We are looking at a new world, so they say, where there will be increasingly less permanent, full time jobs and the extensive use, in most organizations, of freelance workers and temporary and contract assignments. It may not seem to make sense in organizations that “talk the good talk”. They may say that they value employee engagement and may talk about employees as the company’s best asset, but they will increasingly welcome strangers with whom they will have no long-term relationship. Nevertheless, that is what they say. There may be some pretence involved, arguing that underemployed people in the future may be even happier hustling for contract assignments and having more spare time, even though less money to enjoy it as fully as possible.
If that is the way it is going, then “Learning and Development”, in conjunction with other HR specialties are facing a major challenge. How can we ensure that our business operations continue to operate smoothly with so many changing faces, many with no long-term vested interest?
Our learning and orientation processes will be critical, together with a pre-screened pool of available workers – to the extent possible. L & D (Learning and Development) will need to coordinate, source or develop, the selection assessment tools (involved in recruiting) and initial training for temporary/contract workers as they enter our workforce. The new person may already have completed an initial familiarization (L & D in conjunction with recruiting) and the self-learning, after starting with the organization, could cover the following areas:
- Familiarity with the business, working conditions, applicable policies and reporting requirements and pay for work processes
- Compliance and legally required “training” online e.g. health and safety, diversity and harassment related, company values
- Generic job training (by work classification) including its link with business goals
- Specific job function training at which point the new employee’s supervisor will become involved and formally welcome the person and cover all the specific details
I anticipate that L & D will maintain the master records for all the freelance, temporary and assignment workers. This is necessary for legal and communications reasons and to ensure that performance records (rehire status) are consolidated centrally as the person could be assigned to or have worked for various departments within the company. There would be considerable overlap with the HR hiring function, but requisitions would be passed to L & D to initiate contact with a desired individual. The main benefits are:
- A pre-qualified pool of temporary/contract employees would be ready to call at any time and with centralized control (L & D) assignment of candidates would be handled in a fair manner based on departmental demands
- Validation of the suitability of a candidate may be based on centralized performance reports from previous assignments, kept centrally
- To keep the best coming back, there may even be incentives based on total cumulative time worked for the organization, including consideration for permanent jobs when they become available
What do you think? The challenge is major and based on the need for temporary/contract employees to be as productive as possible as quickly as possible, it seems an appropriate challenge for L & D to spearhead the program in conjunction with recruiting. This would not replace other L & D responsibilities, particularly management/supervisor training, but should enable the many aspects of contract hiring to be efficiently centralized and temporary staffing needs to be met with the minimum delay and with the best available people.
If the way we are to staff our organizations will change as predicted, is it an appropriate and major challenge for L & D, for recruiting, for HR in general? I look forward to any thoughts and comments you may have on this subject. Is it the way we should go? Is the way I described one way it could be handled?
Thank you for your interest.