Rethinking The Workforce Playbook
Rethinking The Workforce Playbook

Table of Contents


The New Reality Has Arrived




The Human Cloud

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The Workforce

Building More
Effective & Flexible

Two powerful solutions for building sustainable service delivery in the new reality


The Human Cloud



Professional Partners

Professional Partners
The New Reality
Has Arrived

The world is facing unthinkable challenges at the moment. The recovery of the global economy could take at least two years, according to Steven E. Salterio, Professor of Business at the Queen’s University in Ontario, who analyzed nearly 75 studies. However, our modern service- based economy is more fragile than ever before and on an individual level there could be losses that last many years, or from which we may never recover. Intermittent social distancing may be needed even till 2022, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. 

What is certain in all this uncertainty is that customer preferences will change significantly. What will this mean for your business? 

The new paradigm for companies should be to build not only strong, but sustainable businesses – in the broad sense. From a business perspective this means not only building resilience, but becoming anti-fragile i.e. adjusting quickly to new circumstances, and being well-balanced and agile in responding to current needs and constraints. 

Carl Benedikt Frey

Director of the Future of Work Programme at the Oxford Martin School1

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that companies increasingly will have to operate in ‘just-in-case’, rather than ‘just-in- time’ supply chain models. If US-China tensions continue to escalate, more companies are also likely to reshore production to avoid tariffs and disruptions to trade. This is also likely to involve moving sensitive business services to more secure places within national borders. In addition, because labor costs are higher in advanced economies, they will accelerate automation to cut wage bills, boost productivity and provide more pandemic-proof operations.

1 Carl Benedikt Frey – Director of the Future of Work Programme at the Oxford Martin School, regular op-ed contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Scientific American. He is the author of The Technology Trap – Capital, Labor and Power in the Age of Automation, selected as one the best books of the year by the FT in 2019

Start Rethinking Your Workforce Strategy,
If You Haven’t Already

Temporarily slowing down business activity and transitioning to remote work models was actually the easy part of reacting to the Covid-19 crisis (Phase 1). Despite the disruption it caused to many employees, in most cases businesses did what they had to do to maintain mission-critical service continuity, protect employee health, and survive the lockdown to avoid permanent damage to their core business that could affect their entire workforce (Phase 2). Re-opening your business after a prolonged lockdown and moving back into physical office space is much more complicated from a managerial and mental health perspective. In Phase 3 businesses will face many operational issues and will have to confront people’s worst fears. This isn’t the extent of it, either, as many companies will also have to develop and rebuild their entire business to adapt to the demands and challenges of an uncertain new reality.

Eric Simonson

Managing Partner of Research, Everest Group2

To follow this path you need to fundamentally rethink your workforce strategy.

75% of enterprises are already putting significant effort into reviewing workforce flexibility options. External factors, such as increasing customer comfort with digital offerings and increasing perceived value of flexible work options in the talent market, are further pushing the need for these models. Companies are implementing remote working solutions (working from home – WFH/freelancers), digitally-augmented delivery models (chatbots/intelligent virtual agents – IVAs), and flexible staffing models (contingent workforce). Sourcing work optimization, a skills portfolio, and pyramid rationalization as well as automation and process improvement are all important areas to enhance effectiveness and optimize costs.

2 Eric Simonson, has more than 20 years of sourcing strategy and global services industry analysis expertise, first as a consultant and then in ongoing management of Everest Group’s research practice. His overarching goal is to ensure enterprises, service providers, and investors have the combination of fact- and experience-based insight they require to make informed, actionable, impactful, and value-generating global services decisions.

How should you adjust your workforce
strategy for the new reality?

Two complementary solutions that address these points and are helping companies augment existing teams, restructure their workforce,
and streamline their business models to be more effective and agile are: Automation and the Human Cloud.

The Future of Work 2020 Report:
From Headcount to Skill Count

86% of HR technology leaders worry about a shortage of critical skills.* With COVID-19, the situation is getting even more complicated.

In our Fall 2020 Report, industry experts and analysts will take
a deep dive into the solutions and strategies to help you
become a more flexible and resilient skills-based organization.

Pre-Order Now!

*Gartner, Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2020


The Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON), cites 2020 as the year of robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA). According to SSON’s new report, RPA will finally become embedded in the DNA of business services.

According to SSON’s 2020 survey, just
under half of global SSO/GBS practitioners have actually implemented Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to date. However,
the more important finding is that only 10% are not doing anything about RPA – with the remainder about to start. Given that we are now four to five years into RPA adoption, we’ve definitely reached – and passed
– a tipping point.

Barbara Hodge

Principal Analyst and Global Digital Content Editor at the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON)4

4 Barbara Hodge, Principal Analyst and Global Digital Content Editor at the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON), the largest and most respected forum for executives responsible for delivering optimized business services. Author of the report

Automation addresses three major
challenges that companies are facing now:

Wiktor Doktór

Head of Pro Progressio6

The last decade in RPA was more focused on theory and convincing the market that robots are not the machines, but elements of well designed software to support our business activities. Remote work forced by COVID-19, wide distribution of tasks, and the necessity of increasing the speed as well as accuracy in process management has forced various industries to move into the digital world much faster.
I strongly believe the third decade of XXIst century, which has just started, will be the decade of RPA. We will understand it better,
it will be more available, and certainly will have positive impact on the business growth and development in the Business Support Services industry.

5 Zinnov, 2020
6 Wiktor Doktór – CEO of Pro Progressio Foundation and Pro Progressio Club, BPO & SSC expert specialized in business and location advisory. Podcaster of “BSS bez tajemnic” podcast and editor of the main outsourcing industry media in Poland – and Outsourcing & More Magazine.

How can Automation help me now?

According to an SSON study from March 20207, 36% of shared services planned to accelerate their automation initiatives to reduce dependency on physical locations/human resources as one of their responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Automation is improving work flexibility, safety, and productivity8.
It is also helping businesses face the most urgent challenges. Automated employee risk assessments help mitigate health and safety risks as people start going back to work. Robotic process automation supports remote working e.g. by providing up to a 90% reduction in the set-up and testing time of VPN infrastructure implementation, with no errors. Automation can make certain processes up to 5.5 times faster.

Zbigniew Marcinkowski

Head of Business Process Services (BPS) CEE – Strategy and Partnerships at Automation Anywhere9

The COVID-19 pandemic could be the defining moment BPOs leverage to make a huge move from an almost fully on-premise delivery model to a work-at-home or mixed model. Service delivery centers could take three steps to support the BPO workforce.


Analyze & identify:

Assess your current technology capabilities and determine how they can be scaled to support a work at home model. Automation can be a big ally here as most technologies used today are not designed to work in remote mode.


Support distributed connectivity:

Enable a true team-based remote work environment with human-in-the- loop interaction with attended and unattended bots working iteratively with users.


Investigate opportunities for improvement:

Actively explore how you can help your employees remain as productive as possible in work at home situations. Just as important, identify tools that will help with accuracy, efficiency, and capacity in a secure and scalable environment. Table stakes for work at home RPA is a web-native infrastructure. Successful implementation of software bots can provide up to a 60% expansion in capacity and drive error rates to zero while improving worker efficiency.

We have made many ready-to-use bots available to help mitigate disruption by enabling businesses to stay connected across teams and systems, maintaining customer support and offering stability in times of uncertainty. You can find more details here: solutions-covid-19

Each crisis is speeding up innovation and the current one is no exception. Leaders and visionaries will get out of their comfort zones and challenge traditional norms but inevitably move forward.

7 To be presented on our webinar on June 23rd. Sign in:
8 IDC Survey: Automation and Productivity in the COVID-19 Era, May 2020
9 Zbigniew Marcinkowski, Head of Business Process Services (BPS) CEE – Strategy and Partnerships at Automation Anywhere

Automation is answering challenges
connected with remote working

Przemysław Lewicki

Director of Operational Digital Transformation Center, Head of Robotics (RPA), ING Bank Śląski10

Innovation is getting more important nowadays than ever
before. Companies need to react quickly and find new ways
of doing business in order to keep their business sustainable
and profitable. Automation is one of the easiest and safest
ways to innovate the company. Automated processes are safer than the same processes held in the distributed environment among employees. But probably the most important is that
the automation helps to free your workforce from numerous monotonous, repetitive tasks. In times when people spend hours in front of their computers, tired by everyday digital monotony, letting them focus on more complex and creative work can boost productivity and enhance specialists’ satisfaction.

To take the first steps, it’s always best to start with already existing and vetted solutions. You can engage a robot from RoboPlatform which allows you to:

  • Create robots, even if you have no experience and coding skills. Very simple robots are created in a no-code mode. More advanced are being programmed in the C# and Python languages.
  • Implement the tool very quickly
  • Get a high ROI
  • Run robots in unattended mode using a free-of-charge orchestrator
  • Use different technologies and play with the solution

10 Przemysław Lewicki, Director of Operational Digital Transformation Center, Head of Robotics (RPA), ING Bank Śląski

Starting Your RPA Journey



Set business objectives and ROI for automation. Identify process objectives and investment requirements.

You can ask your automation partner what kind of outcomes can be expected per specific process.



If you are just starting your automation journey, choose processes with a proven track record of success in other companies.



Unless you have an internal, experienced RPA team, partner with a third-party provider to take advantage of their ready-to-use tools and experience of working with other companies.



Set up an RPA CoE to carry out pilot projects. Set KPIs both for you and,
if applicable, between you and your client. If needed, set up an implementation team to assist your customer in deployment.



Engage IT, business, operations, risk, and legal teams in your company for comprehensive governance. Take care over the right communication with employees (yours and your clients’) to make them feel comfortable with the change, and plan up-skilling initiatives.



Compare outcomes with desired KPIs, and business and process objectives. Identify strong and weak points of the process to adjust for the future.

Source: Zinnov 2020, Automation Anywhere, ING

The Human Cloud

HR leaders started 2020 with two priorities: building critical skills and competencies for their organizations and strengthening their current and future bench (Gartner). These challenges will not be eased by COVID-19. On the contrary, Everest predicts that talent shortages might become even more acute. While easier tasks can be successfully automated, more complex projects will need experienced teams more than ever before.

86% of HR technology leaders worry about
the shortage of critical skills and competencies.

So how can you gain access to Talent when it’s so difficult to find in the first place? The short answer is you can’t. The long answer is that many of the best specialists are unavailable or rather invisible to the market which uses old models and processes for talent acquisition. In an age when already 40% of the US, and 10-30% of European11 workforce were “gig workers” before COVID12, companies need to start looking for the skills for the ‘job to be done‘, exactly where these capabilities are located.

11 Talent Alpha, based on many resources e.g. explained/pdfscache/1557.pdf

12 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017-2020

Resources Available in the Human Cloud

Matthew Mottola


The Human Cloud is a way to think about accessing and engaging the right talent at the right time. Because the Human Cloud is digital and globally distributed, it has never been easier to tap into the world’s most talented experts for the specific skill you need at a specific time. And since it’s cost efficient, top talent is no longer exclusive to just the Googles and Microsofts of the world.

For example, a North American motorcycle manufacturer built its signature mobile application through the Human Cloud. At the time
of writing, the app has 150,000 downloads, a 5-star rating, and over 8.8k reviews. But deeper than the customer experience they can
now provide, they wouldn’t have been able to build this themselves or through their existing vendors. They needed a product manager, project manager, user interface/experience developer, web and mobile app developers, DevOps engineer, architect, and a quality assurance tester. They were able to look beyond their own office and their own vendors since the Human Cloud gave them access to top tech talent from anywhere in the world.

13 Matthew Mottola, CoFounder and CEO of Venture L, Author of the Human Cloud, Built the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit.

Understanding the Human Cloud

Przemek Berendt

CEO, Talent Alpha14

It’s high time you shifted your workforce strategy from headcount to skill count. Ask yourself what is most beneficial to you, your business and the people working for you. Is it permanently searching for specialists to fill available positions, or is it rather focusing on the job to be done? I believe it is most efficient to look for the right talent- capability to do the work exactly when it’s needed by using the best skills inside and outside of the organization. And on the other side of the equation – most specialists prefer to be rewarded for the real advantages they bring to companies and projects. We could live in a world where our talents were well-recognized, were best used, and were important and appreciated. The Human Cloud is a great tool to make a significant step in this direction.

The Human Cloud will help you to: access, manage, measure, access & share Talent. It will give you the visibility of what skills are at your disposal. It will enhance your HR, recruitment and up/re-skilling efficiency. It can also reduce costs and increase effectiveness significantly. E.g. for IT specialists it can reduce time-to-productivity by 20% and talent acquisition costs by up to 35%, according to Talent Alpha’s experience.

14 Przemek Berendt, CEO at Talent Alpha – B2B2B Human Cloud Platform. Forbes Tech Council Contributor. Previously Global Marketing VP at Luxoft.

How can the Human Cloud help me now?

As described in Matthew Mottola’s forthcoming book about the Human Cloud (to be published by HarperCollins in fall 2020), organizations are facing several massive challenges: 

  • There is a shortage of tech talent if you’re not in a main international hub.
  • Start-ups can do in months what takes larger organizations years, a major reason being that the
    traditional channels for accessing talent are too slow.
  • The only thing higher than the divorce rate is the percentage of employees engaged at work.
  • And a new challenge in the era of COVID-19: re-scaling while maintaining cost efficiency.

To both survive and move forward, you probably have three pressing hair-on-fire questions: 1. What needs to get done?
2. How do we re-scale?
3. How do we do this on a shoestring budget?

This is where the Human Cloud shines. Across Fortune 100 companies we’ve seen an average of 50-90% cost savings and time savings from around 30 days to around two days to find and hire the right person. These are just the averages. Once your ‘bench’ is built – meaning you’ve identified relevant experts – hiring can take just minutes and projects that once took months can be completed in days. 

Start by doing a workflow audit with your team:


Dissect your team’s current workflow

  • What can your team do but doesn’t want to?
  • What can your team do but shouldn’t keep doing?
  • What can’t your team do because they don’t have the skills or time?

Imagine you already have experts waiting on you

  • If your team had an intern, what would you have them help the team with?
  • If you had an assistant for everyone on the team, what would you have them help
    team members with?
  • If your team had an expert designer, what could they help with?
  • If your team had an expert data scientist, what could they help with?

Take a high-level view

  • Is there a project your team has kept on the shelf?
  • Are there tickets your team hasn’t gotten to?

Keep up with the Joneses (in a healthy way)

  • What do other teams do that you’d like to replicate?

Source: Matthew Mottola & Matthew Coatney, 2020

The Human Cloud can be a solution in all of the above scenarios. 

Managing Your Cloud & Leveraging Talent Science 

In a world focused on delivering the right skills to do the right job, how do you ensure your company has the right skills readily available? How can you assess them better and faster than your competition? The answer is Talent Science and People Analytics. According to the latest research, companies that are able to identify and boost the strengths of their employees achieve better business outcomes and succeed in agile environments. 

Dominika Zaremba

Head of Talent Science, Talent Alpha16

Talent Science and People Analytics can help you find the right talent in your network to complete specific tasks. Most Talent Science tools and metrics measure hard skills, however, so-called soft skills such
as cognitive ability or personality traits are increasingly important, especially for managerial and leadership roles. Several easy-to- measure personality traits heavily influence job engagement, which is considered a strong factor in job-match15.

Example of Talent Science Metrics 

16 Dominika Zaremba, Head of Talent Science at Talent Alpha. Cognitive Scientist & Organizational Psychologist, with vast experience in scientific research and dynamic start-up environments awarded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education for exceptional scientific achievement.

Starting Your Human Cloud Journey



Evaluate your backlog and identify the critical projects your business’ needs. Dissect these projects into defined projects, deliverables or tasks. Identify which of these you understand but know you shouldn’t do. Ideally, you understand the success criteria and the project, and whether the deliverable or task is low-risk and failure won’t affect the broader business.



Think about conducting a job analysis and observing what skills are used for a certain job on a day-to-day basis. Talk to the experts to identify non-obvious skills, personality traits, and abilities necessary for great performance. You can also ask your Human Cloud provider to help you in identifying skills needed to get the job done.



Use your typical process (e.g. FTE recruitment) as your best alternative to the negotiated agreement (BATNA) in the process
of choosing a new Human Cloud solution. Take into consideration: What is the cost per hour of the specialist or project team?
What is your typical time-to-productivity? How much does employer branding and recruitment cost you per FTE or RFP?



Choose the easiest and most cost-effective way to use the skills you need. If you decide on engaging an external Human Cloud provider, select a freelance or a B2B2B platform with an extensive database and advanced talent science metrics and people analytics.



Understand and articulate the measurable success criteria, plan the on-boarding with the external specialists or team as well as with your own staff. Set the project methodology and reporting model, and, critically, the knowledge transfer so all knowledge and IP stays in your company. If you work with an external provider, ask them for best practices and tools from their experience of working with similar clients.



Repeat and evolve: What went well? What didn’t go well?
What can you carry over to make this more efficient? For example, is there information from past failures or past successful projects that can be provided to you up front? If you’re satisfied with how the pilot went, expand the complexity of work.

The Future of Work 2020 Report:
From Headcount to Skill Count

86% of HR technology leaders worry about a shortage of critical skills.* With COVID-19, the situation is getting even more complicated.

*Gartner, Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2020