July 14, 2020 Developing An All-In Talent Strategy to Maximize Enterprise Resiliency – an Uprisor Conversation with Paul Hlivko

When we say ‘enterprise resilience’, we’re talking about the true definition of resilience—the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. In business terms, that means avoiding or, at the least, mitigating disruption. In this Uprisor podcast conversation, Topcoder VP Clinton Bonner talks with Paul Hlivko, CTO and CXO of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Paul brings a wealth of experience blending the roles of people and technology to his role.

The discussion focuses on how a holistic approach to talent strategy can set the groundwork for buy-in and scale with on-demand talent. Listen to the conversation and enjoy the biggest ‘aha’ moments, below.

How TO LAY the Groundwork for On-Demand Talent

Any changes to the “core” hiring and talent structure in a business can be met with resistance. One of the first things Paul and Clinton discuss is the push-back Paul faced internally when he introduced on-demand talent. Surprisingly, Paul didn’t have the typical cultural frictions, because he’d very thoughtfully and intentionally laid the groundwork for incorporating crowd into a blended workforce strategy. 

Paul says he’s an “all-in” talent strategist. He believes talent diversity comes from everywhere. Wellmark uses internship programs, department rotation for newer teammates,  best-in-class internal hiring strategies, and alternative talent programs to source talent, like crowdsourcing with Topcoder.

Wellmark already had a culture of diversity, so layering in this new type of talent didn’t challenge any assumptions; it enforced them. This is key—too many organizations recognize the value of crowdsourcing, but they struggle with implementation. By focusing heavily on diversity of talent up front, Paul paved the way for buy-in, adoption, and rapid scalability of on-demand talent.

Weaving On-Demand Talent Into The Traditional Talent Ecosystem

On-demand talent doesn’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) replace FTEs. “Crowd”, is a new way to use talent alongside your traditional workforce. As Paul put it, “When the crowd is woven in, and it’s given to the teams as something they could use to amplify and increase pace, increase speed, and increase experimentation—that’s really powerful.”

Still, Internal teams can feel like on-demand talent is a threat to their jobs. At Wellmark, the use of crowd talent isn’t a threat; it’s an opportunity. Paul talked about the importance of aligning team members with their strengths and pushing them to operate at their highest level. For Paul, on-demand talent gives him the ability to work faster and in a more agile environment.

“If I’ve got an engineer lead developer, what better way to make sure that they are using their thought leadership than to give them the power of a global workforce?”

Paul Hlivko, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Paul also discusses the importance of normalizing the use of on-demand talent for his team. He goes into great detail in the video discussing how his Wellmark team ensures that the “way” to begin a crowd-powered project is the same processes and steps his organization takes to begin all other work. This way, the front end, or the vestibule to the work is standard procedure, even if the mechanism to execute is on-demand talent.

A blended workforce is the future

The conversation ended with a discussion of the future of work. It’s not going to be driven by monolithic teams doing grand-scale projects. It’s going to be broken down and compartmentalized across teams, locations, and people. According to Paul, “We’ve been breaking work down into smaller and smaller chunks for many, many years. I think that’s going to continue.” 

All too often, businesses think of on-demand talent as an ad-hoc service or a replacement for individuals. But it’s not really either. It’s simply a new way of working. In fact, the best projects happen with a blended workforce—when FTEs, contractors, and crowd talent create together.

“If I can get engineers and teams of one or two that are powered by the crowd, which can scale on demand, I get the benefit of both worlds.”

Paul Hlivko, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

LEVERAGING on-DEMAND TALENT for your enterprise

By setting the stage the right way, you can implement on-demand talent with less friction and scale a whole lot faster. And when global disruption happens, you can keep executing and implementing. Paul shared that Topcoder is the only talent resource where he hasn’t faced any form of disruption from COVID. That’s what we mean by enterprise resilience in action.

To hear more future of work conversations, listen and subscribe to Uprisor wherever you get your podcasts.

VP, Marketing


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