The Ideal Workforce: Why a 30-Year-Old Employment Model Is Relevant Again

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By
Jay Thompson, Protiviti Managing Director, and Melissa Shipman, Robert Half Managing Vice President

It’s been nearly 30 years since Charles Handy first described what he calls the “shamrock organization” in his groundbreaking book, The Age of Unreason. The model calls for envisioning any organization’s workforce as a shamrock, whose three leaves are identified as the professional core, the contractual fringe and the flexible workforce.

The popularity of this model varies across industries as well as departments within companies. While business functions such as information technology (IT) have become accustomed to the shamrock approach, recognizing its agility and cost-effectiveness, this model is now becoming increasingly attractive to the back office, particularly finance and accounting.

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