Justin Fox on the Harvard Business Review blog offers that while the freelance economy may not be as big as some headlines offer, it is a force to be reckoned with.
As many of you know, I’m blogging toward a book on just how we do that -- how do we design and lead organizations as the boundaries loosen and work is done by a blended workforce of employees, contractors, freelancers, alliance partners, and computers/AIs?
I had the chance to share some of my starting points with the MarketWatch community. Here are the bullets, but I hope you’ll take a look at the longer version in MarketWatch — and most importantly, please share your own perspective and experiences in the comments. How quickly do you think these transitions will take place? Will it be the same for large and small organizations?
- Let go of traditional job reviews. Instead of the momentous annual sitdown, provide 24/7 performance feedback as needed. The colorful former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz once fired a manager with no notice after the manager fought so hard for her idea--ultimately successfully -- that she alienated the colleagues she’d need to enact it. Salesforce.com’s Work.com makes feedback as easy as checking-in on Facebook. Younger workers want more feedback and transparency in their work -- embrace that, as great ideas can come from unexpected places in the organization.
- Let go of stay-in-one-place work rules. Marissa Mayer may have had her reasons for cancelling telecommuting at Yahoo, but if you have the right systems, technology, and people in place, flexible workplace strategies are an important part of most organizations. You get access to a global workforce and the work environment can better match the task.
- Let go of education requirements of old. Google is hiring more people without college degrees -- if they can do the work. Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) hires into its global workforce by having candidates take on a project as a contractor first. Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, edX, and many others provide online, often free, ways to keep up the skills needed in the modern workforce. If you do want a degree, realize that you’ll eventually need another one or two to stay on top of the changing needs of the workforce.
- Let go of traditional mentoring roles. Mentoring is a two-way street where younger workers can share rapid-fire communication strategies and more senior colleagues can share wisdom around how to value the firehose of information. And like jobs, mentoring relationships can be more fluid with online matching services.
Deborah Lohse of Santa Clara University made this post happen. She kicked off the MarketWatch opportunity by interviewing me after my Women of the Channel keynote and then walked me through edits for the OpEd format.