Role Atomisation - what is it and why should I be doing it?

By Hugo Robinson

You open your packet of chips and the salty aroma hits your nose. Saliva starts to build for that first delicious bite. You reach into the packet, and reach.. and reach...

Finally, after wading through half a bag of air, your hand strikes gold in the form of crispy, potato goodness. But every time this happens you feel ripped off, right?

With that in mind..Why are you still hiring permanent staff with expertise in their field to spend half their time on administrative tasks?

That's right, the Customer Service Consultant you're paying $60k a year is actually only producing $30k of real value for your customers. If there's 6 in the team...well, the cost begins to really stack up!

I saw a keynote on the Future of Work facilitated by a well-respected HR practitioner at a conference last year, during which 'role atomisation' was a concept discussed as having a high likelihood of obstructing the existing workforce framework in the near future. The presenter's research dictates that role atomisation will be a tactic used by businesses to become more agile, productive and operationally efficient.

"Atomisation is the augmentation of how roles are performed, using a mix of contingent workers to ensure permanent staff are able to perform optimally".

In layman's terms, this means utilising contingent resources to enable your permanent workers to focus their time and energy on core responsibilities through reducing their administrative workload.

This was a light-bulb moment for me as I started to grasp how much this could change the way we work internally at Weploy, let alone the way other companies operate. From the moment I got back to the hotel room that night, I began brainstorming ways that our clients could implement atomisation to work smarter and produce better outcomes.


Back in Melbourne, we approached some companies with the intention of piloting role atomisation using Weploy. This received a positive response from a range of different businesses, and we kicked off projects with teams varying from Customer Service to Facilities and even Human Resources.

The results? Resoundingly positive! Not only were employees more productive, they were more engaged and stimulated within their roles. They got to leave work on time rather than stay back and finish work that they previously pushed to the end of the day, or in worse cases into next week. They got to spend more time doing what they are paid to do.

"But what about culture?"


A big talking point at the moment and moving forward is how contingent resources are integrated into company culture. How should they be onboarded? Should they be invited to after work drinks? Or should they be encouraged to host their own after work drinks with each other? Should they be treated as a permanent employee or not?

My personal view is that if we want to maximise our return on investment as well as uphold our values and brand as a company, then absolutely we should be integrating these workers properly. It's crucial that if we expect success from them, we set them up for success. Part of this is giving them a simple facility to communicate with their line manager, log their hours worked, clearly view their deliverable expectations and the ability to feed back positive or negative experiences (we use a star rating).

Looking into our data, I found that our Weployees' (contingent workers) have in (almost) all instances had very positive experiences with companies that use our platform, which is reflected by the 4.89 out of 5 average star rating upheld by Weployers. These assignments are ranked on factors including environment, task and team, and the overall rating is crucial for us to ensure we're working with the right companies. On the flip side, Weployees are also held accountable by a star rating to ensure data integrity and quality control.


With all of this in mind, my challenge to you is to re-think the way your organisation currently works and apply a growth mindset toward your preparation for the future:

  • Are there elements of your role that you know are holding you back from achieving your goals?
  • Are there teams within your business that are working inefficiently?
  • Could utilising contingent workers to outsource non-critical work enhance the performance of your business?
  • Do you expect the bag of chips to be full?

If you're swinging toward yes for all of the above, what's stopping you from embracing innovation and pioneering a new approach to create positive change for your company and the people that work within it? Try atomising your work today and get started with Weploy

Side note: I'd be interested in hearing differing views about integrating contingent staff into your workforce if you have any!

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