The difference between winning and losing in the open talent economy

The difference between winning and losing in the open talent economy

Pontoon’s Head of Service Design & Delivery – Jay Eardly – has recently appeared on Phenom‘s Talent Experience Live podcast to discuss the intricacies of the open talent economy. In conversation with Devin Foster, Jay covered the importance of adapting workforce strategies in line with the shifting labour forces. 

Watch the video recap and read below for a summary of the key points covered by Jay, or follow this link for a full episode.

What’s the open talent economy and why it’s worth embracing? 

Jay Eardly, Global Head of Service Design & Delivery

First of all, the open talent economy is not something we’ve created or that we are ‘doing’. It exists, and we are all existing in it. The open talent economy is just the words we’ve given to the dynamics we’ve all been talking about, feeling and seeing – the dynamics that are impacting companies, talent, and the labour market.

This is a pivotal existential moment, and there will be winners and losers in this. Companies not adapting workforce strategies in line with these forces of the open talent economy will lose – they will get left behind. And some companies are already ahead and winning.

The way we see this is – there is an old game and a new game. The old game is all about: I have a req, a job title, a templated job description, and the recruiter fills the req. The open talent economy are the forces and solutions that are needed in the new game.

Filling jobs is still the old game – getting the work done is what companies must do now. And getting the work done can happen in a variety of locations and times, by a variety of people, meaning it can be done by full-time, temp, freelance employees, or by a partner organisation.

The data is essential to tell us: here is where the work is going to get done best or here is the organisation that is going to do the best job, or here is the location that is going to be optimal. These are the conversations that we are now having with the companies whose mindset is already in the open talent economy and who are already winning.

We believe companies need to be more focused on the outcomes that their business is trying to drive. Organisations that are clear on the type of talent they need to achieve these outcomes will win. These firms don’t care when, where or how the work is done as long as the outcome is achieved. These are the firms that say: if you prefer to do it in a freelance model or a temp model because that fits your lifestyle – great! All I care about is the outcome. These organisations are getting broader access to talent. They are opening doors to more labour that wants to work in this flexible model or have more control over how they work.

What unlocks this for the companies is creating optimal candidate experience and having people in the organisation that still want to act and engage. The idea that we are breaking down the old game silos doesn’t mean we are leaving the notion of people business behind. It’s still about talent, it’s about creating that optimal experience that underpins the success of our candidates and clients

What accelerated in the last three years, largely because of the pandemic, are the more abstract variables. The purpose is now incredibly important – working for purposeful companies is essential – then career growth and the value of our work. The variables have changed, and they’ve become more abstract. It means that we now have more control. We can choose how we engage talent and create the experience that people want to be a part of. This is fundamentally different in the last couple of years than it was before.

Get in touch with us through the button below to see how we can help you win in the open talent economy. 


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