The way companies hire employees is changing. Harnessing Revolution: Creating the Future Workforce, a 2017 Accenture Strategy study of more than 10,000 working people in 10 countries, found that executives anticipate that 44 percent of the average workforce will include independent contractors or temporary positions by 2018.

"It's likely we will see freelancers working with permanent staff in cross-functional teams," says Mary Lyons, managing director for talent and organization within Accenture Strategy. "Our research cited that 79 percent of executives agree that the future workforce will be structured more by projects—work focused on joint goals completed in collaborative teams—than by job function."

The issue for talent development is how to train short-term employees to work on these teams. It might sound tempting to cut costs by not providing them with any training at all, but Lyons recommends offering at least some development.


"Regardless of whether the employee is permanent or temporary, talent development professionals should view training costs as an investment," she says. "Allocating funds for proper training is important to guarantee good work quality." She also notes that "it's in an organization's best interest to find someone who is already adept in the skill sets needed to perform the duties they were hired for. That way, the organization will only be investing in the training needed to get the job done."

Luckily, most temporary and contract workers shouldn't need much training to handle the basic requirements of their jobs, because it's hard to strike out on your own without a defined set of skills. If anything, organizations should train temporary and contract workers on adapting to internal processes and collaborating with their peers.

Teaching short-term workers about their new team's culture, work style, and mission may be the most valuable training you can offer if you want them to take an interest in their work and hit the ground running.