As the economic outlook becomes more gloomy by the day we are seeing more lay-offs and hiring freezes come into place. Preserve and improve your talent by considering new thinking and approaches. Read this free guide for C-Level Executives to help optimise productivity.

You may have heard the term recently “extend your runway”.

C-level executives from start-ups to multinational enterprises are being urged to cut costs to conserve cash. This is what extending the runway means.

The most common way to extend the runway is to cut your biggest cost. Your talent. In May 2022 over 16,000 tech workers were made redundant, including 450 at Netflix and 1100 at Coinbase.

Furthermore, companies such as Twitter, Uber and Meta have started to pull back hiring and have rescinded many offers. Rescinded offers are bad PR and should be avoided at all costs.

However, cutting large parts of your workforce and freezing hiring creates resource gaps. Resource gaps in any organisation can negatively impact morale, innovation and efficiency. This will then impact revenue generation in the medium to long term. 

In recent research Gartner advises the following tactics to address resource gaps.

As cost cutting continues to rise the ability to hire full-time staff will become more difficult so we will break down tactics that can be implemented in the short term including role substitution, gig economy workers, staff augmentation and training with some new thinking thrown in for good measure.

In this free guide we have provided steps for C-Level Executives to help optimise productivity.

Role Substitution

The simple way to think about role substitution is looking at what you already have in the organisation. Pre-2020 most workers were based in large corporate headquarters and skill set information like job title would be stored on a spreadsheet by HR and PMO if project related.

The most effective way to do this is to implement an Internal Talent Marketplace. This maximises talent mobility across the organisation and can reduce attrition and costs. The benefits of talent mobility is described by Deloitte as:

Encourages worker progression and career mobility by facilitating transitions to a new role within the organisation.

This approach optimises what you already have in-house. This is often overlooked and back in 2008 there was little technology to solve this problem. 

Gig Economy

Uber and Deliveroo are usually the names that come to mind when thinking about gig platforms. However, there is a huge rise in large companies using talent platforms to tap into on-demand talent pools for skills such as IT, marketing and HR.

A recent report by the University of Oxford suggests that the next five years will see rapid growth in how companies use gig economy platforms to fill resource gaps.

 The report focuses on how Fortune 500 firms are already adopting online platforms and reported the following benefits for organisations:

  1. Easy access to a scalable source of manpower, skills, and expertise

Platforms provide access to freelancers with highly specialised skills and expertise, making them an attractive option for organisations looking to quickly and flexibly complement the capabilities of their in-house employees on an on-demand basis.

  1. Reduction in start-up and transaction costs

Platforms substantially lower the start-up and transaction costs of a contract compared to traditional outsourcing vendors and contracting agencies. This allows enterprises to quickly hire freelancers to address project needs with minimum administrative cost.

  1. Elimination of conventional hiring barriers

Platform technologies can reduce (if not eliminate) geographical, informational, and administrative barriers in the hiring process. This means they can be used for projects of shorter length and narrower scope. Platforms facilitate the hiring of freelancers on a more flexible, on-demand basis, and allow managers to bring new skills and knowledge to the organization that would otherwise have remained outside.

Creating a gig platform strategy is no longer just a nice to have. It is critical to filling talent gaps quickly. Gig platforms are probably being used already within your organisation alongside traditional staffing firms for tactical hiring such as digital marketing. Ensuring the right gig platforms are in place in the right area is a key consideration. We have created a gig platform strategy template to follow this paper.

Staff Augmentation

This is not a new model, it is a well worn road for many companies. Simply-put staff augmentation is the use of outside workers on a temporary basis to augment the capacity of your organisation. This can be using staffing companies, consultancies or larger integrators such as Accenture and Deloitte. 

This will no doubt be used to fill resource gaps and can have advantages when scoped properly. The limitation is that it can take many months to onboard and can be very costly.


There are many training providers that can help up-skill and re-skill workers. However, training budgets are usually cut early as well.

A controversial way to quickly up-skill your team is to create transparency around your side-gigging (or side-hustle if you are American). Over 70% of permanent employees have a side-hustle. Allowing this in your contract terms and conditions is a great way to add new skills and ways of working to your existing workforce. The new skills generated can be matched using the Internal Talent Marketplace mentioned earlier.

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About the author

Rich Wilson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Gigged.AI which is a pioneering HRtech company. Prior to founding Gigged.AI in 2021 Rich spent 12 years at US staffing firm Allegis Group and 3 years as a C-level advisor at Gartner. Rich can be contacted at [email protected] to discuss recommended actions further.