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Digital platforms redefining talent acquisition, workforce

Companies should create a 'workforce ecosystem' that considers value creation from both the internal and external workforce, according to one expert.

Digital platforms allow companies to take advantage of and manage a workforce that's increasingly growing outside of direct employees, such as freelancers, gig workers, contractors and other complementary businesses.

The workforce is getting harder for companies to define as this shift towards hiring outside help increases, according to Elizabeth Altman, assistant professor of management at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She spoke during the 2022 MIT Platform Strategy Summit in Cambridge, Mass., on July 14.

Altman said according to a 2021 global survey conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte on the future of the workforce, 93% of business leaders said external workers are part of their organization's workforce, while 74% agreed those external workers are essential to the organization's success. Additionally, though 58% of business leaders agreed that they're taking an integrated approach to managing employees and external contributors, only 30% said their companies are sufficiently preparing to manage a workforce that will rely more on external contributors.

The future of work depends on the development of a workforce that consists of employees from within an organization and outside of it, Altman said. That's where digital platforms come in.

Altman said digital platforms play a "huge role" in helping business leaders develop a framework for aligning an external and internal workforce with the company's business strategy, as well as having leadership that understands how to allocate work for internal and external contributors.

"This is not purely a pandemic discussion at all," Altman said during the event. "Some of the shifts [are from] the changing nature of work and increasing recognition of the complexity of managing the workforce." 

Companies turn to digital platforms

Companies are already relying on digital platforms to facilitate external and internal talent acquisition and management.

Patrick Petitti, founder and CEO of Catalant Technologies, developed a digital platform that connects independent consultants to companies. 

We're making it possible for companies to leverage that segment of the workforce in a much more effective way at scale.
Patrick PetittiFounder and CEO, Catalant Technologies

During the MIT event, Petitti said organizations today are often not set up legally or financially to engage with the "fast-growing world of independent consultants," making it difficult to take advantage of that piece of the emerging workforce.

"We're making it possible for companies to leverage that segment of the workforce in a much more effective way at scale," Petitti said.

Meanwhile, Tapaswee Chandele, the Coca-Cola Company's global vice president of talent and development, helped develop an internal digital platform for talent management. She said this tied to Coca-Cola's creation of the platform services organization in 2020, which was designed for data management and consumer analytics, as well as to scale expertise.

Chandele said the problem Coca-Cola wanted to solve was business leaders making hiring decisions based on their last meetings with individuals rather than consideration of additional information surrounding the new hire. The internal talent management platform helped provide better insights on certain roles thanks to its integration with the beverage-maker's platform services organization. 

"It worked well from a decision perspective and getting better leadership into the room," she said during the event.

Makenzie Holland is a news writer covering big tech and federal regulation. Prior to joining TechTarget, she was a general reporter for the Wilmington StarNews and a crime and education reporter at the Wabash Plain Dealer.

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