When You Make Your Own Blended Worlds of Work

The three of us have lived and breathed on all three worlds. We’ve been full-time employees, we’ve been independent contractors, and we’ve been entrepreneurs – all in varying capacities and with varying success. And sometimes we’ve been on two or even all three at once.

Because of this, we of course agreed that the way we used to work is long gone. We being myself, TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founder and co-host Meghan M. Biro, and founder and CEO of Zenith Talent Sunil Bagai, a recent show guest. We discussed how the days of primarily being full-time or part-time have given way to what we call the blended workforce – those individuals working as regular employees, freelance workers, and self-employed entrepreneurial talent side-by-side their full-time brothers and sisters.

Employers are now hiring record numbers of contingent workers and relying increasingly on this mix to achieve their goals. Staffing Industry Analysts research states that after rising substantially for a few years, the average percent across respondents has held steady at 18% since 2013. And earlier in 2015, a report by the Government Accountability Office showed that contingent workers make up 40 percent of workforce.

Not only that, we assumed during our discussion that these workers (us included) are happier, have achieved greater work-life integration and are profiting on their own. If that’s true, it’s welcome news for employers and workers looking to improve their opportunities.

And if it’s true, building and managing this blended workforce does still present challenges on almost every front – particularly when it comes to effectively sourcing and hiring contingent workers. It’s an on-demand world regardless of our classification – we want to do what we want, when we want and how we want.

That said, there are also no active or passive employment seekers on any level. Being called passive is a misnomer. It’s just incorrect. We’re all free agents loyal to the work we love to do first and foremost, and how we do that work, then those we do it with, around and for. So employers need to rethink the way their source, recruit, hire and onboard anybody for their organizations.

The three of us have also traversed two other interconnected universes that embody all three worlds above – one that supports us financially and the one that supports us emotionally and psychologically. I’m sure many of you readers have as well. The mix of breathable atmospheres is always dependent on where we’re at any given time, but I’d argue that the happiest of us frolic in our own by-design Milky Ways, with the heavy gravity of economic reality keeping us fixed in both spaces on any of the blended worlds.

Part of the softer gravitational pull does include how we perceive, consume and absorb like-minded cultures at those (blended workforce) opportunities – those that may feed our emotional needs. For example, 2015 Talent Board Candidate Experience research of over 130,000 job seekers revealed that what attracted more of them to specific employers over 40 percent of the time for Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Z (or Centinnials) were the company values. For Baby Boomers it was number two, but still nearly 40 percent. And both men and women valued values over 40 percent. (An interesting note was that financial information was in the top five only for Boomers and men.)

While this is important from a recruitment marketing perspectiveJosh Bersin shared new research by a research firm named Imperative that echoed the softer gravity and the fact that we’re much more productive, are higher performers and are significantly more likely to be net promoters of their organizations when we are doing personally fulfilling work in any capacity, outweighing any financial gain.

Ultimate success is relative and subjective, but I’d argue that we three have made our own blended worlds of work and gained invaluable rewards both tangible and intangible. That’s definitely the way to make a elevated living today.