Deloitte-MIT Sloan Management Review study: companies increasingly rely on technology-based solutions such as artificial intelligence, robots or mobile applications to fill workforce shortage

The staff policies of companies around the world increasingly rely on technology to fill the workforce shortage, with almost 60% of them estimating an increase in the use of artificial intelligence (AI), robots or chatbots, while 37% foresee a more intensive collaboration with mobile app developers and providers over the next two years, according to the study Orchestrating Workforce Ecosystems, conducted by Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review. Moreover, most companies consider it beneficial to organize their workforce as an ecosystem, defined as a structure relying on both internal and external collaborators, between whom multiple relationships of interdependence and complementarity are established, in order to generate added value for the organization.

Almost all the companies participating in the study (93%) claim that the so-called “external employees”, such as service providers, management consultants or communication agencies, fixed-term or project-based employees, including developers and technology solution providers, are already part of the organization. On the other hand, however, only 30% of companies are ready to manage a mixed structure of the workforce.

The main reasons behind the decision to turn to external labour resources are the desire to reduce costs (62%), the intention to migrate to an on-demand work model based on a variable staffing scheme (41%) or the need to attract more employees with basic skills (40%).

Raluca Bontas, Partner, Global Employer Services, Deloitte Romania: “The results of the study indicate that the workforce can no longer be defined strictly in terms of permanent, full-time employees. The need for flexibility, increasingly evident lately, amid events that have disrupted the global economy, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine, has led companies to look for ways to add to the workforce other solutions, especially in markets where it is deficient. But employers who want to go further in this direction need to make sure that they comply with the labour laws applicable in their jurisdiction, which, from case to case, may be more permissive or more restrictive. In the particular case of Europe, attention and consideration to the new trends in the field of workforce orchestration within a company are still required as the legal framework has yet to catch up with the challenges such new practices bring,”.

Almost half of the companies (49%) consider that the optimal staffing structure should include both internal and external collaborators, provided that the first category is dominant. At the same time, 74% of the surveyed directors believe that the effective management of external collaborators is essential for the success of their organization.

At the same time, 89% are convinced that it is important for the external workforce to be integrated into the internal one, in order to create high-performing teams. On the other hand, 83% consider that the two categories have different expectations that require distinct offers in terms of benefits, rewards or flexibility in the way of working.

The responsibility for the workforce strategy lies with the entire top management team, mainly with the CEO (45% of respondents) and the human resources director (41%), but also with the COO, the CFO, the strategy and the legal director, according to the study.

The Orchestrating Workforce Ecosystems study was conducted by Deloitte and the MIT Sloan Management Review among more than 4,000 respondents, executives working in 29 industries, from 129 countries across all continents.

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