The future of remote work and what it means for the traditional staffing model


Jan Jedlinski: Welcome back on stage, everyone. Thank you so much for joining. Up next is the session with Hans, John, Jeff, and Sue about the future of remote work and how it pertains to staffing. I will hand over to Hans to start the session, and if you have questions, please drop them into the chat. And, uh, we'll make sure to answer them throughout the session or at the end.

Thank you so much, everyone. And enjoy the session. Bye-bye.

Hans Bukow: Thank you, Jan. Welcome everybody. Thanks for attending. Today's. Summit. I'm joined here by John, Sue, Jeff, and I will begin with asking them to provide a little by a little background information context. Before we dive into the subject. John, why don't you kick it off?

John Healy: John Healy representing the world employment Confederation, where I'm a vice president of the organization also chair their blockchain task force. Any of, you may remember me from my time at Kelly services. I spent 28 years at Kelly and continue to represent Kelly at the board, but if kind of stepped out of the industry for a short period of time and have some new things ahead.

Hans Bukow: Sue.

Sue Bhatia: Yes. Hello everyone. My name is Sue Bhatia and I'm the founder and chairwoman of Rose International. We're a talent acquisition firm been in business 26 years and we work with 150 clients around the country. To 20 locations, been in business long time.

Jeff Wald: Thank you.

Hans Bukow: Thanks.

Jeff Wald: Hello, everybody great to be here with you all.

My name is Jeff Wald. I have founded several technology companies. The most recent is a company called Work Market. Raise about a $100 MIllion from SoftBank union square ventures and a few others. We sold the company three years ago to ADP the world's largest human capital management software company.

I have also written a book on the future of work, which I'll show you from that. It's going to be for you backwards called the end of jobs rise of on demand workers and agile corporations. We were lucky enough to become the number one book in all of Amazon's HR categories for a hot minute because Amazon rechecks it every hour.

Yeah. So we there, and then we lost it pretty quickly too, but very excited for the conversation.

Hans Bukow: Thanks, Jeff. Appreciate it. My name is Hans Buco and I've been involved also for about 20 years serial entrepreneur, like Jeff and others venture backed, last company called EWork. So it'll be interesting.

Once I talk about 2EWork European publicly traded company kind of get blamed for some of the VMS developments. And back in the day, when if anyone remembers it was ELance guru and he work trying to create the I think it's named nowadays the human cloud in the, in the beginning of era anyway.

So we're very excited to get together. I'm been working in the last couple of months getting further and further into this thing called remote work, which I, for lack of better. Call your work as well. And before I wanted to jump in with some questions from our panel, there was a very quick thing I wanted to do here, which I'm going to take a uh, let's see if this works.

I think it should work. Let's see if we can do this. I think everyone still gets up there. Yeah. Everyone can still be seeing so what I want to do is basically just give a magnitude sense for what's going on with with the future. Of of work here. And I'll just do some screens. So very briefly let's see if this is moving.

I think everybody's heard that Salesforce bought slack for $27.7 billion. So obviously that is a, a big market statement on what's going on with collaborative remote work. It's a huge development. And somewhere interesting elements as a fastest number one fastest COVID driven change of all the things that COVID did to the marketplace and to companies by far, the most significant was going remote, projects that were on plans to get done in 454 days was done on average in a survey of CEOs that McKinsey did in in 10 days.

That's how fast people can move when they have to. The other thing too, is now with vaccines and in, in kind of the, the light at the end of the tunnel, there's a lot of thought that maybe we all go back or go back somewhat. But, uh, this other trend basically, and some other statements from PWC and Gardner.

Suggests that a, this particular trend is here to stay in a, in a pretty large manner. So I think we all believe strongly that somehow all this remote and work from anywhere, things we'd like to call e-working is going to be part of what we're doing. Upwork's future workforce pulse. If we dive into a little bit closer to the staffing, 70% managers who see the value in remote work or engaging independent professionals.

I think the staffing industry and, and the relationship with independent professionals is a, is an interesting one because obviously independence are out there really marketing themselves, selling themselves, delivering they're almost a little mini companies and really are in the forefront. So it's an important understanding.

That managers and people that are holding the purse strings. And a lot of these projects are becoming more and more engaged with the, with individuals directly. And then finally some statistics here about to 2025, 36 million Americans will be remote. What the number is exactly who knows. But globally, this is all happening all at the same time, all around the world.

It's a, it's a very significant development. So what about remote work and productivity? CEO's essentially managers looking at the issues are basically not very confident. They know it's generally gotten more productive, but you know, the numbers suggest that there's a lot of anxiety around exactly what's going on and, and how remote work is working and how it's going to change and improve.

So move forward, we had local physical dependencies and the fact that a matter of simple diagram where anywhere, anytime. And we're all doing it through collaborative platforms. I think everybody here will fully attest that one of these brands or one of these shields is something that they regularly interface with.

And the number of connections and interactions, work interactions, you know, with about 1.2 billion people working digitally from some form or another, the number of interactions is just astronomically growing. So the amount of data that's. Derived from all these interactions through this legit digital layer is growing.

And as we know the organization of communications information and plan results work is very, very important to how we take advantage of this digital layer.

So thanks for that. Bottom line is there's work demand, and a lot of people wanting to work, especially with the remote work style. Now starting to become more and more a part of the way we work here we are today, even on a platform. And there's a lot of talent supply that wants to deliver that work wants to be productive, wants to get the most out of their education.

And here we are obviously you know, world where staffing is in between. So that's hopefully sets up the the conversation. About remote work and especially relative to staffing. So go around the horn. John, what have you seen in terms of remote work and it's what insights, you know, what, what, what novelty, what, what things didn't you expect?

Is now happening with, with, with companies, staffing companies relative to remote work?

John Healy: I, I think Hans and again, thanks everyone for being out there in the audience. And, and do challenge us along the way. This is a session for you guys. So, so keep us honest, keep pushing us as we go through this.

But I, I would say that the part that struck me the most is the resilience of this interview. You saw organizations that were heavily focused in maybe the hospitality industry that was completely shut down, suddenly find a way to adapt and help out in different sectors where there was growth. And so I think every time I've seen a crisis in this industry or affect the way people connect with jobs.

What's always excited me about this industry is how quickly people have adapted. And I think we saw that once again and, and that's probably the most important thing of all that.

Hans Bukow: Sue as an operator, you know, leader of a staffing company, what, what can you say?

Sue Bhatia: Thanks. Hans, I'm happy to be here today. I wanted to just say that all businesses have been impacted by remote work during the pandemic and the staffing industry is no exception. You know, back in March, we quickly adopted the work from home model for all our 20 offices.

And within a matter of days, we were all up and running seamlessly. We're still recruiting and delivering top talent at the same speed or perhaps even faster than we were before the pandemic began. Overall, I feel like staffing companies are mostly impacted due to the client portfolio. They hold. And the good news is like, one of your charts mentioned that you can hire temporary workers across the country anywhere they live.

It doesn't matter. The geographic constraints have been removed. You showed a nice graphic on that and. You know, it, the contingent workforce hasn't really slowed down. We've noticed because of remote work, it's only slowed down for industries that have been impacted strongly like airlines, entertainment, hospitality.

Both of you mentioned that the fluctuation in contingent workforce and its demand, I feel like will continue because. As the economic recovery happens we will see that fluctuate in the next year or two. We're dealing with a much bigger talent pool and hiring managers are much more open to hiring temporary workers from any location.

Now, this leads to sustainable job growth by distributing our economic footprint more easily. Throughout the country. There's only so many new jobs that cities like New York and San Francisco can absorb and sustain without the cost of living going through the roof. So, you know, workers can live anywhere.

Cost of living is down and it's a more even distribution of economic wealth around the country. That being said, we're noticing that there are challenges with remote work. One of them being the different time zones, because people are working, you know, from a far away, the time zones need to be settled with.

And second is how do you measure productivity? And thirdly, team assimilation is important to have these remote workers feel. They belong to a certain team without having met any members. Ever in the team. So I think the staffing companies need to work closely with their clients to overcome these challenges.

So we're seeing all of this.

Hans Bukow: Yep. Excellent points. Yeah. I think a lot of us have talked about remote work, but we remote working with people that we knew before this began and then it gets starts to get much more interesting when we initiate the, that engagement that that relationship entirely online.

And that's for most of us who don't have online dating experience. But we'll see how that works. Jeff, how about you? I mean, what, what are you seeing out there? I mean, obviously you have a lot of touch points as a, as a, as a platform provider, I've interfaced with a lot of staffing and workforce companies.

What, what generally was was a real surprise in terms of how this remote work and staffing.

Jeff Wald: Did we switch to online dating? Or is that the subject? Should I comment on that? Just because I have experience with that does not mean that I necessarily embedded.

Hans Bukow: No good. Now, now, when you are better position to answer, well,

Jeff Wald: Here's a. Here. Here's where I would focus. My thoughts on this first is, you know, understanding what remote work means. And you know, the reason I wrote this book was to put forward a framework to say, we need to look at history. We need to look at data. We need to think about how companies actually engaged workers.

And when we think about remote work, we should start with. Some definitions first and foremost, right? I like the data that you had, and that was an amazing presentation and really kind of highlighted the topic here for me, when remote work is brought up, it is people that spend more than 50% of their time not going to the office.

And that has important implications from a tax nexus standpoint, as important implications from a infrastructure standpoint, do I need to allocate square footage to you? Or can I hop desk you hotel though? And so the standard definition that I've seen was more than 50%, which I think that your data was talking more about people with flexible work arrangements, which from a purely technical standpoint, if you're in the office three days a week, but aren't too, you have a flexible work arrangement.

You are not a remote worker. They're very, very different. And remote work was 1.5% of the us workers. In 2010, it grew to 3% of the us workforce. And most of us that studied labor statistics and history would not have made any prediction more than maybe it gets to 4% over the next 10 years because remote work had always been a pull function.

It was always the employee asking to do it. And it was the employer mostly saying no. And the reason that we had a lot of kind of leveling off. Two big impediments. One was mindset. And we all know the manager that says, look, I know all the studies say remote workers are happier. They're healthier, they're more engaged.

They have higher retention rates. They cost us less. They cost the worker less. I know all that, but I think, productivity equals presence. I think magic happens when people are in the office together. And so that mindset was a big impediment to remote work's continued growth. The second thing was that remote work doesn't work unless you have the infrastructure and the policies and the procedures to make it work infrastructure, meaning, look, it's one thing to say, you can work remotely.

It's another to make sure you can access all of the company's systems outside of the companies. Because if you can't do it, remote work is not really feasible at scale. And so both of those things had to change in March of 2020, and that led to added the height of the pandemic, 40% of the U S workforce working remotely.

And it's super important to remember. 42% is the max limit in the United States. Cause clearly people in manufacturing and extraction industries and transportation and logistics, and those other things can't work from home. 42% is the max limit. That is the highest of any country in the OACD, which is the one that, where this data comes from.

And most other countries are in kind of the 36, 37% range. And so we've seen tremendous growth. It is part of what we call the tech celebration, this acceleration of digital work of digital payments, digital commerce, but they will be a snapback and we don't know. What extent that snap back is going to occur.

You put up some great stats about what managers want about what workers want. And so we will find out over the coming months, hopefully God willing as we get into a post pandemic world, how much remote work is going to sustain. And what that will really mean for companies, for workers and for staffing firms.

John Healy: But Jeff, if you don't mind, I want to just kind of jump in there, bring it in there of how, and maybe what we began with as the pandemic hit was about jobs being moved remote and all the work needed to be done. But what we're learning now inside organizations, and this is our client organizations and it's, what's forcing the staffing companies to adapt.

Is that it's now tasks and activities that people are figuring out. So it's no longer the whole job that we look at. We're looking at which tasks and activities can be done. So that's where your whole hybrid workforce is coming from and what's happening in there. But that's opening up all new models for how talent is delivered and what type of work activity is being done and where they're being based.

So I think the point for me is. We're still in the early stage here, we've gone through a rapid transformation at a pace, no one was anticipating and now it's starting to settle in because we've gotten comfortable and companies are deciding, Hey, wait a minute. I like the idea of not having to hold all of this capital real estate, all that costs that's there. And they're starting to look at that and that's starting to open some opportunities for their partners of all kinds. So the outsourcing models that have been maturing for so long are a great place for staffing companies to be looking and thinking about what's ahead.

Jeff Wald: So, John, I am in violent agreement with all that I. In terms of the desegregation of work, the atomization of work into tasks and that allowing for the break up different things and not only has the zooms and this wonderful Hoppin and a host of other things enabled that. So has Basecamp and JIRA and all kinds of project management software, they are at the root of being able to desegregate these workflows.

The question I would have, and the thing that I would counsel is to be careful about making too much assumptions based on something you guys all touched on earlier. There's so much data and it's all happening so quickly that I would be careful about making assumptions until we see the snapback and we see it a quarter or two, and then we'll get a better sense as to will people start to release some of that capital that's tied up in office space will workers want to be fully remote are 50, 50, 50% or more, or are they going to want those flexible work arrangements? And they're just going to want more ability to be more flexible. I don't know yet. I would bet. And I will put numbers on this and you can hold me to these numbers that we would go. We went from 1.5 to 3%.

We were up at 40%. I bet we're going to end up at about 8%. Categorize as fully remote and keep in mind that 8% is out of 42%. So that is to say nearly 20% of the workers that can be remote will be, but people with flexible work arrangements are 32 to 33% of the labor force. That's where we're really going to end up.

And that opens up huge amounts of talent pools and a host of different things for staffing companies and for their partners.

Hans Bukow: Yeah, I think that's all very valid. I don't know about you all, but I remember, you know, if you look back over your career, it just in the last, even 20 years, That almost every year, progressively, you know, all the tools, all the capabilities, the expectations, work efforts.

I mean, how many of us were working from anywhere really? I mean, forget home the technology. It was just, you could almost chart it, right? I mean, we could all probably sit there and say, okay, now how much of the work was it? Like wherever I needed to be on my phone, wherever it needed to be. And I, I would be hard pressed to see anyone who say, oh, you went backwards or it just kept growing.

It kept growing. And then boom, this event had happened. And we realized that we had to completely rely on the skills that we had been building and the platforms and the techniques and the expectations of coworkers. And now all of a sudden becomes a daily event, right? All the, all the companies that say, especially digital ones, you know, you working types, you know, knowledge workers.

Most of them were like, okay, yeah, the pandemic made it more of what I was sort of already doing before. So I got, I get this. And and I get some of the benefits that come with it and some of the problems, right. But the bottom line is this is either referred to the pandemic was really a massive tailwind on what was already happening in, in digitizing work, right?

John Healy: Take two jets. So there's those one point the staffing industry represents about two to 3% of the US workforce. And that's pretty consistent as you go around the globe. We're really not even extending beyond 7% or 8%. We like to talk about how the gig workforce is radically changing that and ultra not so much yet.

So when we talk about this week, we also have to break down not just what percent of work can be done remotely. But if we're talking about within the staffing industry, we have to truly understand the difference between, you know, many firms that are specialized in heavy blue collar labor. They're seeing zero percent remote other than their own staff. And then you see other firms that are in the it space that are a hundred percent remote on everything and they've built a completely remote model. So we also have to just be a little careful in in typecasting everything as being the same within the staffing industry.

Sue Bhatia: And another one you're talking about percentages and a hybrid model. The challenge with a hybrid model is the costs remain the same. So you don't really realize the cost savings. You still have to have your offices open and, you know, employees have the choice of coming one or two days a week. So the cost benefit is not there. And yet, you know, the team dynamics, like you're saying that 8% is what you're expecting it to be. Well, we'll see. It's definitely something to, to allow that to unfold and watch, but interesting points. Thank you.

Hans Bukow: So, I think maybe, you know, when I had that diagram of the staffing industry as an intermediary we know the demand side.

I mean, I think all of us I've seen that more skills, more talent digitization of everything requires more and more of that, especially if we focus clearly. In the it centric digital, creative centrics areas here. So perhaps a little bit less on that side of the equation. And, and we know now that the expectation given this experience is that they're going to also want a lot of it to be done remotely.

Not more flexibly over standardized platforms that they use for their own workers and so on. But let's, let's look at the other side of the equation. I think it's a little bit more of a challenge. It's already a challenge, but even more of a challenge perhaps, or maybe not, maybe an opportunity. To find a talent.

So, you know, so w w what are you seeing? What are you seeing in that workforce? You know, recruitment world, obviously you operate a staffing company, you need people to deliver value. So,

Sue Bhatia: So in terms of working with candidates through the hiring process, our team quickly adapted to having all digital contact in this new normal hiring managers are relying mostly on virtual interviews, because they still want to see who they're hiring.

Finding curating and cultivating talent is a lot easier because we have a larger talent pool. I think all, all people on the panel mentioned the larger talent pool advantage. And there is a wider acceptance of remote workers. Diversity is important at this moment because of this larger talent pool.

We're finding that. A lot of companies are taking this opportunity to hire a diverse work force. The fact that it's all remote and all digital, it's all the more important to have the job description. Be very specific and clear being precise and clear from the beginning, improves the communication throughout the hiring process.

Video interviews are definitely here to stay and, you know, we've been using them a long time. Since candidates have more choices for jobs. For example, somebody sitting in Ohio, it can be on assignment for a Silicon valley company. It's important for clients to have a very strong well-defined brand to represent their values.

And that's how they attract them. The temporary workers are full-time employees. So the clear and defined identity for the brand is extremely important is what we're finding. And then we have cost savings. You know, working from home saves costs associated with an office, and we see a lot of companies, including ourselves using those savings towards technology and digital transformation.

We're also seeing higher productivity and lower turnover. One of your slides mentioned that and the corporate culture has to be managed online. For example, how do you cultivate talent? That's something that. We have to think about in our own company. So we can address this, the team dynamics, the advantages of working in a team or learning from coworkers, all of this needs to be addressed.

You know, we're physically distanced, but still we have social connections and they're just online now staying connected internally and employed with our employees or externally with our clients and suppliers is. I find more and more important than ever for a productive corporate culture and positive relationships in this business.

Hans Bukow: Very interesting. Yeah. We've got about six minutes or so time's flying when we're having fun. It's I mean, I I'm feeling that we can go on for quite a long time. It's very topical, very interesting. A lot of, a lot of things happening. So what I wanted to do is just briefly shift, I think, to one final sort of question.

Related to, especially a lot of staffing people on, at the summit. What are the insights in terms of possibly the, the models, the business activity, you know, it's been traditionally a hourly based accounting, you know, here here's the skills. Everybody works this much time. Let's do some accounting, you know, figure out what to charge and receive and so on.

Now with groups, teams forming, you know, maybe more services being presented. What are you saying? Or imagine will be the future trend on the pressures on the staffing models that you see and, and John, you might, you might have a good, a good experience on this.

John Healy: I think staffing firms need to be making a choice of whether they want to kind of sustain their role in the existing model or they're ready to really shake things up.

And I think as you look at it right now, it's. To recognize a migration towards more outsourcing or outcome based activity. If I can't bring you in for 10 hours and know that you're sitting at your chair for 10 hours or for 40 hours in a week or whatever it is, that it's harder for me to measure that.

And so companies are being forced to figure out outcomes. Well, they're also being forced to do that for their full-time employees. So if we start thinking about what the enterprise is doing, they're starting to learn. How to bifurcate the work, how to measure the work in a different way. And so they're going to look for their partners, whether they're outsourcing partners and their time and materials partners to also do the same and start factoring that in.

But the other part that I think is really going to flow in here is related to the aspect of trust and Sue, you hit on some of these pieces here of what the worker is expecting and the social reform that we're experiencing throughout the world. Right? Is indicating that the worker is expecting a much greater level of trust in the relationship with anyone that they're working with as a consumer or as an employee.

And so you're going to start seeing things like blockchain networks, starting to form that start deepening the responsibility and the control that the worker has. In things we are even seeing it I think it was just last week uh, Microsoft, Cisco and came together to offer a digital wallet for tracking the the vaccines as they get pushed.

Immediately governments are asking, what else can we put in that wallet? So our worker information is going to go in there. So you're going to start distributing more aspects of that, which is going to make it much easier for the individual to go from one org to the next, to the next, to the next. And so the role of the intermediary and making that easy regardless of where location is, is going to really stand out.

So I'll pause there.

Hans Bukow: Right. Yeah. And again, I think that that disintermediation, let's say of individuals, you know, of possessing or controlling or no suggest some more proactive role in the staffing companies to kind of market. Sue mentioned, you know, the companies, brands, staffing companies, having their own brands. You know, we, we talked about um, possibly, you know, adding assessments, adding education, you know, finding relationships that really make it a longer lasting partnership.

That's, that's always been the challenge, you know, for staffing, but I think it'll continue to be so, and then, you know, from, from a younger generation, I know having kids, teenagers, there's a kind of hipness to associated with, you know, integrating technology into the way they operate. And not related to online dating or anything, Jeff, but just in general, you know, the way everyone's using phones and doing cool stuff.

I know having a teenage 18 year old boy that that he's very, he's very plugged in, right? Like I think a lot of, a lot of young generations people are, and they're not going to have any patience for relating and associating with people who aren't similarly connected. Any, any other further thoughts?

I think I got, Jan letting me know that We're on our way out. I'll offer this on our way out. You know, as people look at how technologies get adopted over history and the impact they have, bill gates had a great quote, which is people overestimate technology's impact in a two-year timeframe.

Jeff Wald: And they underestimate technology's impact in a 10 year timeframe. You're talking about a consumer interaction and what tech can do. It takes companies a long time to adopt technology. And when they finally do it moves very, very slowly and then very quickly. And so the quicker you can adopt these different technologies, the different processes, the more you'll be ahead of the curve.

And if you don't do it, the more you're going to be behind the curve very quickly. That's one thing to very, to remember the other is that you can't paint these things with a broad brush. Every industry is different. Every job function is different, and it really comes down to the supply and demand balance.

In those different sub sectors by geography, by skillset. And in some places, the employee has a lot of power and they tend to, when they do that, historically want to work in a contingent context. But most times the employer has power and they will determine how things are done. So be mindful of the history, be mindful of how companies engage technology and be mindful of how specific you need to be when talking about the future of work.

Hans Bukow: Right. Well, Jan signals me. We must be doing something right there. Signal media. We've got a few more minutes. So, let's just, just to kind of go on that a little bit more which is a little bit more tangible. What has been your favorite? Let's say collaborative or tool. I mean, tech, I mean that, this really,

Jeff Wald: Again, we're, we're staying off of online dating job.

So don't, don't say Tinder that's out.

John Healy: I would go to mural a phenomenal collaboration tool that I've seen design thinking sessions just really come to life for groups that had never experienced design thinking and were entirely new to collaboration. So very user-friendly. Very easy to use, very effective, some great templates that are being built out by some of the project management companies out there.

Hans Bukow: Great. Sue, any, any thoughts on Surely, even as the CEO of the company, you must be collaborating on technology with all, all, all, all of your staff. So what kind of, what kind of things have you?

Sue Bhatia: We have our own technology platform that we built, it's homegrown and it's state-of-the-art we try to stay ahead of all the trends that are you know, that we can see on the horizon.

That being said, I think. This panel would be incomplete if it didn't mention two very important items that are, you know, one of them, we talked a little bit about employee wellbeing and that's something staffing companies have to take charge of because there are burnout signs. 33% of employees are complaining of burnout.

People are working longer hours. So, so there's something there where I feel like wellbeing is being very seriously looked at. And with remote work, it's, it's a, it's very well connected. And the other thing is in December there were 156,000 jobs lost and all of them were women. Would you have believed that?

And that's because there's just so much demand on young mothers and women at home that have to juggle a lot of responsibilities. So they're leaving the workforce and that's something that's major. It's coming from the remote work norm. So hopefully we. Over the next few years, we have to work towards bringing the women back to work.

I know it's not a technology answer, but I really wanted to bring those because it's very important and it's related to remote work.

Hans Bukow: You know, it's interesting. This endeavor, this to work endeavor that I've been putting together and we've been doing demonstrations and I've spoken on several panels and done some webinars work here.

That ends up being this work-life balance issue is really high. You know, everybody's talking about increased productivity during the pandemic. And I, I jokingly say, well, perhaps people were so nervous about losing their jobs. They actually outperform their colleagues and everyone just worked harder because kind of, for the wrong reasons, they're kind of fearful. Right? Of course, as we all know, working too hard leads to a serious potential problem with burnouts. And then by far, the other issue was this work life balance, especially with the fact that we're all kind of part-time teachers now in addition to everything else.

Yeah. At the same time as doing everything else. But the interesting thing was in the endeavor that I'm pursuing here with collecting data analytics is that it's hard to get the answers or to at least feel you're going in the right direction towards the answers without data collection. Right. And so all these transactions are referred to them as work transaction.

I showed this sort of little diagram everything that you do, that's not a purchasing transaction, an e-commerce transaction, but it's a work-related transaction. You know, if assessed and looked at can start to look for trends that will help answer the question that we all have on the top of our minds, how many zoom calls are too many, you know?

And, uh, you know, is it time now to you know, to make sure that it's okay for my for my kids to spend more time online because I need to spend some time working online. So yeah, there's a lot of issues that are popping up. I think you're right. Women I've seen that issue. I think the mental health associated with wellness and environment, right?

I mean, people. Crowded in closets or, um, helping another company. That's doing a lot with sensors and IOT to make sure that the work environments have, have the right kind of just physical environment. All these things come into the country.

John Healy: Well, some of the data that's out there on that too. Microsoft's done a really good job in tracking some information just showing you know, if, if you have the opportunity to meet someone first.

And then collaborate with them. The amount of stress in your body is dramatically lower. So I think that those are things that you're going to see that type of data say. It's going to reshape how offices are structured as you go forward, that they will be collaboration centers or innovation hubs. You'll hear it labeled as of bringing people together to do something so that they can operate as a remote team more effectively later on.

And again, because they do that, it's going to create much more opportunity for the staffing industry, because it's not about owning, controlling and retaining. People it's about getting access to the right talent for the right project. So I, I, I see really, really rosy times ahead for the staffing industry, as a result of this

Sue Bhatia: I like your choice of words John.

Hans Bukow: Perfectly placed. Okay. So I'm trying to look for some questions here. Any other further comments

Jeff Wald: To John's point and a point that has been made by everybody who humans are social animals. And there's a reason why when you look at remote work, the vast majority of remote workers, again, remembering our definition of remote work live within a commutable distance of the house.

Yeah. So people think, oh, well, if we move to remote work, that means everything gets outsourced overseas. No, it doesn't because people want to be in the office. Maybe it's only once a month, but they want to catch up with their colleagues. They want to build that trust. They want to be engaged in the company culture.

But Hahn's back to the question you had asked about technology. The biggest challenge, I think workers are going to face, as we think about this fourth industrial revolution, robots and AI is regional. Is upscaling. And the kinds of things that if we look historically, society had done very poorly. We don't support the workers whose jobs, whose functions, whose industries have started to get automated away.

And we do that to our collective peril. We ignore them to our collective peril. So when I think about things that really excited me from a technology standpoint, there are amazing tools being generated right now on training massively compressing the time massively compressing the costs of training.

There are amazing things going on in the VR space, where you put on that Oculus headset. And you are playing a game and a month later, you are job ready. You are a job ready to go onto the line at Lockheed Martin. I'm thinking of a specific company that I'm involved with full disclosure called transfer VR, where Lockheed Martin, you put that thing on and you a month later, you were on the factory floor with 90% retention of staying in that job.

These are phenomenal statistics as to how quickly they can train people up.

Hans Bukow: Well, and let's think about the fact that we're inadvertently training an entire generation to absorb education that way. You know, I've got kids here at home that every day are learning a lot faster about these tools that allow them to learn to, to kind of get assessed because let's face it.

Qualify the education. You know, so there are all these things that I think are being injected into the re-skilling. I was involved in robotics automation as my first phase of my career. And that was a very big issue, obviously, as so many automation, robots, physical automation, robots were being placed in factories and there was never enough support.

And the companies genuinely also didn't communicate very clearly that they were fully insured. And maintaining and engaging with employees who had served very well and had a lot of other information and knowledge that was pertinent to their continuation of work. But there wasn't a strategy that wasn't a really a good deliverable plan for how to get those skills in, in very w you know, dedicated workforce that wanted to maintain and continue and grow with it, you as well.

So I think it's a

John Healy: very good expectation that the worker go ahead. If I go out and invest in the re-skilling, because candidly, most of the re-skilling is at the expense of the worker today that when they go out and do that, That they have the opportunity to use those skills. And if you're not going to give that to them, they are going to find some way to get it.

If they're going to make the investment in themselves, they are going to find a way to do something. So if your organization is committed to rescaling and helping people, you've got to be equally committed to helping people find that opportunity. And that's maybe a challenge. I put out to those in the staffing industry sometimes.

And even the measures that we put out in how we, we rate and manage staffing companies is we say, I expect everyone to stay on their assignments forever. And maybe if they learn something in, you know, after three months or six months and they go out and pick something else up, we've got to be backfilling their role and helping them find their next opportunity, not degrading them for moving on when they need to do something to better their life.

Jeff Wald: And that is super important where you have that supply and demand in balance. And look, there's a reason to adecco by generalist. Right. Like they wanted to train up a group of people into an area where there was a supply and demand in balance. And there's a reason they bought Vettery, right. They want to get into it, this platform business.

And so you start thinking about training and platforms and what kind of things staffing firms can do to differentiate themselves, separate themselves. Look, everyone can't do what a Adecco does. And a Adecco shouldn't do a number of things that the deco does. There are a lot of very clear trends based on what they're doing.

That other people can action on in different ways.

John Healy: But if you're going to call it Adecco out on the bat, I'm going to call them out on the goods in that you've got to land. You've got to lean to Hey, sitting at the world economic forum at his expense and a deco's expense representing our entire industry.

So being here, representing the, the, the entire staffing industry through the world, employment Confederation, I got to call the Adecco out and Randstad out and, and the companies who have made very deep investments to focus on the brand reputation of our industry. And it's something we need to all come together more frequently on.

Jeff Wald: And as, as a practical matter, I was calling them out for innovation and moving things forward. Nothing but love for Adecco.

Hans Bukow: Yeah, definitely see seeing the future. And so, I mean, let's, let's get you in on this as well as a, as a, as the true staffing executive representative. How much of that has kind of infiltrated that intermediary role we talked about?

I mean, how important is it? I mean, it's, it's. Heard it's important and we kind of see some of it going on, but now with all the yeah. Automated platforms and all the abilities, and like I mentioned, future generations coming that are going to expect to be. Well, kind of, uh, progressed in terms of the skillset.

Do you think that's a big part or a bigger part growing part of a staffing company is, is making sure that they're, you know, they're fully appreciating what's needed and going out and.

Sue Bhatia: Yeah, absolutely. You know, our value add has not changed most contingent workers before the pandemic were at the client side.

Now they're remote. So they were. Not sitting physically with the staffing company. Right? So the real value I feel for staffing companies, the robust hiring recruiting engine and the variety of opportunities to work on different assignments to rescale and upskill themselves. So that remains same and risk mitigation for the clients.

And, and, you know, there are, I feel like the responsibility for up-skilling has to stay with and individual, and yes, there are a lot of tools out there that are inexpensive. You mentioned some today all of you, and then there are you know, many inexpensive, even three tools that people can use.

And I feel like staffing industry gives people that opportunity to learn new skills rather rapidly because you know, they don't stay with the domain knowledge of whether it's just healthcare or, or banking and financial sector. They move from assignments and then doing that, they are picking up new skills.

So that is, I believe a natural value add from the staffing sector and an attraction for a lot of these workers when they're deciding to become an FDE or a contingent worker. Right? And then there are a lot of new job roles that keep coming up. Like recently we've heard a lot of demand for epidemiologists, contact racers, climate change responders, occupancy specialists, and even something well, brand new title is head of remote work, right?

So these are titles that are coming up. There's a demand. And so staffing companies have to navigate through all of these. New titles and, and figure out how to supply the demand that is out there. And a lot of that is just bringing the whole package together working with the candidate and working with the client you know, there's any skills skilling needed, upskilling needed to be able to offer that.

So it's important. I think the intermediary role is critical for us.

Jeff Wald: Yeah.

Hans Bukow: Yeah. I mean, it's just, we, we had mentioned this before about even confidence, right? I mean, this is all new to the companies and the managers, and it was a big area of confusion around, you know, how do I manage remotely even better and to have confidence around a partner, a long-standing partner that can collaborate with them and give them the confidence, I think is really important.

That's I think that is a, is a, is an important aspect of being an intermediary and the staffing company who has some. Some good solid long-term experience on how workers need to be treated and progressed. Right. So, all right. So, I'm waiting here. I think Yon we're we're coming to a close. I want to thank John Sue Jeff, you guys were outstanding. Hopefully we provided some insight. Nobody can predict the future. But we, uh, try to at least establish some platform for trying and enjoy your remote working since I don't think it's going away anytime soon. And when you combine it with all the other fun technology stuff with AI and ML, And all these other things.

Hopefully it won't feel as weird as online. Bring it back.

Jeff Wald: All right. I gotta get to my next online date. Why not? Thank you.

Hans Bukow: See ya.

Before the pandemic around 3% of the US workforce were working remotely.

During the pandemic this number went up to around 40%. Will this trend continue with vaccinations and the opportunity to back to office?

Listen to four experts from the staffing industry about the future of remote work.

Learn which opportunities and risks do come along with it and how you can leverage on them.

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Hans Bukow

John Healy

Sue Bhatia

Jeff Wald




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