Round Table: The Future of Work

Tips and tricks to thrive in the workplace of tomorrow

Technology, automation, the gig economy—the way we work is changing. Across industries and specialties, employees are changing the way they think about work, and as a result, companies are re-thinking the way they hire employees. For many, this means a migration toward freelance and non-traditional team members.

As we begin to consider the future of work, it’s important to understand key terms. The gig economy refers to any sort of work that is short-term in nature or designed to be short-term. The human cloud focuses on the mechanism for engagement, and how labor is being leveraged, sourced, and managed through an online platform. These new modes for engaging with the workforce are driving innovation and hiring best practices.

Is your organization ready to engage with the workforce of the future? How do you see freelancers playing a role in that future? Do you know how to identify top freelance talent? On a recent webcast, Paro hosted a team of executives from a cross-section of industries to discuss these exact questions. We explore the future of work, what it looks like, and how we can best prepare to embrace it. Read more from our panel below:

Michael Burdick | Co-founder, Paro

The future of work means finding good talent and highly-qualified, highly-skilled people. This means a shift in focus toward project-based work to optimize labor at the task and skill level. With organizations free of geographic constraints, hiring managers can focus on matching very specific skills and experts with project-based needs—freelancers are becoming critical to these operations. In finance specifically, digital tech and matching algorithms are making it easier to match candidates and freelancers with companies and projects. The future of work is all about talent and making finding talent almost as simple as buying a product on Amazon.

Best practices: If you want to innovate, now is a great time to do it. Implore those around you to have an open mind and experiment with different resourcing strategies. Treat freelancers as equals–make them feel like they’re a part of the team.

Jennifer Warawa | Executive Vice President, Partners, Accountants, and Alliances, Sage

When I think about the future of work, it’s underpinned by emerging technology. For accounting and finance teams, mastering your technology program helps you feel like you’ve “arrived.” However, technology is just the beginning. As the accounting business model evolves, top talent is also changing. The next generation accountants don’t want to fit into a typical firm model. In many cases, they may have different priorities than traditional firms around diversity and inclusion. These young professionals are entrepreneurial and open to something new. For them, the gig economy is the future of work, and they see it as where they want to go with their careers.

Best practice: Having the right skills for the job at the right time can give a company a competitive advantage. Leveraging freelancers can help put the right person on your team right when you need them. Diversify your own workforce.

Paul Estes | Senior Director, Microsoft

As professionals embrace the future of work, there are three key skills that will be needed, First, systems thinking. As roles become more project-based, it’s going to be very important for everyone to navigate how to build a system and where to place this work. Second, the future of work includes leadership at every level. Even young professionals early in their career will need to consider how they are bringing effective leadership to their projects and to their teams. Lastly, the future of work will feature a network of doers. In thinking about a network for freelancers in the U.S. or globally, these are people who can do project-based work for you, help get projects done, and help re-skill your organization.

Best practice: You are going to go through a transformation and a cultural change. I’ve had to change the way I work, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve transformed. Don’t underestimate the change.

Brian Peña | Senior Vice President, Contingent Workforce Strategies, Staffing Industry Analysts

Simply put, the future of work is global. Companies must consider how can they engage talent globally and how they engage their freelance resources. Creating a structure for them to work within will be crucial in partnering with a new generation of workers. Additionally, this new way of working will change what makes a quality hire, creating value around human resources as a skill in filling the roles of tomorrow. Not only are organizations working to keep up with the future of work, but government and legislative bodies also need to respond to it as well. Current law and tax codes are more applicable to traditional W-2 workers and less responsive to the needs of a more flexible workforce. This will need to evolve in the future. 

Best practice: Try to understand what it is you’re trying to achieve. Be open to the notion of turning resourcing on and off. Think about your value proposition. Why would a top candidate want to come to work with you?

Want to learn more? Watch our latest webcast and panel discussion on YouTube!

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