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The Company of the Future Will Have No Employees

In the latest podcast by Industry Insights by SAP, Josephine Monberg interviews Arun Srinivasan, General Manager of SAP Fieldglass, about how organizations are countering disruption with the flexibility made possible by contingent labor and services providers. Arun gave his take on what the workforce of the future will look like and how companies can use technology to manage external labor effectively.

“The definition of what employment is, or the relationship between the employer and the employee, is changing,” notes Arun. “There is a segment of the population emerging that chooses to engage in a different form. They’re not necessarily looking for lifetime employment,” he says.

This increased interest in project-based or contingent labor jobs is a clear trend. But the topic can be sensitive for some people, and job security is top-of-mind when thinking about different types of employment. Arun explains how he introduces the topic of contingent labor when talking to others: “I like to challenge people that I talk to by saying that the company of the future will have no employees. And then they usually say, what are you talking about? Are you crazy? But it’s just a thought-provoking statement that is really intended to make the big businesses think about the total workforce. So yes, you have employees, but you also have other kinds of workers who are coming to help your business be competitive, produce different goods, deliver services, and so on.”

Arun believes the contingent labor is not going to take over completely; there will always be a need for traditional employees. But the external workforce will increasingly augment them. Many business models already work very successfully this way. Take the movie industry, for example, “where a talented group of people come together and make a great movie and then move on. Some of them may be employees, and some of them may be external workers,” Arun points out. “Businesses are going to think more about the total workforce and how they can get the best group of people together to deliver the outcome or project.”

It is extremely beneficial for companies to examine their total workforce when trying to be more competitive. Getting the best talent is always a challenge, and technology is a key aspect that can help drive top-tier contingent labor models.

“Having technology for increased engagement of external workers is more important than ever because you want clear visibility, you want to control your costs, and you also want to be compliant with local labor laws and other guidelines,” Arun advises. “If this is what we’re going to be working like in the future and you don’t have a technology platform that can help you manage it, then you’re probably not going to perform that well.”

Contingent labor matches people with jobs and projects that are best suited for them. As people grow and evolve, what they work on will change accordingly. Projects will have increased value because there will be specialized workers giving 100% to certain projects. It is certainly an exciting future to think about. To learn more about how contingent labor may transform the workforce, listen to Arun and Josie discuss this important topic on Industry Insights by SAP.

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