Companies, Freelancers, Future of Work, Politics, The American Dream

Building a Team with Free Agents and Freelancers

Many Millennials are freelancers and free agents. Unfortunately, the people hiring them are older ‘fuddy duddies’ leaders who view Gen Y as  lazy and unloyal. While they do have some unique characteristics (which I outlined in my book, Millennial Leaders), it is important for both parties – the young folks and the older folks – to work together to create a good on-demand relationship between the free agent and the manager.

Duke University’s Basketball Coach, Mike Krzyzewski recently provided some great guidance on how to work with the younger generation. His basketball players and the rest of today’s college athletes  are free agents and freelancers. More and more of them adopt a one-and-done approach, playing with one team for one year and then going pro. Or, if they don’t like their school’s program, they transfer to another university. And it’s not just basketball players who are doing this. More and more white collar professionals are also free agents, riding the trend of a contract-based career.

In this On-Demand Society, Coach K indicated that coaches and leaders need to be more adaptable and allow for some slippage, a word he uses to describe that there is less time to work on fundamentals and to develop the perfect team. Corporate America will increasingly deal with the same issue — the free-agent culture makes it more difficult to build and maintain institutional knowledge and company team-work.

Today’s leaders and young workers both need to be flexible. Corporate leaders can’t just say ‘millennials are spoiled and therefore they can’t learn company’s system or way of doing things. Every generation is different and as Coach K states ‘I have to be in their world and they have to be in my world and there has to be a good common ground where we both meet.’ Coach K tries to understand his younger players perspective on life — to understand their culture, such as their music, their language and event their use of social media. Now is the time for corporate leaders to do the same and to try and understand the needs and wants of Freelancers.

Too many on-demand companies need to be schooled by Coach K. Too many treat 1099s as ‘replaceable parts.’  Although this approach is not new, it will backfire and will come back to haunt them later on. They need to understand that we are in what Reid Hoffman calls a Tour-of-Duty economy (although he used the term to describe full-time employees). Since close to 40% of our workforce will be independent contractors by 2020, their voices at center court (and in superior court) will become louder and louder.  Hopefully, the Uber’s of the world will listen to them.

Click here a good interview with Coach K.

Freelancers, News, Politics, Services

On-demand economy changing competition environment

The on-demand or peer-to-peer economy is shifting consumption patterns, creating new “jobs” and innovative business models, the World Economic Forum has said in a press release. The impact on industries, workers and consumers is huge in this new reality, according to panellists in a session at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015 in Dalian, China.This relatively new sector of the economy is burgeoning, launched from online platforms and engaging millions of consumers worldwide. Arun Sundararajan, Professor and Rosen Faculty Fellow, New York University, USA, calls this shift the “sharing economy” or the evolution to a capitalism that is fundamentally crowd-based. “We are transitioning from getting the goods and services we want from a company to getting them from peer-to-peer platforms,” he said. “This is culminating in a new model for organizing economic activity.” In this new world, work no longer involves “jobs”. According to Sundararajan, people are assembling gigs and tasks.

Stephane Kasriel, CEO, Upwork, USA, started his online marketplace for freelance work 10 years ago. In the past three years, the company has taken off and offers100,000 new jobs in 75 categories; 30,000 freelancers sign up each week. “Young millennials do not want 9-to-5, they like to control their own destiny,” he said. “We offer liquidity in a fast-moving job market.” According to Kasriel, the on-demand economy will lead to “profound changes in society.”

This rapidly evolving business model is also changing the nature of competition. “The value chain doesn’t need to be pure competition. A lot of value can be created by taking the best of two worlds and creating something better out of it,” he said.

The on-demand economy enables agile businesses to build bridges. According to Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Airbnb, USA, a Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015, “Companies can partner with industry, broader society, cities and communities. This will create a more inclusive economy.” Businesses such as Airbnb and other online platforms act as a powerful economic enabler. “All of our businesses give people an option to have a supplemental income,” Blecharczyk told participants. “There are not enough jobs in the world. Our services add incremental value.”

Didi Mobility, a major player in the car-hailing industry, transports 10 million consumers every day. Using Didi’s apps, people can hail taxis, call on private cars and pooling services, and determine the schedule of public buses. Cheng Wei, Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Didi Mobility, China, a Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015, said that this consumer-to-consumer service faces fierce competition but, in the on-demand economy, “scale is the key” and a unified platform offers users convenience.

Panellists agreed that the on-demand economy is raising trust in society – an important spin-off in the wake of the financial crisis, which lowered confidence in the private sector and private institutions. (SH)

Companies, Freelancers, Politics, Your rights: Presidential Election, Laws, etc.

The other important 1099er

This past week, there was an important article in the New York Times about how Amazon Orwellian behavior. It is the first time, the world’s leading retailer has been accused of mistreating its employees. The article touched on its white collar’s lack of work life balance and intense work environment. The experts, who have expressed themselves in numerous follow up articles have pointed out that middle and upper management usually has a choice because they are usually so talented (or they already have Amazon on their resume) they can walk away and find another job. The blue collar worker can’t. And in some parts of the country where there are not many job opportunities, neither can the 1099 or indepenent contractor. A few years back, there was another article about Amazon exploiting these workers to the point where they had to keep ambulances outside the warehouse for when the workers dropped to the ground due to heat exhaustion, being overworked etc. (Having an ambulance on site should only happen at Sport events, eh?).

Some people have responded and defended Bezos management. Few have addressed the issue of the warehouse worker or the 1099, who lacks many rights.  (Yes, there have been articles about them, but they are not being seen in the same light as some other 1099s, namely Ubers drivers). The question becomes then, how can we help this group. We have to rally around the warehouse workers who are still extremely important to the ecommerce world (pick and pack fulfillment is still needed) and our economy

Companies, Politics

Employee Or Contractor? New U.S. Guidelines Could Reclassify Workers

Until this spring, California port truck driver Alex Paz was considered an independent contractor. He had paid for fuel and registration of a truck, but the truck itself was owned by the trucking company. Some months, after the company deducted his costs, he ended up owing the company money. […]

Finding Jobs, Freelancers, Marketing Yourself, Politics, Your rights: Presidential Election, Laws, etc.

HR, Training and the ‘Gig’ Economy

Click here to view original web page at blog.hreonline.com

 

New survey data finds few organizations are investing in their employees’ training and development these days, and I’m beginning to think the “gig economy” may have something to do with it.

Saba, a global provider of talent management solutions, just released additional findings from its spring Global Leadership Survey, in which it found that a mere 13 percent of companies worldwide invest in talent-management programs to further employees’ growth and career path.

For those companies that are providing training, only 35 percent are offering career development opportunities online. And, according Saba, the majority of employees (57 percent) are simply getting their training from “on the job” experience.

“Understandably, companies are focused on bottom line growth and results,” said Emily He, Chief Marketing Officer at Saba. “Unfortunately, many organizations don’t consider the career development of their employees a part of that growth equation — but they should. ”

However, a piece in today’s New York Times titled “Rising Economic Insecurity Tied to Decades-Long Trend in Employment Practices,” shows how the rise of the “gig economy” (think Uber or Lyft, for examples) is changing all sorts of expectations — including compensation and training — on both the employers’ and workers’ sides.

According to the NYT piece, tens of millions of Americans are now involved in some form of freelancing, contracting, temping or outsourcing work:

The number for the category of jobs mostly performed by part-time freelancers or part-time independent contractors, according to Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a labor market analytics firm, grew to 32 million from just over 20 million between 2001 and 2014, rising to almost 18 percent of all jobs. Surveys, including one by the advisory firm Staffing Industry Analysts of nearly 200 large companies, point to similar changes.

So perhaps it’s no wonder that companies are devoting less time to training programs when they only expect to use such workers for short-term projects:

Since the early 1990s, as technology has made it far easier for companies to outsource work, that trend has evolved beyond what anyone imagined: Companies began to see themselves as thin, Uber-like slivers standing between customers on one side and their work forces on the other.

The piece also includes David Weil’s — who runs the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Labor Department — description from his recent book, The Fissured Workplace, of how investors and management gurus began insisting that companies pare down and focus on what came to be known as their “core competencies,” such as developing new goods and services and marketing them.

Far-flung business units were sold off. Many other activities — beginning with human resources and then spreading to customer service and information technology — could be outsourced. The corporate headquarters would coordinate among the outsourced workers and monitor their performance.

“In the past, firms overstaffed and offered workers stable hours,” said Susan N. Houseman, a labor economist at the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “All of these new staffing models mean shifting risk onto workers, making work less secure.”

The NYT piece notes that, while only representing a limited corner of the nation’s approximately $17.5 trillion economy, other types of workers are watching with trepidation how organizations are moving toward the “gig economy” model.

Indeed:

…[E]ven many full-time employees share an underlying anxiety that is a result, according to the sociologist Arne L. Kalleberg, author of Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, of the severing of the “psychological contract between employers and employees in which stability and security were exchanged for loyalty and hard work.”

While outsourcing and “gigging” jobs may cut organizations’ short-term costs in some areas (such as training and development efforts) Saba’s He nonetheless emphasizes the need for companies to invest in training their workforce if they expect to succeed in the long run:

“Not only is talent management and training an integral part of workforce development, it’s proven to be a driving factor in the long-term growth and success of an organization.”