A Look Inside Today’s Worker-Employer Relationship

How are companies handling their talent management strategies in this new era for HR professionals? Let’s take an inside look at a new report, compliments of RiseSmart.

April 4, 2018 – There is an ‘employee relationship economy’ on the rise being driven by technology, a changing workforce and globalization, according to a newly-released report by RiseSmart. With it, human resources management will increasingly need strategies to embrace a new era of ‘boomeranging’ employees – those who re-enter employment with the same organization), frequent job changes and ‘tours of duty.’

There is “a paradigm shift in how talent is moving into, within and out of an organization,” said Dan Davenport, president and general manager of RiseSmart. “As a result, business outcomes are increasingly dependent on a company’s ability to achieve high levels of employee engagement, loyalty and trust.”

Embracing a model that allows for employees to move with flexibility and ease ensures business outcomes that include high levels of employee engagement, loyalty and trust, said the study. All of those are essential to the survival of organizations in the 21st century world of employee-employer relationships.

Indeed, the employer-employee relationship has shifted from 20th century job classifications – with their rules – to an attitude of “whatever-it-takes” to achieve the specified outcomes. According to the report, philosophical shifts in human capital management are starting to include innovative approaches to fill unique talent needs.

Future of Work

“Creative solutions, such as looking outside of the typical job candidate pool and providing training for workers, or partnering with an organization in a completely different industry to share talent for mutually beneficial projects will become the norm,” said RiseSmart. “The future of work will continue to break the rules and stretch the current boundaries that define how and where work is done. It may consist of a continuum of humans and robots.”


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No longer will the end of a stint with a company under a specific title or role necessarily mean the end of the employer-employee relationship, or the end of a career. Now, and in the future, employees will start to view the end of one job as an opportunity to pursue their passions, to experience professional growth and to expand their networks and experiences. “Employers will see departing employees as their future brand ambassadors, customers, hiring references and possible future employees,” said the report. “The employee relationship is no longer end to end, but beginning to beginning.”

Companies will be looking for new ways to decrease costs, while optimizing talent, in a quest to maintain an advantage over industry rivals for talent, said the study. The flexible workforce is already growing as the influence of artificial intelligence continues to create a shift in the type of work people do, and replaces human capital with automated machinery and processes, as reported in multiple past Hunt Scanlon Media articles.


Hunt Scanlon Media’s Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Stories of 2017
Among the most consequential transitions we’ve reported on this past year has been the rise of artificial intelligence – and what it means for the future of work and the future of the recruiting sector.


Trends like boomeranging are becoming more common as employees are re-entering organizations based on choice, not on circumstance. The trend is becoming so commonplace that 76 percent of companies today hire back workers who had previously worked for them, according to a survey reported in the ‘Employee Engagement Series’ documents.

Evolving Workforce

This employee relationship economy is not futuristic, said the RiseSmart report. It has been brewing along with the gig economy, technological advances and a global economy. Now this new type of economy is leading the way in terms of how businesses describe the entire employee journey into, through and out of companies.

Related: Building Talent Pipelines in the Age of Technology

By 2020, experts predict that 40 percent of the workforce will be on-demand workers. The best and most sought-after talent will be able to cherry-pick their assignments with companies. “The companies they choose will be the ones that have established reputations as great places to work, and have proven they care for employees throughout the employment cycle – including upon separation,” the report said. “The future work mindset will be project-oriented and focused on gaining experiences and knowledge. In a quest for the right mix of workplace culture and meaningful work experiences, some workers will boomerang to their former companies.”

Employers Trying New Methods

There are now many experiments in the labor model to improve productivity and increase bottom-line results. These experiments are designed to stimulate growth and profitability. According to the report, HR leaders are beginning to test out growth methods in the human capital management space, including:

Flexible Workforce: Full-time jobs are continually being reduced and replaced with part-time and freelance workers.


Human Capital Leaders Turning to Flexible Workforce in Record Numbers
More than half of human capital leaders from around the world expect to transfer one third of their permanent positions to contingent roles in the near future, according to Randstad Sourceright’s new Talent Trends report.


Talent as a Service: Elimination of boundaries between different kinds of workers of all classifications, including full-time, part-time, freelance, former employees, vendors and joint-venture partners. The objective is to harness talent and deliver it as a service.

Embracing Technology: Millennials already assume their work will require the use and knowledge of quickly evolving technologies. In the future, all generations should be prepared for the aspects of work which will require familiarity and proficiency with technology.

Managers as Coaches: The role of management will shift from a top down approach of distributing work to coaching employees to achieve goals and realize purpose.

Related: Top 5 HR Trends to Watch

Boomeranging Employees

The boomerang phenomenon is nothing new. In order to retain highly-trained workforces during down cycles, the U.S. auto industry originally institutionalized boomeranging, said the report. While autoworkers were unemployed, or doing different kinds of work while auto sales were low, the expectation was that they would eventually be “called back” to those well-paying positions when sales rebounded.

Related: 4 Ways to Build Talent Pipelines of the Future

In the employee relationship economy, more industries are letting those who have been terminated know that separation is not the end, and that there could be an opportunity for departing employees in the future. “This simple gesture, along with changes in the employment model, has removed the stigma for individuals who are losing a source of income and creates goodwill between the organization and the community, and between the employer and employees – current, past, and future,” said the study. “The goodwill that is generated opens the door to offering employment to boomerang employees.”

The report points out the advantages a boomeranger brings to a company include:

  • Deep knowledge of the organizational culture, which has become increasingly important as employers attempt to differentiate themselves from their competition through the establishment of a unique and engaging workplace culture.
  • Training and experience in the fundamental skills that represent the company’s core competencies.
  • Insider ability to navigate trouble spots in the organization.

For these reasons, those in the hiring loop often give preference to former employees who are applying for current jobs. Increasingly, standard job applications list multiple questions about previous association with the company and require detailed answers.


Why ‘Boomerang Employees’ Might Be In Your Future
The way companies and their employee’s part ways has completely changed. Although job-hopping is at an all-time high, employers today understand that loyalty doesn’t necessarily go away when employees walk out the door.


Employee Relationship Economy

The term ‘employee relationship economy’ describes a new kind of social contract. “Instead of lifetime employment with gold-plated benefits (including pensions), they guarantee the workforce tools and avenues for continual beginnings,” said RiseSmart.

Among those tools are contemporary career transition services that guide workers through the process of new beginnings. The best services provide those in transition with advice and guidance to help them repurpose their skills, and with assistance polishing their professional brands to make the best impression with future employers.

Related: RiseSmart Launches New Career Transition Service

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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