What a hybrid workforce is and isn’t

What a hybrid workforce is and isn’t

Do a quick Google search for a hybrid workforce, and you'll find countless articles describing what it is, how to support and manage it, and what it looks like in practice. But you will quickly find upon closer examination that what these articles describe is a workplace model — one where employees have the option to either work remotely or from home. 

What's missing in these definitions is the actual makeup of one's workforce. In this article, we aim to provide more clarity around this term, describing what a hybrid workforce looks like and examples of true hybrid workforces in practice. 

What a Hybrid Workforce Really Means 

At Graphite, a hybrid workforce is, in fact, a blended workforce. Under this model, a company's workforce comprises full-time and part-time employees, independent contractors (or independent experts as we call them), and freelancers. Depending on the employer-employee agreement, these individuals can also work either onsite or remotely. 

The idea behind a hybrid workforce model is to bring together the best of both worlds by allowing employees (full-time and independent)to work in the most productive and comfortable way while also providing the company with the benefits of a diverse and flexible workforce.

In contrast, the standard definition of a hybrid workforce denotes a workplace model where employees split their work hire between working onsite or remotely. Some are even permanently working remotely. 

A hybrid workplace or hybrid work model can be beneficial for companies that need to maintain a presence in a specific location but also want to take advantage of the benefits of remote work.

It can also be a good option for companies that want to offer flexible work arrangements to their employees but don't want to go fully remote. We covered this concept of a hybrid workplace model or hybrid work at length here, plus tips for how to craft a suitable work model for your organization. 

How a Hybrid Workforce Actually Works 

A hybrid workforce works in very much the same manner that you're used to. Full-time employees and independent experts come together to work on specific projects aimed at helping the business meet its strategic goals. 

The only difference is that once the project is complete, the independent expert is rolled off the project or retained to work on another initiative. Companies can leverage solutions like staffing firms or recruiting agencies to gain access to independent talent. 

Others often take another approach, leveraging on-demand talent acquisition platforms like Graphite to meet immediate needs. And there are several benefits to taking this approach, such as lower talent acquisition costs, faster access to subject matter expertise, and increased workforce agility that enables you to better navigate uncertainty with ease, to name a few. 

3 Examples of Hybrid Workforces In Action 

Companies across sectors can benefit from working with independent talent. At Graphite, we've seen firsthand how our independent contracts deliver value, helping enterprises scale their organizations through digital transformations, go-to-market strategies, and innovative product launches that capture market share. To that end, here are three examples of a hybrid workforce in action.

Fortune 500 Company Merges Technical Environment Post M&A Integration  

After having undergone the acquisition of an e-commerce company, this Fortune 500 logistics company realized that operating in two technical environments (AWS and Azure) was impacting its ability to operate efficiently. 

With a new launch expected to go to market in eight weeks, it realized that it first needed to reconcile these technical environments to measure its success. Rather than engage a consulting firm or a full-time employee to lead this initiative, it decided to instead onboard an independent subject matter expert on demand.

Through Graphite, the company hired an ex-Mckinsey consultant adept at leading digital transformations via cloud modernization and post-merger systems integration. With the expert on board, the company was able to integrate both systems in time for its fall launch.

Consumer Goods Manufacturer Reinvents Supply Chain Process 

Supply chains the world over have been disrupted by the aftereffects of the pandemic, geopolitical unrest, and, now, market uncertainty. This consumer goods manufacturing company was no different. 

With a healthy supply chain integral to its success, the company knew it had to relook its supply chain process to remain competitive in today’s market landscape. Because it lacked the subject matter expertise to lead a supplier performance and relationship management (SPRM) initiative of this magnitude, the company decided to consult an expert. 

After learning about Graphite and its capabilities, it engaged an Account Executive (AE) to source an independent expert. The selected expert was an independent consultant with prior Big Four experience at Deloitte and PwC.

Once onboarded, the expert helped the company build its new SPRM program — developing KPIs to track, a governance model and structure, and implementing the mechanism for success. 

Women-Owned Medical Practice Leverages the Expertise of an Interim CFO  

News of employees resigning to join the Great Resignation movement are a dime a dozen. Ultimately, this is what ended up happening to this woman-owned medical practice after its CFO resigned.

Knowing the vital role a CFO plays in ensuring the business is on track to meet its strategic revenue goals, the company immediately decided to leverage Graphite to find an interim CFO. Within 42 hours, the AE sourced 21 candidates. The AE presented the top seven candidates that best fit the company’s criteria. 

The selected expert? An independent interim CFO with over 17 years of experience. The interim CFO seamlessly integrated into the team, building out the P&L report for the remainder of 2021,  providing the CEO with a look at the company's current cash flow, and managing the accounting and finance team until a more permanent solution was identified. 

Hybrid Workforces: The Future of Work 

As companies continue to realize the strategic benefits of a hybrid workforce, it's only expected that we will continue to see the use of the model increase. 

In a podcast interview with Open Assembly, our CEO and Founder Vikram Ashok provides context to this movement, saying that in the following "five to ten years, it'll just be part of the way companies do business, as opposed to a newer concept, which it is today."

If you are interested in learning more about how to leverage a hybrid workforce for your organization, reach out to an Account Executive on Graphite or take a look at our guide for building high-performing teams with on-demand talent.

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