That other 'X-Factor'

"No one is willing to yield on capability, professionalism or experience."

As we begin to look toward the other side of quarantine, organizations are reimagining both what their workspaces --and the compositions of their teams --will actually look like. The first is fairly intuitive. Agencies will adopt more frequent cleaning practices, further embrace flexible work schedules and rearrange desks and office equipment to allow for greater distancing. Down the line, you might see more human-censored or AI-powered doors, faucets, elevators and calling devices. The recipe for how they successfully staff going forward is far more interesting.

Everywhere we look, brands are calling on agencies to provide solutions with the hallmark traits of innovation, agility, speed and transparency. And yet, no one is willing to yield on capability, professionalism or experience. So how can agencies arm themselves with the right talent to meet their budgets but still maximize their performance and innovate the very best solutions for their clients? 

Enter the "pre-tired" economy, my own term for a specific demographic of Generation Xers.  This is a group of people –generally north of 45 –who have risen through the ranks of their organization to achieve robust careers.  They are resilient (having already faced multiple financial crises and the proliferation of different cultures and technology). They have not only adapted to the challenges that befell them, but excelled because of themTheir interest in rank and file office politics, an arduous commute, and laborious timesheets has worn thin. Rather than continue down the predictable path of punching a clock at a fixed salary, they may prefer to support three or four clients on project work, which allows them to put in fewer hours and still make more moneyAs a group that values flexibility over almost anything else, these candidates can essentially compress 20 plus years of experience and lean in to an engagement (or multiple engagements) for a finite period of time, take a month or two off and do it all over again.

Having regular full-time employees may still be necessary to support the infrastructure of your company. But "pre-tires" bring experience and perspectives that clients truly value.  So as you look down the fairway of 2020 and beyond, you may want to re-evaluate the traditional staffing model and flex in the X-factor, as needed. 

Kenny Tomlin is Co-Founder of CourtAvenue.

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