What Will Happen When You No Longer ‘Own’ Talent?

Needs-based employment is hardly a new phenomenon. Since even before the Industrial Age, when a business needed a toolmaker, an accountant or some other skilled worker, it hired one. It then “owned” one, as Bryan Clifton describes the relationship.

That’s still the norm today, though the relationship is changing, and changing fast. Now, says Clifton, speaking last year to a DisruptHR audience in Oklahoma City, when an employer needs a certain kind of talent for a project, it hires a contractor.

Employers may be embracing this practice, but much of the trend is being driven by workers. “We are all freelancers,” says Clifton, explaining, “Whenever you own your ability to implement your talent based on the needs of the market, not based on the needs or the demands of the contract you signed.”

And with that, the founder and CEO of the business leadership consultancy Myriad Insight, has set the stage for a look at implications of this shift.

It means, he says, that freelancers will have to market themselves and learn how and where to sell their services. They’ll need to create networks.

For employers, says Clifton, they’ll have to become more agile,  knowing how to look at work in project terms, sourcing talent as needed, instead of having it on-demand, in-house. “Businesses that are able to be agile and able to attract and access talent when needed, they’re the ones that are going to benefit from this new marketplace,” he adds.

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And company culture will change. “What does the culture of your business look like whenever half of your team are temporary workers?” Clifton asks, concluding, “You have the ability to disrupt what is going to be the new future. I hope that you see this as an opportunity to be seized, and not an obstacle to be avoided. Go find ways to access talent – and stop trying to own it.”

Note: In partnership with DisruptHR, TLNT presents some of the best Disrupt presentations from events across North America and now the world. Disrupt talks are modeled on the TEDx concept: Short, to the point talks on all things HR — talent, culture and technology.