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Time to Reflect on your Talent Strategy for 2023?


I have recently returned from an extended holiday to the USA.  As you may imagine, I had plenty of time for chats - meeting extended family for the first time, catching up with old friends, striking up random chats with fellow travellers in restaurants, and engaging with others queuing at Disney World.  As conversations progressed, it struck me that several of these people were senior leaders.  

Typically, the question that follows “you’re having a 7-week holiday?” is “what sort of work do you do?”  I outlined my role as chief people officer having co-founded Leaders on Demand and shared how our team supports CEOs and their teams through flexible, variable cost deployments.    

When in Australia, the usual response to this goes one of two ways: 

  1. From experienced leaders: “That’s awesome – how do I join?"
  2. From CEOs and their executive teams: “That’s a great business model - I wish I’d known about you before, when [insert moment when performance was paramount]…” 

 But while travelling in the US, the response from experienced leaders was different. Although they hadn’t heard of Leaders on Demand, they were very familiar with the business model and in fact, had used similar services. I was curious and started digging… why? The on-demand business model is well developed in the US and the shift from talent acquisition to talent on demand is well-established. 

Companies such as Catalant, Fivver, Upwork have already revolutionised the freelancer economy in the US – all with their own niche and differentiation. Leadership teams are used to leveraging the benefits of flexible talent, especially in high change environments, as evidenced during recent years where Covid-19 played havoc with planning cycles. 

A survey of over 1000 medium to large business owners, conducted by Fivver in June 2022, identified that: 

  • with the impact of rising inflation and costs impacting their business 78% are more likely to engage with freelance talent to fill gaps in their workforce during times of economic uncertainty  
  • eight in 10 leaders said independent flexible talent can help companies during times of economic downturn. 

 On the supply side, ‘freelancing’ is booming with more than 47% of US employees saying that they have a side-hustle. Based on the continued growth of Leaders on Demand – the desire for flexible work is confirmed by the experienced c-suite leaders joining our team. 

 With talent markets tight, the dynamics of the economic cycle and talent seeking increased flexibility, now is the time to reflect on your talent strategy for the year ahead. 

  1. Are you managing existing talent well within your organisation?
  2. Is there an opportunity to supplement talent acquisition with talent mobility?
  3. What are you doing to develop existing talent to meet your (and their) priorities?
  4. If talent wasn’t the constraint, how would that change execution of your priorities?
  5. If you supplemented your team with on demand flexible talent, which problem would you address that you’ve struggled to solve? 

 If there’s anything I learned from my conversations in the US, it’s that there’s an accepted approach for CEOs and C-suite in times of uncertainty and high change – draw on flexible talent to support your team, rather than just continue rely on the same old strategies of the past. 

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author. This article provides general information, does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.