Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms
A blended workforce is when an organization uses employees with different types of work arrangements to meet its needs. The different work arrangements include:
A blended workforce provides benefits both to employers and employees. For employers, the benefits include:
Being able to quickly scale up or downsize the workforce
Staying flexible in response to work demands
Access to a skilled workforce
Saving money by not having to offer benefits to all employees
For employees, especially those who don’t work full time, the benefits include:
A flexible working schedule
More independence in choice of employer and type of work
Diverse working conditions and relationships
The main disadvantage of a blended workforce for both employers and employees is disengagement. Sometimes, non-traditional employees feel left out because they aren’t in the normal day-to-day and typically receive less support.
Granting independence isn’t the problem. In a study of the gig economy, Gallup differentiates between non-traditional workers, finding that those it terms “independent gig workers,” such as freelance and online platform workers, “typically have greater autonomy and flexibility than traditional workers do, leading to higher engagement.”
On the other hand, “contingent gig workers,” like on-call and temporary workers, “are treated more like employees without the benefits, pay, and stability that come with employment.” In contrast to more independent gig workers, these types of workers have less control over how their performance is evaluated, receive less feedback, and have less freedom to innovate.
So while a blended workforce may save an employer money in upfront hiring and benefits costs, this staffing strategy can still end up costing organizations in the long run as dissatisfied employees become less productive or get so fed up as to change jobs.
Employers need to make sure that they’re engaging all employees, whether remote or in office, full or part-time, independent or contingent. Gallup suggests incorporating the most rewarding aspects of gig work for all employees, namely:
Opportunities to be creative
Additionally, other ways to make all employees feel engaged include:
Setting up effective communication with remote employees
Creating an inclusive recognition and reward system (that all employees can benefit from)
Offering the benefits that matter the most to employees