Talent fluidity is the new kid on workforce block

Speed, agility driving fluidity

By Gail Lethbridge

SeasonedPros Content Lead

The term “talent fluidity” entered the workplace lexicon sometime during the pandemic when businesses and workers were facing lockdowns and work went remote.

Talent fluidity describes the dynamic and rapid movement of workers around organizations, in and out of projects and through different workplaces. 

Like so many things, talent fluidity started out as a temporary fix, but it was an idea that stuck. And now, it is changing the very definition of work, growth and wealth generation. 

A rethink of talent strategy is needed

Talent fluidity in the labour market is being driven primarily by the demand for talent itself. It is also fuelled by technology which is forcing changes in business models and cycles.

Organizations coping with talent gaps are being forced to reconsider how they configure jobs, source talent, and redeploy workers already in their ranks. The static workforce of full-time jobs is giving way to new dynamic models.

Leaders have realized that agility and speed are necessary to keep up with the tsunami of change washing over the work world. Jobs are now being parsed into smaller projects.

Changing definition of talent

Forward-thinking human resource leaders have realized that the key to talent retention and acquisition is giving employees opportunities to learn and pursue new career paths. The other key is allowing talent to work when, where and how much it wishes to work.

The other driver for fluidity is the expanding definition of talent itself. Organizations of all sizes are now being required to consider the need for diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility and environment and sustainability. 

When that talent isn’t available internally, organizations look elsewhere to source – or in some cases they “rent” talent on an interim basis. This furnishes organizations with the right knowledge and skillsets to achieve business goals. 

White-collar side hustles fuelling the gig economy

For talent, fluidity presents rich opportunities. Recently retired or downsized senior professionals workers want to keep working and contributing for many reasons.

Side hustles used to be something workers did between jobs or to supplement their income with small gigs. Now the concept has gone mainstream for workers and organizations that are adopting the freelance fluid model.

Senior talent is now acquainting itself with the opportunities of project-based work available on job platforms.

These gig workers are valuable to organizations because they bring knowledge acquired through up-skilling, re-skilling and cross-skilling through different jobs and experiences. Change is not a problem for these workers because change is normal. 

The emergence of the blended workplace

These conditions are resulting in hybrid workplaces with a blend of full-time leaders and managers working with professional gig workers who have been externally sourced to fit projects. In some cases, those fluid gig workers are c-suite professionals who are making the decisions.

If people are the most valuable assets in an organization, then those who wish to recruit and retain a quality workforce will have to embrace “talent fluidity.” 

This will future-proof an organization and ready it for the unseen challenges to come.

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