The Hidden Workforce Epidemic

A guide to help managers discover and understand the hidden workforce already inside their organisation

Unbeknown to the management team, a hidden workforce exists in nearly every large organisation. Unchecked, uncontrolled and unseen, it creates cost inefficiencies, security issues and regulatory risks.

In this guide, we'll explore some of the issues that create an organisation's hidden workforce and look at how to begin reclaiming control.

In this guide:

The new business environment responsible for creating a hidden workforce epidemic

For about 31 million people in the UK, the working day means being a productive component of a larger organisation. From the smallest businesses to the largest corporates, people are organised by function, department, division or discipline. There is a hierarchy and defined relationships between the various points on the hierarchy.

However, technology is disrupting and transforming every industry. Consumers, workers, supply-chains are all undergoing digital transformation. Capgemini's report on the Digital Advantage shows the impact digital is having on businesses in mining, gambling, fashion and every industry in between. Product lifecycles are getting shorter and shorter, with Accenture saying customers now expect product innovations every 6 months - 'exponentially faster' than ever before.

With customers demanding faster and faster changes to the products and services they buy, a slow business is a dead business.

It's no longer true that business is predictable, repeatable and fits the rigid relationships defined in a traditional organisational model. This new business environment is putting pressure on organisations to look for faster, more cost-effective ways of operating.

In response, businesses are turning to a new organisational model that enables them to resource projects faster and more cost effectively.

Businesses are adopting a new approach to organisational design to improve how they resource projects

Instead of the traditional organisational structure, designed to maximise efficiency with a predictable and repeatable process over a long period of time, the new organisational design model being adopted is designed with 'consistent flexibility' in mind.

It provides an organisation with a flexible, adaptable way of responding to rapidly changing business environments, market conditions and consumer demands.

The new model consists of three core components:

This diagram represents how the three components interact to deliver product and service improvements for an organisation's customers:

New organisational model

The Management Team and Consistent Core of full-time employees provide the 'consistency' element. The team typically includes all key department heads: sales, marketing, finance, human resources and IT/operations.

The Consistent Core turn the Management Team's direction and investment into projects of determinable length and outcome, and resource the projects with the specialist expertise required to affect the best result.

The Consistent Core is also responsible for creating and nurturing talent pools of pre-vetted workers to eliminate costly delays and deliver project results efficiently.

The flexible contingent is an on-demand 'cloud' of specialist workers who form the project teams and deliver the required outputs. The project members provide the required cross-functional skills and experience, without traditional departmental barriers getting in the way. The project team comes together for as long as needed then disperses as soon as the project is delivered.

Related resources

IR35 in the Private Sector

Understand how to reduce the risks of working with off-payroll contractors, freelancers and statement of work engagements.

How to prepare for changes in freelancer employment rights

Learn how proposed changes to freelancer employment rights could affect your business.

When do you need a freelancer management system?

Managing your freelancer workforce can be as simple as recording names and phone numbers in your phone book. But there's a point when you need to get serious about managing your freelance and contingent workers.