Managing Flexible Workforce

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Managing Flexible Workforce - Strategic HRM Considerations

Felipe Caamano

Keller School of Management


Staffing is the process of acquiring, deploying, and retaining a workforce of sufficient quantity and quality to create positive impacts on the organization’s effectiveness and thus is a critical organizational function concerned with the acquisition, deployment, and retention of the organization’s workforce.

The complexity of work and projects being done in organizations today are becoming overly complex both in terms of scope and reach. This spans over multiple geographies, time zones, cultures and teams. The work force today has now become diversified with employees coming from countries such as Argentina, China, South Africa and Philippines. Traditional models of communication and knowledge sharing don’t work in all these contexts and hence there is a dire need for alternatives if the organizations today are keen sustaining their growth and profitability. Organizations are increasingly looking at flexible workforces to deliver their services across geographies and cultures to suit their business needs and cost constraints. However most organizations and human resource departments have limited experience in handling flexible workforces. Organizations have traditionally looked at flexible workforce as a contingency and not as a strategic tool.

For most organizations a workforce is also an expensive proposition and cost of doing business. Since service- providing industries now dominate our economy, matters of employee cost and whether the organization is acquiring a high quality workforce loom large for many organizations. A shift from viewing employees as just a cost of doing business to valuing employees as human capital that creates competitive advantage and having financial implication for the organization is gradually occurring. Organizations that can deliver superior customer service much of which is driven by highly knowledgeable employees with fine- tuned customer service skills, have a definite advantage over their competitors. Without a competent and talented workforce, organizations will stagnate and eventually perish as the right employees are the most important resources of companies today (Constantine, n.d.).

Problem Statement (0.5 Page)

The problem that the organizations now face is to how to mesh the management of flexible workforce within their organizations and how to train and enable their human resource and line management functions to be able to use flexible workforce as strategic tool.

Topical Area and Literature Review

Organizations are combinations of physical, financial, and human capital wherein the human capital refers to the knowledge, skill, and ability of people and their motivation to use them successfully on the job. The organization’s workforce is essentially a stock of human capital it acquires, deploys, and retains to attain outcomes such as profitability, market share, customer satisfaction, and environmental sustainability.

There are many indications of this critical role of staffing in today’s organizations:

1.The positive impacts staffing can have on organization effectiveness.

2.Acquisition and retention of Leadership talent which is at a premium. The exiting leader carries a wealth of knowledge and skill out of the organization and leaves a hole that may be hard to fill, especially with someone of equal or higher leadership stature. The leader may also take other key employees along, thus increasing the exit impact.

3. Organizations also recognize that talent hunts and loading up on talent are ways to expand organization value and provide protection from competitors. Unique and rare talent pools of this sort can serve as a source of competitive advantage for the organization for an extended time period.

4. Employee shortages often require disruptive adjustments, such as...
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