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For many the interim model of working is not new, where senior, experienced staff are brought into a firm before a permanent role is filled. With work moving towards a more distributed model, and access to talent being widened beyond the city centres, will a hybrid workforce model, utilising freelance and permanent staff emerge?

To answer this question and more, I spoke with Charlotte Gregson, the Managing Director for the UK & US for COMATCH, a marketplace for independent management consultants and industry experts.

Charlotte is a former consultant with a career that didn’t take a conventional path. After an academic career culminating with a PhD in Chemistry at Imperial College, her mind for molecules exposed a love for leadership after a stint in healthcare consulting.

When she moved to consultancy Eden McCallum to build independent consultant teams, Charlotte began to recognise the potential the professional gig economy could bring for companies and their employees.

We discussed a range of topics to do with the hybrid working model including:

  • What does COMATCH do?
  • How COMATCH compares to Fiverr and Upwork
  • How traditional consulting firms are embracing experienced freelancers
  • How does a talent on-demand platform work?
  • What sort of experts and consultants use COMATCH
  • What’s the future for “Exec” Gig Workers?
  • Is “The Great Resignation” real?
  • Managing the consulting “bench”
  • Tips for working with a distributed workforce
  • Emerging tools to help distributed teams
  • Using COMATCH StyleMatch technology to match consultants to jobs
  • Using AI to match clients with consultants
  • Are clients developing a self-service mindset to source talent?
  • How COMATCH drives innovation
  • A view of the freelance world in 12-24 months
  • Challenges of being a tech leader
  • The impact of the freelance model on traditional consulting firms
  • Attracting quality freelancers to the COMATCH platform
  • The rise of the “The Third place”
  • The COMATCH business model
  • The differences across international markets
  • The resistance to adopting a hybrid workforce model
  • The need for talent transformation
  • Advice for companies looking to integrate freelance talent into key roles
  • Dealing with issues around due diligence, IP, security and confidentiality
  • The future of flexible working?
  • 3 actionable things to consider when setting a hybrid workforce strategy

Resources mentioned in the show
Miro whiteboard
Padlett whiteboard

More on Charlotte
Charlotte on LinkedIn
COMATCH  website

Episode Chapters

1:14
What does COMATCH do?

1:43
How COMATCH compares to Fiverr and Upwork

2:51
How traditional consulting firms are embracing experienced freelancers

3:31
How does a talent on-demand platform work?

4:45
What sort of experts and consultants use COMATCH

5:34
What’s the future for “Exec” Gig Workers?

6:43
Is “The Great Resignation” real?

7:54
Managing the consulting “bench”

9:39
Tips for working with a distributed workforce

10:51
Emerging tools to help distributed teams

11:58
Using COMATCH StyleMatch technology to match consultants to jobs

13:08
Using AI to match clients with consultants

15:13
Are clients developing a self-service mindset to source talent?

16:07
Driving innovation at COMATCH

17:12
The freelance world in 12-24 months

18:57
Challenges of being a tech leader

20:33
The impact of the freelance model on traditional consulting firms

22:06
Attracting quality freelancers to the platform

23:16
The rise of the “The Third place”

25:12
The COMATCH business model

26:28
The differences across international markets

26:59
The resistance to adopting a hybrid workforce model

28:26
The need for talent transformation

29:54
Advice for companies looking to integrate freelance talent into key roles

31:02
Dealing with issues around due diligence, IP, security and confidentiality

32:17
What is the future of flexible working?

32:47
Quickfire round

34:09
3 actionable things to consider when setting a hybrid workforce strategy

34:39
Find out more about Charlotte and COMATCH

Episode Transcript

Voiceover
Welcome to The Actionable Futurist® Podcast, a show all about the near term future with practical and actionable advice from a range of global experts to help you stay ahead of the curve. Every episode answers the question, what’s the future with voices and opinions that need to be heard. Your host is international keynote speaker and The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill.

Andrew Grill
Today’s guest is Charlotte Gregson, the managing director for the UK and US for COMATCH a marketplace for independent management consultants and industry experts. Sharla is a former consultant with a career that didn’t take a conventional path after an academic career culminating with a PhD in chemistry and Imperial College, who mined for molecules exposed a love for leadership After a stint in healthcare consulting, when she moved to consultancy Aidan McCallum to build independent consultant teams Sharla began to recognise the potential of the professional gig economy and what it could bring to companies and their employees. Welcome, Charlotte.

Charlotte Gregson
Hello, Andrew, thanks for having me on.

Andrew Grill
Now, a really interesting career. we’ll unpack that in a minute. But for those that aren’t familiar with platforms, such as COMATCH, how would you describe what you actually do? I probably would say

Charlotte Gregson
we’re professional matchmaker, if that doesn’t belittle too much of what we do. Essentially, we’re a network of freelance consultants, and project managers and industry experts. So we find relevant people, for our clients to work on their project and interim needs.

Andrew Grill
People might have heard of other sites, I’m sure you are very different. But how would you compare to other freelance sites such as Fiverr, and Upwork,

Charlotte Gregson
we, I would say, are a higher quality compared to sites like that. We are a closed platform. So we operate a high degree of vetting and discretion in terms of the the roles and types of projects that we work from, essentially, we’re dealing with with people who bring sort of backgrounds in the professional services. So that also means that we’re, we’re at a higher price point than than some of those networks, more and more of on demand talent rather than the gig economy, which I think is more commonly sort of associated with the deliveries and Ubers of the world.

Andrew Grill
Yeah, we’ll talk about how the whole gig economy is going beyond delivery and driving taxis. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I’ve been a consultant, you’ve been a consultant. So yes, there is a higher price point. And we’ll get into that because I think people are now looking at the gig economy. For experience roles and experience hires, it’s probably fair to say the boundaries between freelancers and established consulting firms are becoming a bit more porous. So have large consulting firms adopted a much more proactive approach to bringing freelancers into the delivery of their client engagements

Charlotte Gregson
for us. That’s been one of the major trends of emerging from the pandemic, actually, I think that really expedited the shift in how consulting firms were engaging with with external talent. Yeah, I think some of them suffered from you being able to reach, retain and attract talent to their organisations, as well as for some, you know, the necessitating redundancies. Yeah, but all of that has meant more blended teams are much more commonplace than they were maybe even 18 months ago.

Andrew Grill
So you describe COMATCH as a talent on demand platform. How does that work in practice,

Charlotte Gregson
at the very simple end, someone can enter a brief on our on our website, or send us an email. Regardless, actually, what we do like to do is to talk to the person about their need, I think it’s really important to understand the nuances, particularly around sort of style or cultural fit, ultimately, that often determines the success of an engagement, you know, someone’s functional or industry knowledge is, shouldn’t be taken as given, but how someone works, how they fit within an organisation is really important. So once we’ve understood some of the nuances around that, you know, some of the things that you maybe can’t write in a brief like the chief exec, knew and doesn’t get on with the CFO and the kind of personalities were involved, that allows us to use our algorithm to quickly identify relevant people on the hard factors side, we would only look to maybe invite maybe between 10 and 15 individuals for any one role that’s out of a network of over 15,000. So we’re very targeted in who we approach with a view to presenting maybe between two and four of those to the clients with within 48 hours.

Andrew Grill
So you mentioned the COMATCH replays at the higher end of the management consulting area. So what sort of experts and consultants are using it?

Charlotte Gregson
So it’s anything from someone who spent two years in a traditional management consulting firm all the way up to former partners, or indeed C level executives? The network is low largely diamond shaped. So the majority of the people within the network probably have a good 1015, maybe 20 years of experience in their respective fields. And quite often have a blended background between those that have spent time in a consulting firm, but also then have gone on to work in industry or to work for startups as well.

Andrew Grill
So I’ve been talking for a while about the concept of an exec gig worker, perhaps an experienced CFO who doesn’t want a five day a week job anymore, but wants to develop their portfolio career. Is this possible within your platform? And are you seeing examples of this occurring?

Charlotte Gregson
Absolutely. I think interim executives are really commonplace, especially for those C level executives, we see most demand probably for CFOs, CEOs, maybe CTOs, I think the portfolio really probably comes from them being able to play sequential roles. If there is a particular setup or need to bring someone in on an interim basis, it usually is for a defined period of time, and it typically is more full time. That’s not to say you don’t get that that light touch advisory with which people can then sort of intersperse their their N ed or advisory work, but But definitely, I think, increasingly at the executive level, people want that variety, actually, in terms of of what their work life looks like.

Andrew Grill
Well, I think over the last couple of years, we’ve all reestablished and reevaluated our purpose of going to work and I’m hearing a lot of people saying, you know, I really want more of a work life balance. And if my current employer can offer that I’m gonna look look elsewhere. This phrase, the great resignation has been bandied around is it really happening and I’m sure a platform like yours really helps accelerate that.

Charlotte Gregson
So me more of a re evaluation or recalibration, we’re certainly getting movement in the job market people absolutely I think are looking for for more from from their their work than they perhaps were you 1824 months ago. What that means from employers is being able to really understand what what motivates and drives people. And I think there has to be in alignment of values in terms of the work they’re doing, which ultimately dovetails really well with the freelance model, because the inherent flexibility and choice that exists within that, you to opt in and choose to do work for clients whose whose purpose or mission or product, whatever it is, aligns with them as individuals is much more compelling for a lot of people.

Andrew Grill
So those that have been involved in consulting firms will understand the way to run a consulting practice efficiently is to have as many consultants engaged on active assignments and having fewer on the bench, which is where people don’t have a current assignment. So is COMATCH a way to manage that bench. So you’ve got more people out there, and maybe have fewer people on the bench and then you run a virtual bench.

Charlotte Gregson
It allows firms rather than having to staff for the highs, it allows people consulting firms to bring in talent, where there is that extra capacity that’s needed for the peaks, or indeed, where specific expertise is required to input into projects, we’ve we’ve definitely built out flex pools of resources for our consulting clients that that is in, you know, an ongoing or I don’t say emerging trend, because for some of our clients, they’re quite well developed in that road, but but having sort of pre vetted pools of talent that they can access on an as needed basis, it’s typically aligned around where they see a demand in a certain industry practice, or indeed on on a certain topic, like pricing or sales force effectiveness. But I think that’s quite an interesting change to, you know, the consulting model overall. And indeed, I think people are, increasingly there are quotas. If you look at case teams that partners are required to staff a certain percentage of their case teams using external resources now, which which again, if I think back a year, two, three years, that would have been almost unheard of as a model.

Andrew Grill
So everyone I talked to is saying that the place they work, whether it’s a consulting firm or one of their clients, they’re no longer going to be required to be in the office five days a week, I saw someone yesterday said it’s three to other people’s to three, which means we’re all having to learn to work in a distributed way where we can’t always walk over and talk to our colleagues, from your experience working with freelance consultants or COMATCHWhat tips do you have for working more effectively in a distributed way,

Charlotte Gregson
with any project set up? It’s really important to establish relationships, you know, the three two to three model I think that will become the norm. What therefore is important when you’re working with a bunch of new people for the first time is that you probably invest in that face to face interaction up front so that you have A good foundation or have you built the relationships out to facilitate working together when when you’re not sat next to each other. So I think it varies during the lifecycle of a project in terms of what that looks like. But but definitely some face to face interaction, if possible is needed. Otherwise, you’re looking at making sure you’re you fitting in with the with the cultural norms of the organisation, in terms of ways of working, whether it’s certain tools that people are using, I’m still probably a bit old school. And it’s always good to pick up the phone and talk to someone I think rather than send a lengthy exchange via via slack or email,

Andrew Grill
we talk about the tools that people are having to use, we’re all becoming very familiar with teams and slack and zoom and those sort of things. Have you seen any other emerging tools that better facilitate distributed work,

Charlotte Gregson
there’s a couple that I’ve come across either that we’ve used it or that I’ve seen used on projects. Myro is quite a good whiteboard for when you you’re not in the same room and can’t stick post it’s up somewhere, think Padlets quite good as well, in terms of again and online, sort of an online board for, for collating ideas, workshops, in particular are quite hard to do in that remote setting, I think we’ve all got quite used to doing use Zoom, or teams calls, via video. And actually, the hybrid model will always necessitate video calls. I don’t think they’re going away anytime soon, because it’s unlikely that everyone will be in the office on on the same day, which means that you you do need the support of tools like this, to better facilitate some of the things that you used to be able to do quite quite easily in person

Andrew Grill
that you touched on your style match technology, which helps understand where people are going to match with each other and fit in and the chemistry is right, can you tell me a little bit more about how this works, and what input it uses.

Charlotte Gregson
Those style match was developed by COMATCH and catch talent based on a work psychology model that’s tailored to the consulting environment. So it assesses preferred working style and strengths of a consultant, not along professional competencies. But thinking about attributes such as communication and leadership, collaboration, working methods, new preferred project framework approaches, in our experiences, as I alluded to earlier, that’s, that’s really important for putting someone in an environment where they will thrive and make the best impact. Interestingly, our female consultants actually have a higher school for diplomatic communication style, and tend towards being explorers rather than structure fans in a project. Now, they’re not significant deviations, but really being able to understand people’s individuals profiles like that helps us assess how well we think they will perform in the particular environment that we’re asking them to work in.

Andrew Grill
So we can AI play more of a role to match consultants with clients,

Charlotte Gregson
for us. And in terms of the COMATCH platform, there’s a speed and efficiency piece. So particularly amongst you know, hard factors, years of experience, your background, such as new engineering, qualifications, languages, people’s, you know, industry knowledge, functional experience, being able to quickly match and identify people that tick those boxes is important style match in terms of how we use it, that there’s a set number of questions that are also coded into the platform. So that similarly is pulled out by Barry, the AI. All of that helps us be efficient. I think the thing that that will remain so hope, at least for a while, you know, when we’re dealing with people and dealing with talent, I don’t think anything can be fully automated, where you have matching algorithms, job boards that don’t involve humans in that process. I really strongly feel that you’re, you’re missing something in that that overall quality of the output is certainly something we at COMATCH you take very seriously as part of the proposition is really investing the time and getting to know our consultants is a very high barrier to entry to get into the network. And we spend a lot of time getting to know people as they join through the project staffing process, and as part of feedback that we gather from projects once once they’ve done them with us. So we did over 1500 projects as an organisation last year. All of those feed into building an overall picture of what someone’s like, what they’re good at and where best to place them for success

Andrew Grill
regulations. When understand that I’ve spoken to many AI experts, whenever I say can I ever have empathy to feel loved, they say no. So the humans are always needed to be involved. But of course, we can automate this and make it a bit faster. That’s that’s the good thing that AI can do. So our clients developing more of a self service mindset to source pools of talent now that platforms like COMATCH are established.

Charlotte Gregson
I think somehow, I think for businesses that are used to this as a model that are comfortable that have fairly straightforward requests, then that service model is is becoming more common. I think we see it more in marketplaces that are focused on the digital and creative communities, in terms of it’d be much more common place that those marketplaces are run in a self service fashion. It’s definitely something we’ve developed as part of our offering. In terms of, again, I think it comes down to more that that automation speed in terms of PB people being able to view profiles, select who they want to interview, choose which people they want to work with, and, and it just been quicker and more effective as part of that process.

Andrew Grill
So how do you drive innovation at COMATCH?

Charlotte Gregson
we actually have an innovation circle. So that’s made up with representatives from across the business, I think that’s really important to get perspectives from not just our commercial teams, but also our product and tech teams and the team that the look after our consultant community, I think within innovation, it comes down to sort of brainstorming and bouncing ideas of people and regularly talking to the market and both sides of the marketplace, because we sit in a very privileged position in the middle. So both taking on board feedback from clients, and consultants, and really thinking through, you know, what that looks like in terms of future needs that they might have. It’s certainly where the flex pool idea came from in terms of having that pre vetted, bench of, of, of talent to draw from.

Andrew Grill
So what do you think the freelance world will look like in the next, say, 12 or 24 months. So let’s accelerate from where it is now that we’re kind of getting out of this pandemic mode.

Charlotte Gregson
I like to think the future is freelance, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t be doing what I did. Otherwise, I think you’re coming back to your comments on people wanting you purpose in what they do flexibility, I think will increasingly be become the norm. And so regular full time employment, we’ll find it hard to compete with that so many people have increasingly so portfolio careers or a project on the side and whether that project is their own business. It might be something like building a house, it could just be a passion for a particular sport, or pastime. But you’re enabling sort of people’s lives and work and set up so that they can do more than just a job. Absolutely, I think that that will the momentum around that will build because I think there’s still a lot of education to be done actually, in the space was I’ve seen the needle shift. And you know, I’ve worked in and around the independent space for over a decade now. There’s been much more traction in the last few years. But But still, it’s quite surprising as you’re out in the market talking to clients. For a lot of people this is a model was is still unheard of, and not widely used in organisations. And I think that ultimately creates a lot of opportunity.

Andrew Grill
So we talked about your career, you alluded to then that you’ve been in management consulting for 10 years, you started with a PhD in chemistry, quite an interesting turn to get to where you are, you’re now leading a business here in the US and the UK. What challenges do you face being a female tech leader?

Charlotte Gregson
It’s not specific to being a tech leader. I think it just specific to being a female leader. You know, if I look at commercial organisations, particularly sales organisations, there are there are very few women in senior leadership positions, the consulting industry, you know, our network is reflective of that. So there’s only about 20% women in the network. I think people often think that this is a model is is more amenable to women, but actually the numbers of women in the network are very much reflective of, of what’s mirrored in the industry. So, you know, I think for me, I certainly some of the challenges remain that I don’t have a good group of peers or indeed role models to look up to and, and aside from that, it’s the fun and games of logistics of childcare. Well, I would consider the mental load of balancing being a working mum, I think probably my biggest challenges, particularly so I think Across the pandemic, women shouldering more of the carrying responsibilities, more of the home schooling responsibilities. And sadly that meaning that that many women were forced to step back from the workforce as a result,

Andrew Grill
you talk about the freelance model being not well understood, but it’s right for growth. You shared a Harvard Business Review article that quotes McKinsey is saying they estimate there’ll be 500 million freelancers working through platforms like how much before 2030? So how does this change the whole industry dynamic? Not just consulting firms, but within their own clients as well? Yeah,

Charlotte Gregson
that’s an interesting one, I think increasingly solutions will will need to be more holistic. So I take the old adage that no one’s I don’t think, well, there’s probably an example somewhere, but in general, no, no one gets, you know, fired for hiring McKinsey or IBM that that brand stamp of approval is really important to a lot of businesses, where they’re making key decisions where they need some extra support to investigate or work through topics. But I think is, as that mix shifts, and it will be a more blended mix between the firms or indeed the firms bringing in expertise from from elsewhere, I think potentially that brand names could play less of a role. And the focus will shift more towards, you know, trust and how well known the resources are. And in that kind of world, your delivery of outputs will will be key for success or survival. We often refer to some of our freelancers as living and dying by their last project, which sounds a little overdramatic, but in a lot of senses is true, because how well they perform reflects not just on them, but also on on the brand nail representing whether that’s someone like ourselves, and if we’re supplying direct to clients, or indeed, if they’re white labelled as being part of a consulting team. So I’ve

Andrew Grill
had looked at the platform, I’ve started my application hopefully accepted. But how do you attract other quality freelancers to your platform,

Charlotte Gregson
we’re at a stage now years, seven years in where a lot, a lot of the growth comes from word of mouth, actually, the barrier to entry is very high, I’m sure we would like certainly based on your background, and particularly given the time at IBM, we get a lot of people who’ve had good experiences working with us on projects that understand the types of profiles that we’re looking for that understand the types of needs that our clients have that that will ultimately refer people to us. So we’re I think we’re in quite a fortunate position. Now, having made the investment early on, whereas it’s most mostly word of mouth.

Andrew Grill
I talked about purpose, that P is part of the three P’s of the future of work, I talk about people place and purpose. And one of those P’s place, I’ve often said that there will be a growth in the third place, as you’d be aware, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, he wanted everyone to have Starbucks as that third place. And as a freelance, I have used a Starbucks as a third place. This is somewhere in between the office and the home. But with the rise of flexible working, driving the need for these third places, do you think you’ll see the need for them to be closer to where you live rather than where you work?

Charlotte Gregson
I think so. Because ultimately, if you’re if you’re looking at a change of environment, from that perspective, it’s probably to get out of the house, or it’s to enable people to collaborate more effectively, without investing the time in travel. I know we saw, I wouldn’t say a mass exodus, but but certainly just if I look within my own personal network, people moving out of cities to the country, whether people still want to invest the time during commute or if there are hubs that that people can go to, to work on specific projects. I think particularly for perhaps some large corporates, as well, where typically the, you know, the main office site might be on industrial park or somewhere a bit more remote. If you can have these third space or hubs maybe more easily accessible in town or near to where people live. Again, I think it comes down to that flexibility and creating environments where people can work effectively and thrive. So yeah, whether whether that is still books that assuming it’s quiet enough and the Wi Fi strong enough, I think, yeah, there’s probably a ripe market there for someone to do that set up really well, probably in a way that co working spaces haven’t done because of the formality that’s involved in needing to contract and how you set fixed memberships.

Andrew Grill
Well, I think even the the established players have now moving to a monthly sort of all you can eat model or an on demand model, but I am seeing in the suburbs when I’m walking around parts of London that these little cottage places are springing up because the issue is that the RE Just in the WeWorks of the world, they all put their offices next to where the clients are in the CBD. And so that doesn’t work. You’ve been going for seven years now you’ve obviously got a pretty strong model. Can you talk about your business model how you make money?

Charlotte Gregson
Essentially, we’re a source of business. For our freelancers. I think a lot of people go into the world of independent consulting, because they have a passion for the delivery of the work, not because they’re passionate business developers. So effectively, we are a source of business for our consultant community. For our clients, we’re an access point to finding the best available resource to meet their needs. All of our consultants and experts work on a day rate basis, those day rates are driven by a whole range of factors, you know, but include things like the length of the project, how relevant the expertise is, location if travel is necessitated. And so we, from a commercial perspective, we charge a margin on those day rate fees, one that I can safely say is competitive, having worked for or set up a few competitive

Andrew Grill
knowing the rates that I was charged out at IBM versus Yeah, eye watering,

Charlotte Gregson
there’s a good degree of headroom, let’s say between our headroom is that is

Andrew Grill
the right term. Yes, I definitely got a sore head on some of those quotes. You were across different markets, what differences have you seen between the UK and the US, for example, for us, there’s

Charlotte Gregson
not a huge degree of difference in terms of the needs and the buyers, I think the U S. market is particularly well served on the corporate side by a couple of key players. So actually, for us, most of the business we do in the states focuses on who we term are intermediaries, clients, so they are other consulting firms, and then private equity and their portfolio companies,

Andrew Grill
what’s been the biggest resistance from clients to adopt the hybrid workforce model?

Charlotte Gregson
I think that probably varies depending on on whether the client is a consulting firm or a corporate, for consulting firms. I think, ultimately, it’s been the partners, you know, the partner that shouts the loudest often gets the resources that they need, so that they haven’t viewed it perhaps as an issue, or till now or to look to reach critical scale. For corporates, it’s probably a slightly different issue in that I think there’s a probably negative association with if someone has to bring in talent that portraying them in a in a bad light in terms of not being competent at doing their job. But actually, it’s really where using an independent can often be more beneficial than than bringing in a consulting firm, because the premise is totally different in that the, the the independent will be matched closely to the client team, the client will retain ownership of the of the project, inherently, there’s a lot of tacit knowledge and learning that gets transferred to the client team. Ultimately, in the independence scenario, that consultant is there to, you know, make the client look good when they leave the building, the knowledge doesn’t leave with them as perhaps in the same way as certainly my experience of being a consultant that that can happen on occasion. So I’d

Andrew Grill
argue that digital transformation requires talent transformation. So what’s your view on how work strategies will need to change

Charlotte Gregson
any transformation requires change and taking people with you on that journey. So people need to understand not just why the transformation is happening, but how it’s happening, and what that means for them. And depending on the capabilities or the skill set of the organisation, I think, on occasion that that will mean changing the mix of talent within an organisation. You know, ultimately, if you think about sort of technology in the digital context, that’s rapidly changing the work environment, and that can be anything from from process automation, and an associated workforce reconfiguration to something like augmented reality creating a better hybrid working experience. So yeah, I think there probably will be an expected concentration of job growth in higher wage occupations. And therefore the scale and nature of the work force transitions could could be challenging from a skills perspective. So from a thinking back to then what is your work strategy that like, I think you need to factor that into both your longer term recruitment and retention strategies.

Andrew Grill
We talked about some of the resistance that you face where existing models are being disrupted by bringing externals in. So what advice would you give a company that decides to turn core functions over to freelance workers where permanent employees might feel threatened?

Charlotte Gregson
I mean, I think ultimately, the core functions shouldn’t be ever fleet To end over to freelancers, where I think freelancers can really support something that is by being integrated in into the, into the teams. I don’t think for any core function, if you think about finance or HR, you might be able to outsource parts of it. But fundamentally, the business needs to retain ownership of topics like that. I would like to think if the setup and positioning is done correctly, that employees will feel that they’re benefiting from having that independent there. Hopefully, they feel that they’re learning something, or hopefully they can see that that individual brings something that doesn’t already exist, but within the organisation, and that that will be a good thing. But as I said, very much depends on the setup and positioning, I think in order to make that effective.

Andrew Grill
So as an established platform for independent consultants, I’m sure you’ve seen everything. So how do you handle issues such as due diligence, IP technology, risk, anti bribery, even anti money laundering? I’m sure all these issues crop up in every business, not just yours.

Charlotte Gregson
They do we typically operate in line with with our clients terms. Yeah, that’s particularly important around intellectual property rights, you know, who retains ownership of that what it usually involves is extra documents being signed to it to make sure things like that are covered from technology risk, where how that typically is addressed as in terms of clients providing laptops for their appropriately security, encrypted and careered Korea over to people we did see that actually is a challenge, actually, in terms of getting the right bits of equipment to consultants based in different geographies that that was probably one of the challenges of lockdown. But but important in order to address recite this and in terms of things like anti bribery, anti money laundering, it’s why the vetting is so important in terms of character references, and then additional background checks can be done as needed. That’s that’s particularly important for more regulated industries where our clients sit in things like financial services or life sciences.

Andrew Grill
Now for the $64 million question, what’s the future of flexible working?

Charlotte Gregson
I’d say the future is freelance, Andrew, that mix of hybrid and remote working. Definitely in terms of flexibility. I’d like to think that there’d be an increase in a four day a week model as well. I know there’s an ongoing trial in the UK at the moment, looking at productivity in relation to that. But But I think that the future will definitely be all around making people more effective and helping align their roles with purpose and motivation.

Andrew Grill
So before we finish, I want to run you through a quick fire round. So we can learn a little bit more about you iPhone or android android window or

Charlotte Gregson
aisle aisle, because I like to be able to get up and stretch my legs online or in the

Andrew Grill
room, face to face every time your biggest hope for 2022

Charlotte Gregson
I think that there’d be a little bit more stability. Yeah, we’re looking at COVID. And we’re looking at the Ukraine, it would just be nice for people to kind of have a period where that where there’s not huge global crises happening.

Andrew Grill
The app you use most on your phone, WhatsApp, I think there’ll be might as well face me regularly.

Charlotte Gregson
Certainly. I’m certainly on the school site to make sure I’ve not forgotten stuff.

Andrew Grill
What’s the one thing you won’t be doing, again,

Charlotte Gregson
post pandemic online drinks. Although I did quite enjoy some of the online quizzes.

Andrew Grill
What are you reading at the moment?

Charlotte Gregson
blood orange, whichis a thriller book by Harriet Tyce. It was recommended to me by someone in the team I tend to sort of mix fiction and nonfiction so I’ve I’ve just finished a happy sexy millionaire by Steven Bartlett, which was also a good read

Andrew Grill
final quickfire question, how do you want to be remembered?

Charlotte Gregson
I’d like to be thought of as someone he was authentic and dependable, and content. And I think for me, definitely important that I would have created better opportunities for my children. So

Andrew Grill
as this is the actionable futures podcast, what three actionable things should our audience do today, when it comes to setting a hybrid Workforce Strategy?

Charlotte Gregson
So I think the first thing is to properly identify and then articulate some clear needs or use cases for a hybrid workforce. The second thing would be to ensure you get both organised wider organisational, and stakeholder buy in and engagement. And then for me, the third thing would be to work with a trusted talent platform, ideally, in order to deliver on these needs.

Andrew Grill
And how can people find out more about you and your work?

Charlotte Gregson
I post quite often on LinkedIn and I’ve also got various articles on COMATCH’s blog on our website comatch.com

Andrew Grill
Charlotte, a great discussion today. Thank you so much for your time, and it’s great to learn more about how freelancers can actually have better purpose in their life.

Charlotte Gregson
Thanks very much for having me, Andrew.

Voiceover
Thank you for listening to The Actionable Futurist® podcast. You can find all of our previous shows at actionable futurist.com. And if you like what you’ve heard on the show, please consider subscribing via your favourite podcast app, so you never miss an episode. You can find out more about Andrew and how he helps corporates navigate a disruptive digital world with keynote speeches and C-suite workshops delivered in person or virtually at actionablefuturist.com. Until next time, this has been The Actionable Futurist® Podcast