Imagine your business as a DIY toy car, built on just four wheels and functioning axles. A push powers the axles and rotates the wheels, which rolls the car forward. In physics, we know this as kinetic energy — an energy a body possesses due to its motion.
In business, companies exist to gain momentum and accelerate at some point. This involves investing in resources and capabilities for companies to make headway. By virtue of just being in motion (or business), there is a universal need to scale up, to move faster. The key to speed, lies in unlocking the elastic potential energy of your team.
Back to the analogy of the toy car. To get the toy car to go faster, a stronger force has to be applied. A stretched rubber band holds a great force of potential energy to drive the toy car forward. By twisting a rubber band several times around the rear axle, elastic potential energy gets built up. Upon letting go, the rubber band unravels, spinning the axle in the process and pushes the car forward at a higher speed. This elastic potential energy from the stretched rubber band converts into kinetic energy which thrusts the object forward.
While we delight in an accelerating toy car, the real question is: “How can you release that elastic potential power in your team, fast?”
Before we unleash the power of elastic potential energy, it is imperative to define the difference between ‘growth’ and ‘scale’. The basic fundamental of business growth is when a business expands and invests significantly in additional resources (capital, human capabilities, technology) so as to increase revenue.
Scale, by contrast, is when revenue increases without a substantial increase in resources. The processes that help a business to scale effectively can be executed with minimal effort; one of which is capitalizing on the tailwinds of the gig economy.
For small companies or startups, time and costs are of paramount importance. Take for example a startup embarking on a brilliant product idea. To get the idea into fruition, an internal team of researchers, developers and designers huddle together for an initial prototyping. As the idea progresses into product stages, more thinking heads are needed. Prototypes need to be tested with real users; UXUI designers need to be assembled; tech leads, marketers and salespeople need to be hired. Time investment, hiring and training costs escalate. Efforts to keep going can seem daunting.
This reality has made an ecosystem of on-demand talents (or what we know as the gig economy) a key competency for businesses. The gig economy is based on flexible, ad hoc jobs or ongoing projects that can be fulfilled by independent professionals. These talents, often scrupulously vetted by talent companies for their prowess and competence, are then connected to businesses for asset sharing or short-term services. A whitepaper research by Mastercard predicts that the global gig economy will grow to a gross volume of $455 billion by 2023, suggesting a rapid boom of on-demand services in a fast changing employment landscape. This pool of ready talents represents a ‘rubber band powered workforce’ with elastic potential energy that can help companies scale quickly and achieve forward-moving objectives.
Perhaps the most obvious allure of hiring ‘temporary’ talents is the ability to build a responsive team swiftly. Companies can scale their workforce to augment existing teams, or fill in expertise gaps with the right talents to steer important projects. For instance, a tech lead who has been leading a crucial project suddenly decides to leave for greener pastures. While his role needed to be filled in haste, the process of hiring a right-fit employee is an uphill task, often taking months. The agility offered by temporary talents allows businesses to move faster and achieve targeted outcomes, contributing to higher efficiency and profits.
The flexibility of engaging the services of talents on a short-term or ad-hoc basis for the sole purpose of meeting project needs could also translate to significant savings on employee benefits, retraining and other related overheads.
Entering new market territories can open a torrent of hurdles commonly attributed to a lack of local market advice. By leveraging the gig economy, businesses have open access to a network of experienced specialists who can offer expert advice in the region; provide consumer insights to gain a better understanding of the market; and comprehend language and cultural differences.
Above all, the gig marketplace is a thriving network of specialty workers across various fields. Tapping on this platform is akin to selecting from an extensive ala carte menu, where businesses zoom in on exact skill sets required and hire based on needs. In fact, one can promptly put together a combo team, dictate the contract period for which the talents will be hired and get expert value out of each team member.
By harnessing the elastic potential of on-demand talents, these external specialists can quickly provide the required skills and capabilities to drive teams and businesses forward.
Winding a rubber band to power up a toy car takes minimal effort, yet the elastic potential energy that is unleashed drives the toy car over a further distance and in double quick time.
Gathering the speed and flexibility necessary for a scaling up while keeping costs down may sound like quite the feat. The gig economy offers businesses a quicker way to scale sustainably to remain competitive and relevant. It may take a little engineering effort to assemble a ‘rubber band powered’ team, but talent companies are here to help. The trick to beefing up this human capital competency is to know where to source for and plug into the right mix of complementary capabilities.
There’s a better way to grow. And it’s not the traditional way.
It’s about rethinking traditional employment archetypes. Can we progress from an economy built on full time employment habitually enslaved by unemployment fears, to one where individuals have greater autonomy and are self motivated to do work that inspires them? And as a result, benefit the economy as a whole?
You can’t own full time employees. But you can build a winning team with talent management companies. As businesses demand more, external talents are emerging as the sure forerunners of an agile workforce. At Chance Upon, we partner businesses to get a head start over competition by creating collaborative work between companies and the right talents.