Tuesday, May 21, 2024

g-f(2)2409 Adapting to the Freelance Revolution: Embracing a Blended Workforce


genioux Fact post by Fernando Machuca and ChatGPT


The modern workplace is undergoing a seismic shift as companies increasingly rely on highly skilled freelancers to meet their talent needs. Traditional recruitment strategies are proving inadequate, prompting organizations to adopt new models for integrating freelance professionals. This article from Harvard Business Review, "Highly Skilled Professionals Want Your Work But Not Your Job," by Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton, explores the complexities and strategies involved in managing a blended workforce.

genioux GK Nugget

"Highly skilled professionals prefer the flexibility of freelance work over traditional full-time employment, compelling companies to adapt their talent management practices to effectively integrate and leverage this blended workforce." — Fernando Machuca and ChatGPT, May 21, 2024

genioux Foundational Fact

In today’s competitive landscape, companies are struggling to attract highly skilled professionals for full-time positions, particularly in fields like technology, data sciences, and machine learning. As a result, the adoption of a blended workforce—combining in-house employees with highly skilled freelancers—is becoming essential. Successful integration requires new management practices that accommodate the unique attributes and expectations of freelancers while maintaining a cohesive team dynamic.

The 10 Most Relevant genioux Facts

  1. Shift in Talent Preferences: Many top professionals prefer freelance work due to the autonomy, flexibility, and variety it offers, making it harder for companies to recruit them for full-time roles.
  2. Rise of the Blended Workforce: Integrating freelancers into core teams is becoming a critical strategy for companies needing specialized skills for transformation projects.
  3. Challenges of Integration: Companies must overcome significant hurdles, including ensuring cultural fit, maintaining skills transfer, and avoiding over-reliance on external talent.
  4. Successful Case Studies: Companies like Microsoft, M&C Saatchi, and Mars are pioneering new practices to manage and integrate freelancers effectively.
  5. Evolving Managerial Roles: Managers need to develop new skills to oversee freelancers, focusing on project deliverables rather than traditional performance metrics.
  6. Institutional Knowledge Retention: Rigorous project management and knowledge-sharing practices are essential to ensure that valuable expertise is not lost when freelancers depart.
  7. Freelancer Engagement: Firms must invest in onboarding and ongoing engagement strategies to align freelancers with company values and goals.
  8. Technology’s Role: Digital platforms and tools facilitate the integration and management of freelancers, ensuring smooth workflows and communication.
  9. Changing Employee Expectations: In-house employees increasingly demand more flexibility, better work-life balance, and meaningful work, similar to the benefits enjoyed by freelancers.
  10. Future Workforce Trends: The freelance model is expected to grow, potentially reshaping the traditional employment landscape and prompting companies to rethink their talent strategies.


The integration of highly skilled freelancers into traditional workforces presents both challenges and opportunities. Companies must develop innovative management practices to effectively leverage this blended workforce, ensuring that both freelancers and full-time employees are engaged and productive. As organizations navigate this new terrain, they must balance the flexibility and expertise of freelancers with the stability and commitment of their in-house teams. The future of work will depend on the ability to adapt to these changing dynamics and create a cohesive, high-performing workforce.


The g-f GK Context

Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton, Highly Skilled Professionals Want Your Work But Not Your JobHarvard Business Review, From the Magazine (May–June 2024).


Diane Gherson is the former chief human resources officer of IBM, a director of Kraft Heinz, and a senior adviser at Boston Consulting Group.

Lynda Gratton is a professor of management practice at London Business School and the founder of HSM Advisory, a future-of-work research consultancy. Her most recent book is Redesigning Work: How to Transform Your Organization and Make Hybrid Work for Everyone (Penguin Business, 2022).

Classical Summary:

In the Harvard Business Review article "Highly Skilled Professionals Want Your Work But Not Your Job" by Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton, the authors explore the growing trend of highly skilled professionals preferring freelance work over traditional full-time employment. Companies face significant talent-management challenges as they struggle to attract and retain the necessary expertise to drive innovation and transformation within their organizations. The demand for freelancers, especially in fields like technology, data science, and machine learning, is on the rise due to their specialized skills and the flexibility they offer.

The article highlights the need for companies to adapt to this shift by developing new strategies for integrating and managing a blended workforce. Traditional methods of managing temporary staff are inadequate for highly skilled freelancers, necessitating a more cohesive approach that fully incorporates these professionals into internal teams. Successful examples from companies like Microsoft, M&C Saatchi, and Mars illustrate effective practices, such as onboarding freelancers into the company culture, ensuring rigorous project hygiene to retain institutional knowledge, and adopting a sponsor mindset to guide freelancers' performance.

The authors emphasize the importance of creating an environment where both in-house employees and freelancers can thrive. This involves addressing potential challenges, such as maintaining company culture, ensuring skills transfer, and managing the balance between autonomy and accountability. The article concludes with the notion that as the freelance model continues to gain traction, companies must rethink traditional employment practices and develop innovative approaches to attract and retain top talent in a rapidly evolving workforce landscape.

Diane Gherson

Diane Gherson is a highly respected professional with a wealth of experience in human resources and corporate leadership. She has held several key positions throughout her career, including the role of Chief Human Resources Officer at IBM, Director at Kraft Heinz, and Senior Adviser at Boston Consulting Group¹.

Gherson's journey with IBM began in 2002². She served in various senior leadership roles, focusing on human resources, talent, and compensation and benefits¹. From 2013 to 2017, she was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources¹. She then served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer from 2017 to August 2020¹. In her final months at IBM, from September 2020 to December 2020, she served as Senior Vice President and Special Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer¹.

During her tenure at IBM, Gherson was responsible for the people and culture of IBM's global workforce of 360,000². She was instrumental in redefining the HR profession for the digital era, infusing AI and automation across all HR offerings, and achieving historic increases in diversity representation².

After leaving IBM, Gherson became a Senior Lecturer in Organization Behavior at Harvard Business School from July 2021 to June 2023¹. She has been a Senior Advisor with Boston Consulting Group, Inc., a global management consulting firm, since July 2023¹.

In addition to her corporate roles, Gherson has been serving on the Board of Directors of Kraft Heinz since November 2022¹. She brings to the Board extensive expertise in human resources, compensation, and oversight of diversity and inclusion, as well as valuable experience in corporate transformations and operations¹.

Gherson holds a Bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and a Master’s degree in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell². She completed PhD coursework but not her degree at the Sloan School of Management, MIT².

Overall, Diane Gherson's contributions to the field of human resources and her insights on corporate leadership make her a significant figure in the business world.

Source: Conversation with Copilot, 5/21/2024

(1) Diane | Board of Directors | The Kraft Heinz Company. https://ir.kraftheinzcompany.com/board-directors/diane.

(2) Diane Gherson. https://www.nationalacademyhr.org/sites/default/files/Diane%20Gherson%20Bio%202021.pdf.

(3) Diane Gherson Biography | Booking Info for Speaking Engagements. https://www.allamericanspeakers.com/celebritytalentbios/Diane+Gherson/421989.

(4) Diane Gherson | Speaking Fee | Booking Agent - All American Speakers Bureau. https://www.allamericanspeakers.com/speakers/421989/Diane-Gherson.

(5) Diane Gherson - Director at Kraft Heinz | The Org. https://theorg.com/org/kraft-heinz/org-chart/diane-gherson.

Lynda Gratton

Lynda Gratton, born in February 1955 in Liverpool, England, is a renowned organizational theorist, consultant, and Professor of Management Practice at London Business School¹. She is also the founder of HSM Advisory, a future-of-work research consultancy¹.

Gratton's academic journey began with a degree in psychology, followed by a PhD at Liverpool University¹. After graduation, she started her career at British Airways as Chief Psychologist¹. In 1982, she moved to the management consultancy firm PA Consulting Group, where she became Director¹.

In 1989, Gratton embarked on her academic career as an assistant professor at London Business School¹. She later designed the 'Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Companies' program and has led it for over 20 years². This program is considered one of the world's leading programs on people and organizations².

In 2005, Gratton founded HSM Advisory, a specialist research and consulting team that bridges academia and business¹. In 2009, HSM Advisory launched the Future of Work Research Consortium, which has brought together executives from more than 110 global companies to imagine the future¹.

Gratton is a prolific writer and speaker. She has written ten books, which have sold over a million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages³. Her books cover a range of topics, including business and HR strategy, new ways of working, the rise of complex collaboration, the socially responsible roles of corporations, and the impact of a changing world on employment and work².

Her work has been globally recognized. She has received numerous awards, including the Tata prize in India, the annual Fellow of NAHR, the CCL prize in the US, and the AHRI prize in Australia². She has also been ranked by Thinkers 50 as among the top management thinkers globally for several years running².

As a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, Gratton has chaired the WEF Council of Leadership and has recently been made co-chair the WEF Global Future Council on Work, Wages and Job Creation¹. She has served on former Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s “Council for designing the 100-year-life society” and is currently a member of the international advisory board of Equinor².

Overall, Lynda Gratton's contributions to the field of human resources and her insights on the future of work make her a significant figure in the academic and business world.

Source: Conversation with Copilot, 5/21/2024

(1) Lynda Gratton - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynda_Gratton.

(2) About – Lynda Gratton. https://lyndagratton.com/about.

(3) Lynda Gratton - Thinkers50. https://thinkers50.com/biographies/lynda-gratton/.

(4) Lynda Gratton - Wikiquote. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Lynda_Gratton.

(5) Getty Images. https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/lynda-gratton-author-of-the-sh-ft-talks-about-management-news-photo/1125259038.

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