The economic variables in play right now have created a singularly unique set of circumstances. You can call it uncertainty, ambiguity or just plain chaos.

Inflation is increasing the cost of products and services while also adding wage pressure; economic volatility and higher interest rates are making it harder to access capital; and recession indicators are flashing brightly in the background. Throw in ongoing talent scarcity and Covid worries, and we have an environment clouded in unpredictability.

The inevitable questions are, “How do we navigate this environment?” and, “How can we operate successfully when the outlook changes day by day?”

Your locus of control. My advice to my team and our clients at Guidant Global is to recognize what we can — and cannot — control.

Level set by analyzing the likelihood and severity of impact from wage increases, talent scarcity and overall supply and demand. Build your plans from there with actions that allow for flexibility. Center on your locus of control and the factors that you can influence.

Focus on your core. You can chase new opportunities — even in volatile times — as long as you maximize your core capabilities. Pay extra attention to your best customers, your most valuable partners and your top revenue streams. Continue to protect and develop these relationships while devising a talent strategy that further supports your core.

The right people will propel you forward. They will provide guidance, take a leadership stance and help others grow. At Guidant Global, we call these people “virtuosos.” Virtuosos are known for their exceptional skill and the agility to pivot. Identify these people and nurture, enable and invest in them. Give them the flexibility and autonomy to thrive, and they will reward you for that trust.

Getting past talent scarcity. Having the right people in place is one of the biggest challenges we face today. But there are a few ways to get ahead of talent scarcity — or at least catch up to it:

  • Become an industry sector leader in wages, benefits and flexibility.
  • Create an authentic employer brand with a reputation for attracting and rewarding top talent.
  • Remove some of the pressure by automating manual tasks with an investment in new technology.
  • Outsource the risk to a managed services provider (MSP) for access to scalable talent solutions.

Contingent talent is your secret weapon. Contingent talent can help fill the gap as economic and business opportunities continue to ebb and flow. Our MSP clients are supplementing their full-time staff with contingent, statement-of-work, freelance and gig talent. We see leading enterprises take a proactive approach to analyzing and planning for their ideal workforce mix. This type of strategic assessment has broad applicability across industry verticals, including:

  • IT (cybersecurity, mobile technology, digital solutions)
  • Life sciences (clinical and bio-scientists, R&D)
  • Logistics (warehouse, distribution, transportation)
  • Manufacturing (pharma, automotive)

Achieving balance. Operationally, the key is to balance your portfolio of clients, verticals and, most of all, your talent. Concentrating too hard on one area or one major client can wreak havoc, and revenue streams can dry up as supply and demand inescapably gyrates.

Look at what is happening in Big Tech at present. Companies that went on hiring sprees are now laying off employees by the thousands. Balancing direct hires with contingent talent can alleviate the dangers of over-hiring and risks to your employer brand.

As a COO, I believe companies need to prioritize their customers’ success and invest heavily in the delivery of great outcomes. That can only be done by ensuring the right people are at the center of your core, in the right places at the right time. Uncertainty can’t be solved, but it can be managed with the right planning and prioritization.