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By Karen Stone, CHRE


We have been having a lot of conversation in the past few years about the increase of non-traditional work arrangements.

Anecdotally, contract workers, temporary, part-time and remote jobs seem to be more common every week. 

In this case, the anecdotes are representative of a real trend. According to Workforce 2025, a Randstad study looking at the future of the workforce in Canada, 30 per cent of the workforce is currently made up of non-traditional workers. The study also forecasts that the contingent workforce will grow to more than 35 per cent by 2025. 

This newly populous non-traditional workforce may seem like a boon to employers – now, it’s easier than ever to get work accomplished on a project basis, without adding permanent fulltime headcount (and all of the associated costs). 

Even beyond the parameters of hiring part-timers or contractors, we are seeing innovations like Uber and Task Rabbit, where the “worker” has almost complete autonomy about setting the terms of their own work. 

But while employers may rejoice at the prospect of affordable, agile talent, it raises a host of new questions and new challenges for HR to work through.

How can we ensure that adequate training and onboarding takes place for contract workers who may only work for a company for a short time? How can we ensure institutional knowledge transfer when a large component of the organization may be made up of contingent workers? How can we build a strong, cohesive workplace culture if a third of our workforce turns over every six months? 

These are just a few of the crucial questions HR will be pondering for the foreseeable future. We delve into the conversation in this issue, but that’s just a jumping-off point. These are challenges we will surely continue to work on for years to come – and just another piece of work for HR to add value to a company’s success.

Karen Stone, CHRE, is chair of the Human Resources Professionals Association.



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