirations and aspirations consciously to mind on Sunday evening; reconnect with your resolution to drive remarkable achievement. Drop all doubt about your ability to achieve.

The daily themes will help keep you from sliding back into old habits and reacting to what comes at you.

Week by week, habits will align more closely to intentions, the mission will be clearer to the team, the quality of coaching will get better, execution more consistent and your ultimate results will be stellar.

About the Author: Deidre Paknad is currently the CEO of Workboard, Inc. Workboard provides apps for managers and their teams to share goals, action items, status and feedback and to automate status reports and dashboards, and is free for teams.

photo credit: ErinBerzelPhotography-4390 via photopin (license)

The New Workplace Social Contract of Go, Go, Go

I remember the fear of actually finishing something. Then the fear of executing that something. And then the fear of never quite being good enough. And then the fear of being crushed under the weight of overcritical judgments again and again.

And then again, I remember the pleasure of being pushed to perform, even in the face of failure, to reach for the sky.

Get to 80 percent and go, go, go.

No words have ever been sweeter for employees today. I heard them recently. Have you?

I certainly hope so, because if you work in a risk-adverse, top-down-tyranny culture where entrepreneurial employees who are adaptive and innovative are not welcome – well, you are in a world of personal pain. And if you’re one of the high performers, even in the face of tyranny, then you’re more than likely to go, go, go.


Yes, we keep talking incessantly about how bad the relationship is between employees and employers. Yes, we get it. It’s bad.

But even with the limited solutions that are offered today in the world of work, none has been actionable enough; we just keep playing misery shuffleboard.

Unless your company moves beyond its misery and doesn’t worry so much about getting the go-to-market branding strategy 100 percent perfect to market and sell your stuff. (Your company does market and sell stuff, even you’re a non-profit, you know.)

Combine iterating over and over until you almost never get it right with working for a leadership team that punishes you either way you go, go, go, and again, you’re gone.

Employers aren’t going to succeed long term in such an increasingly competitive environment. Instead, they must feverishly work on keeping their employees engaged, something that has become all the more difficult in recent years (and most of whom fail).

And that means encouraging continuous adaption, innovation and good old-fashioned failure. Because within a highly communicative and collaborative culture, regardless of how dispersed your workforce is, getting to 80 percent of go-time is where it’s at.

That’s why the continuous impetus to improve engagement is clear and is the new social contract between employees and employers; the fact that we need to move fast, fail together, and ultimately excel tangibly and intangibly. This is how companies will drive long-term business outcomes and retain high performers.

The 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research report found that the vast majority (78 percent) of business leaders rate retention as either urgent or important. Moreover, research from many sources continues to show that employee engagement is still a major issue for companies around the globe, with only 13 percent of employees worldwide considered to be actively engaged.

This is likely due to the traditional and transactional “contract” between employees and employers; employees are expected to do their job, and they get compensated for it – no questions asked or else. However, this approach does little to actually engage employees who increasingly want to feel that they are valued and have a bright future with the company – a paycheck isn’t enough.

If individuals don’t receive the experience they increasingly want – where they feel the employer is committed to their ongoing development and helping set the stage for a long and successful tenure of reciprocal growth, they will seek to go elsewhere. In order to truly engage and encourage continuous collaborative execution without fear of failure to succeed, organizations must evolve their talent performance management practices to drive talent engagement strategies and determine how they can provide a more rewarding experience.

Exactly what Marla Gottschalk, Ph.D., Industrial & Organizational Psychologist and Director of Thought Leadership at Kilberry Leadership Advisors, and Chip Joyce, CEO and Co-founder of Allied Talent, told us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show.

The fact that building a new bridge between employees and their employers starts when we take the time to understand each others’ needs. Helping each other manage priorities that ultimately propel the business in a positive direction (on most analytical accounts) will make all difference. Part of what makes an organization healthy is keeping organizational goals aligned with employees’ goals.

But it’s not just about work; it’s about making a difference through the belief in what we’re doing. Employees want to know that they have an opportunity to make a difference at work and perhaps in the world. This can’t happen until employees and employers have the necessary “relationship” in place, and we can’t get there unless we can adapt, evolve and advance – i.e., change for the better.

Our PeopleFluent marketing team recently had the opportunity to meet with Claire Schooley, principal analyst for Forrester Research on Application Development & Delivery Professionals. We discussed a variety of topics, but the most insightful one was on change management. The fact that the speed of business leaves most companies and their workforces in the dust shall we say, and they need to be able make changes quickly and keep employee continuously developed and aligned with company goals. This is how we stay “frosty” and competitive in today’s complex global economy. One of the keys is that HR professionals actually play a leadership role in managing this critical organizational change in order to drive successful business outcomes.

We can talk all we want about creating a new workplace contract, but unless we invest in changing the culture and sustain change management, we’re not go, go, going anywhere.

It’s time for the new workplace social contract of go, go, go. Hey, I’m feeling blessed at 80 percent.

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman is currently a Marketing Director at PeopleFluent, where he’s responsible for content marketing, product marketing, and social media outreach. Kevin also co-founded the TalentCulture “World of Work” community and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro.

photo credit: Gavin Craigie via photopin cc