Ilya Bonic, President, Career, Mercer.
Can you picture the concept of Human Capital as a Service?
Think of it as the on-demand availability of trusted talent for your organization, when and where you need it, without actually having to “own” the talent. Imagine executing such a talent strategy without relying on a traditional brick-and-mortar intermediary to organize your access to contingent labour.
In some ways, Human Capital as a Service is already here.
Human Capital as a Service was adopted early by the Field Services industry. Without enormous and costly scale in businesses such as utility services, telecommunications and cable, it’s hard to have employees at the ready in every geographic location where onsite client service might be needed. Reliable access to an on-demand labour force is a game changer in market situations like this. And, what started with Field Services is now extending into broader professional domains.
Powered by the Human Cloud …we need to understand both sides of this trend.
I recently read Sarah O’Connor’s October 2015 article in the Financial Times, “The human cloud: A new world of work.” She describes the size, scope and reach of a business model enabled by a world of virtual workers. But what I really appreciated was her exploration of the broader societal opportunity and risk of work enabled by the Human Cloud because it’s important for all of us, as human resource practitioners, to understand both sides of this trend.
One to watch in 2017: Large scale enablement of Human Capital as a Service by Freelance Management Systems (FMS).
I’m keeping a close eye on Freelance Management Systems (FMS) this year! FMS are a breakthrough technology application that allows access to the human cloud to be scaled for enterprise wide use. Examples of such platforms and technologies include WorkMarket, Upwork, FieldNation and OnForce.
FMS help curate an on-demand workforce. They enhance the level of trust by formalizing the criteria and processes by which talent is attracted, assessed, accessed and engaged for work activities. The best FMS technologies:
- Serve as a technological intermediary between a diverse range of freelance or contractor labour pools
- Have a single process flow for acquisition, engagement, review and payment of on-demand talent
- Can be configured to seamlessly integrate with key enterprise systems of record and process technologies (e.g. Workday, Oracle, SAP, ServiceNow)
- Provide actionable workforce analytics to enable continuous improvement and productivity gains
Successful companies will have “talent ecosystems”
At Mercer, we see the classical employment model breaking down. As work and employee preferences change, organisations must get creative about finding capabilities. The model shifts from traditional hiring of permanent employees to carry out work activities to managing an internal and external talent ecosystem. Successful companies of the future will think of their talent pool as an ecosystem, which they can rapidly assemble and reconfigure with tools such as FMS.