The benefits of a blended workforce
“Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour” – William Cowper
You have just won a customer. A company that manufactures and installs wind turbines. You are now the support partner for their operations. The trouble is, your closest technician is 100-miles away. And having your technician travel 200-miles every day to service one customer is not cost effective. This issue is further compounded with your closest technician also the only one with the skills to service your new clients’ assets. This is where having a blended workforce is of benefit.
Don’t have all your eggs in one basket
Finding workers with twenty years’ experience and the unique set of skills required to service new clients can be a tall order. But a blended workforce reduces this challenge.
The gig economy has yielded a wide range of independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers. Workers with a variety of experience and skills you can call upon in a pinch.
These gig workers enter into formal agreements to provide services to your clients. Importantly, they supplement your internal workforce, enabling you to skill up to serve the needs of your customers. In the example of serving the wind turbine company, calling on a blended workforce allows you to scale up support whilst reducing the cost of servicing them.
Scale up, or down, in line with customer need
A blended workforce allows you to scale up and down as demand dictates. This means project costs are easier to predict and manage and profit margins at less risk. Dan Snowdon, HSOs Field Service Director, believes the pandemic has heightened the need for greater flexibility, “It’s important to understand that the shift to blended workforces was going to happen anyway. But what the pandemic has done is speed up the process.”
Dan believes this is in line with the acceleration of other areas of business, “Like the way everybody has transitioned to working from home, and the move to technologies such as Microsoft Teams has accelerated, the adoption of a blended workforce, although may have been a longer-term goal, has had to accelerate in the same way.”
Having a blended workforce solves the challenge of scale, skill, reach, cost, and management, and is becoming a necessity in maintaining services and high standards of delivery.
A blended workforce benefits all parties
As the organisation vying for a piece of work, Dan believes having a blended workforce offers you a competitive advantage “A blended workforce increases the efficiency of your service. It means you, as the organisation providing the resource, is able to give the customer options in terms of resources. It’s that efficiency versus flexibility that provides benefits all around.”
Having a blended work force offers significant benefits to the employer and the workers themselves. For people in the gig economy, they have more control. And are able to choose the work they do and the times they work. This helps them feel more empowered because the work they’re doing is enjoyable.
Importantly, the end customer being served benefits. “It’s a mutually beneficial approach to introduce a blended workforce, not just because of the flexibility people want with other commitments such as families and mental health, but in terms of an organisation’s perspective. It means they can offer the customer a cheaper, more efficient, quicker response as well.”
A blended workforce not only brings more diversity to companies and projects but also adds innovation and creativity. When you have skilled contract workers operating alongside full-time employees, their experience, ideas, and skills are absorbed by your permanent workforce, increasing their value and ability.
It’s tough, but not impossible
Finding good people is tough. For any organisation. And time consuming. Replacing those who leave is another headache. Yet these are challenges you cannot burden your customers with. They simply need you to deliver what they are paying you for. And you, of course, want to keep them happy. A blended workforce makes this possible.
It connects you with the talent needed to allow service delivery to flow uninterrupted regardless of the disruptions going on around you. Dan Snowdon says: “A blended workforce gives you the opportunity to pick someone who might have 20-years’ experience. It also gives you the opportunity to pick someone who might have 20-months experience. You have the flexibility to find the right skills to fit the need.”
Project timing is also a factor in selection as Dan goes on to highlight: “If you need to scale up quickly, you can bring people in to support a project for, say, a three-month period. An incredibly high skill set is now available to you for a set period of time, without the hassle of recruitment. And your customer is none the wiser.” Flexibility that suits all parties.
The pandemic has emphasised the need for flexibility. The very premise of the blended workforce. And the gig economy has enabled organisations to supplement internal workforces with third-party workers to skill up quickly, serve the needs of customers, and maintain the flexibility needed.
For more information on HSOs Field Service solutions, please click here.