We work with 25 Fortune 500 brands and their CMOs to build and sustain organizations that are agile, innovative, and most importantly, human centric. For over a hundred years, we’ve followed a 40 hour, 9-5(ish), in office (well, that’s changed a bit recently), in a major market, year round way of working. And we’ve all scratched our heads about the lack of diversity we’ve been able to create and maintain in orgs that follow this outdated work model.
The most forward-thinking marketing leaders I know are finally tackling the source and asking themselves a simple question: Is the way work happens for my brand and on my brand inclusive?
When we ask talent to live in a specific geographic area, we must also ask ourselves who we are excluding when we do so. Would an employee with PTSD from combat want to live and work in the bustle of NYC? Would someone who knows, deep in their heart, that they should be in Tennessee helping to care for an ailing family member show up as their best selves working in-office in LA? Would someone from a refugee family get excited about moving away from a family they have worked so hard to keep together in the past?
When we insist that talent must work year-round, are we excluding parents with children out of school for summers? When we ask talent to only work on one brand or project at a time, are we leaving out all the dreamers, dabblers, creators, and entrepreneurs who could lend an incredible lens to the way our brand shows up in the world?
While we spend a lot of time, energy, panels, and op-eds talking about how to create inclusion by hiring, promoting, and supporting talent from diverse backgrounds, we have largely failed to talk about the underlying systems and ways of working that perpetuate inequality and compound the harsh reality of being a minority or someone who wants or needs to work in a flexible way in corporate America. Creating a layered workforce is one very important strategy in developing a truly inclusive organization. And major bonus points because it will make you more innovative, resilient, and profitable as well.
Here’s how our global brand clients are thinking about this today:
Full-time, traditional employment: This is the base of your entire organization. Working 9-5, year round, in a single role lights these folks up and they are a critical component of your talent strategy as they act as the thread carrying through knowledge, leadership, culture, and history that the rest of your layered workforce will benefit greatly from.
Agency/consultancy talent: This is external expertise, often available on-demand. Partnering with these firms is a wonderful way to tap into talent that doesn’t want to work inside a brand, live where your brand is based, and/or talent that thrives in a different type of workplace. With planning, these talent resources can offer an incredible outsiders’ perspective and depth of topic-specific knowledge that might not be available inside your organization.
Flex talent: This is the freelance and entrepreneurial talent community, which currently makes up 36% of the US workforce (and growing!). These folks are some combination of part-time, full-time, seasonal, project based, skill-specific, remote, in-office and create an accordion workforce model that makes the most ambitious teams better able to tackle just about any work challenge that comes their way. This is your dream team of on-demand, uniquely suited, highly-skilled talent, at-the-ready to parachute into your organization as an individual or team to tackle work and projects that fall outside of the scope of your traditional employees and agency/consultancy employees.
We Are Rosie sits squarely in the Flex Talent lane, having built the first flex career platform in marketing. Our community of marketers bolts onto your in-house brand teams, your agency teams, and your consultancy teams (we do all 3 for many clients) to allow each org to flex up (higher skilled talent), down (new-to-the-workforce talent that offers incredible perspective, spirit and reverse-mentoring), and sideways (bringing on-demand skills to your teams at the drop of a hat). With 12,000+ independent marketing experts skilled across exec leadership, strategy, media, creative, PR, communications, technology, analytics, and more, our Rosies allow any team to get the exact talent they need when they need it.
If your full-time, traditional employees, your consultancies, and your agencies are the big boulders in your strategic plan, flex talent is the superpower sand that fills in all the cracks as your priorities change, new ideas emerge. We provide stability across your entire marketing ecosystem.
The substantial rise of flex talent in recent years has necessitated some major changes in how we think about org design, inclusion, and innovation. By creating room for a layered workforce inside your organization, you are bringing in a wide variety of people who can make your brand more relatable and your marketing dollars more effective. And you are truly creating an inclusive workforce- every modern marketers superpower.