Mon, 26 December 2016
Dee Ann Turner is the Vice President of Enterprise Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A. She was previously the Vice President of Corporate Talent at Chick-fil-A for 16 years. She is the author of a book called, It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and A Compelling Culture. Chick-fil-A is a fast-food restaurant based out of Atlanta with over 2,000 locations all over the U.S. They have 100,000 team members including 1,600 in their corporate offices.
Corporate culture is one of the most important aspects of an organization and it is a major topic of discussion nowadays. One company that is getting corporate culture right is Chick-fil-A. The original founder of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, believed that Chick-fil-A was “not in the chicken business, but in the people business” and the way he developed and lead the company was a true testament to that belief. Cathey advised Turner to remember that, “people decisions are the most important decisions we can make”.
Chick-fil-A has steadily increased in sales every year and their retention rates are phenomenal, which is rare for the fast food industry. They have franchisees from ages 19 to 80 with very diverse backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. They state that their purpose is, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Chick-fil-A has a very unique corporate culture and it really focuses on building up and investing in their employees. They truly are a company whose focus is on people, both the employees and the customers.
Turner explains that Chick-fil-A incorporates one thing as an umbrella over everything that they do and that is the idea that they care about people personally. “Employees and guests are not just a name, they are a story and people know their story”. She says that Chick-fil-A employees celebrate milestones in each other’s lives. They throw baby showers and wedding showers, they attend their kids’ sporting events, they listen to each other and give advice. They understand that “to be innovative, you have to be diverse” and one of their core beliefs is that you should treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect.
Leaders in the company are trained in and encouraged to use the Serve Model. Each letter in the word serve stands for a value. S is for see and shape the future because leaders should have vision and they should be able to articulate that vision to others. E is for engage and develop others. R is for reinvent continuously and the ability to be willing to change things up. V stands for valuing results as well as relationships and the last E is to embody the values of the company which include generosity, loyalty and excellence. Chick-fil-A believes that the higher up you are in the company, the more responsibility you have to embody the serve model. The focus is putting others before yourself.
Chick-fil-A also has some very unique perks for their employees. Their headquarters have outdoor workspaces with full wifi, they have a cafe with free lunches, the company offers great health care and they allow employees to use condos owned by management for vacations. They also have an annual conference and one year they rented out the largest cruise ship in the world for it.
Corporate culture is vitally important for successful organizations. It shapes who you are as a company, it helps you attract and retain great talent and it helps you focus on where you need to go in the future. Chick-fil-A is a great example of how putting people first can go a long way in creating an amazing corporate culture.
What You Will Learn In This Episode:
Link From The Episode:
Mon, 19 December 2016
Jeff Wong is the Global Chief Innovation Officer at EY, a global organization that has over 200,000 employees worldwide. Before he was at EY he spent 10 years in innovation at Ebay. He has an AB in Economics, a Master in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management and a MBA from Stanford University.
The world is changing faster than it ever has before. We have seen the evolution of AI, self driving cars, drones and robots in the workplace and who knows where technology will go in the future. In this ever changing world it is imperative for companies to adapt and keep up with the times. The question is how can companies keep up when things are changing daily.
Wong says innovation is “doing old things in new ways”. He says one of the most important things to do to stay ahead of the game is to pay attention to what is going on around the world. He says he is constantly reading up on world events and always listening to clients and employees around the world. Companies should be aware of what is going on around the world. EY has employees around the world which allows them to reach out to a whole host of regions in order to learn what different areas are doing and how it is working for them. Four main technologies that Wong and EY are paying attention to at this time are data analytics, blockchain, AI and robotic process automation.
Innovation is no longer just about plugging technology in, technology is much more involved now. Companies and employees have to be willing to “get their hands dirty”. Wong says in order for companies to keep up with innovation they cannot just sit and talk about new technology. Companies need to play with new technology, they have to implement it and they have to actually use the technology to address real problems. Doing this allows companies to “see where that technology is today and how fast it is evolving”.
There are three types of innovation; Disruptive innovation, which is looking far into the future to figure out what could be, adjacent innovation which is doing things one step ahead of today’s technology and sustaining innovation which should be done everyday to make sure you are staying on top of what you already have in place. Wong says it is so important for companies to implement all three types of innovation.
When companies strive for innovation more likely than not, there will be failure. Wong says, “failure is a big part of innovation” and that the important thing is “what you learn from that failure and how to change the pathway around it”. Both Wong and EY embrace failure and understand that it will happen when companies try new things. There have even been times when a project or an idea has had to be scrapped completely. This is just something you have to be okay with if you want to be an innovative company.
Wong says in order to be a leading innovator in a disruptive world “you have to be willing and eager to learn. You can’t get stuck on any framework or model”. He says you can’t just be focused on the technology of today and you have to have the “willingness to be wrong, and admit it”.
When it comes to advice for organizations trying to keep up with innovation, Wong says it is important to “read a lot, know what is going on in the world, get your hands dirty….know where things are today and where they are going in the future”.
What you will learn in this episode:
Links From The Episode:
Mon, 12 December 2016
Ep 115: How to Build a Cutting Edge Company Using the Hearts, Minds, Passions and Dedication of the Millennial Generation
Join this week’s podcast as I talk with Doug Waggoner, the CEO of Echo Global Logistics, about what Millennials want, how to manage them, how to adapt to this new workforce and some common misconceptions people have about Millennials.
Doug Waggoner is the Chairman and CEO of Echo Global Logistics, a non asset based trucking company. Echo Global Logistics carries out about 14,000 shipments per day. They have 2300 employees in 30 offices across the country and 70% of the company is made up of Millennials.
There are a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions these days about Millennials and how they work. A lot of times people assume Millennials are lazy, spoiled, and they feel they are entitled. As someone who hires a large amount of Millennials, Waggoner feels that the stereotypes are not always accurate and they come from a misunderstanding of this generation.
Waggoner says Millennials “don’t want anything everyone else doesn’t want, they’re just not afraid to ask for it” and that ability to ask for what they want comes from the values this generation has been taught. Waggoner believes Millennials are confident, authentic and they want opportunity and transparency.
So how does Echo Global Logistics attract Millennials? They mainly send recruiters to college campuses to recruit newly graduated talent. The company understands what Millennials are looking for and what they want in a job. Waggoner believes that some of their biggest selling points to Millennials are their office locations, the unique office space set ups and their corporate culture. One of their main offices in the River North area of Chicago is located in a 100 year old distribution warehouse that has been modernized. They have floor to ceiling windows, an open work environment, a coffee shop and TVs all around the office.
Their corporate culture is built on five main values, called the Echo Way. The five values are: Better is the only way, carry the load together, work hard and hustle, do what’s right and bring your own. They promote teamwork, making ethical decisions, working hard and always improving as well as being self motivated. They also use awards and social media recognition programs to frequently reward employees for carrying out the Echo Way values.
Waggoner says his company is constantly listening to employees and having open conversations about what they are looking for, however it is a balancing act. It is important to listen to employees about what they are looking for, but it is “not just about bending to every will of the employee”. Echo uses focus groups, surveys, committees and an internal podcast to learn about their employees’ wants and needs. However, with most of the company’s new hires coming right out of college, Waggoner says “we have to train new hires how to be employees”. They have to train them how to have realistic expectations, how to be responsible, and how to work hard as a large number of them have never had a job before.
They say that by 2020 70% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials. So what can company leaders do now to be prepared for this shift? Waggoner advises company leaders to accept the fact that the world is changing and don’t resist it. He says, “you will become irrelevant if you don’t adapt”. You have to “do away with bureaucracy. Be honest, transparent and keep it light and fun”. Waggoner brings up the fact that ultimately you have to remember that as Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, you raised the Millennial generation and you are the reason they are the way they are. Therefore you have to deal with that now.
What you will learn in this episode:
Link From The Episode:
Mon, 5 December 2016
Ben Waber is the Founder and CEO of Humanyze, a people analytics company. He is also the author of a book titled, People Analytics: How Social Sensing Technology Will Transform Business and What it Tells Us About the Future of Work.
People analytics is a truly fascinating and exciting field that is changing the way companies test and analyze their employees, and ultimately how effectively the company is operating. Unlike the techniques that have been used in the past, such as annual surveys or polls, people analytics uses behavioral data that is collected directly from the employees in order to get a broader look at the day to day activities of a company. Ben Waber defines people analytics as “using data about what people do at work to change how a company is managed”.
Humanyze is a social sensing and analytics platform that uses sensors in employee ID badges to measure important behavioral data such as where people are in the office at any given time and the volume and speed of an employee’s voice when talking with a coworker. Gathering these types of behaviors allows companies to get a bigger picture of the ins and outs of their company and the performance and patterns of employees. It can help find issues such as causes of stress in the workplace or the mishandling of how people are rewarded. People analytics can help companies answer basic questions such as, how much time should a salesperson talk with a customer or how much time does management spend with a certain department? These seem like basic questions, but they have not been answered up until now because we haven’t had a way to collect the data that is needed to provide answers.
With people analytics we can look at the percentage of time a manager spends with their team, the amount of time employees spend with their coworkers, how people talk to each other and motion patterns. It is important to note that the sensors don’t collect individual conversations or specific data about an individual, rather they collect the data to give analysts a broad look at the company. People analytics allows data to come in and be tested constantly, as opposed to once a year with a survey. This helps companies to analyze data on an ongoing basis to allow them to make decisions and continue to adapt in a way that keeps them at the top of their industry.
This doesn’t mean that companies should stop doing surveys and polls; those are good initial steps, but using surveys alone is not as effective as they measure employee perception versus reality.
One example of a company who implemented people analytics is a call center that hired Humanyze. This call center, as with most call centers, had a huge number of employees and the goal of management was to keep as many people on the phones at one time as possible as success is measured by completed calls. Because of this, all the employees were broken up into teams and each team member had a separate lunch break. In terms of the number of people on the phone at one time, this seemed to be the most effective way to operate for the management team. However, after starting people analytics and testing they found that the performance level was nowhere near where it needed to be and employees seemed to be stressed. In the end they found that it was due to the fact that the employees were not able to talk to their fellow team members during breaks and therefore they weren’t able to vent about problem calls or get support from each other. From that data the company changed their policy to allow lunch breaks to have 15 minute overlaps for team members. This resulted in calls being completed 23% faster, lower turnover rate, less employee stress, and more cohesive teams.
Without people analytics the call center may have never figured out what their performance issue was. As Waber states, “they didn’t have the data before, so they had no reason to change”.
At this point in time there are some challenges for people analytics. It is a new concept and a lot of people are skeptical or scared of it. There is also a cost, as it requires companies to create a new type of team with analysts and data scientists as well as HR professionals and it requires certain technical updates. But the cost of ignoring people analytics far outweighs the cost of implementing it. There are already several companies, large and small, who have started using people analytics and as we proceed into the future more and more companies will join in. Waber says on average people analytics increases top line performance by 10-15%.
Waber advises companies to “Take baby steps. You don’t need to jump out ahead, but do something that makes you uncomfortable and outside of your comfort zone”. Even if you haven’t started implementing people analytics yet, Waber says, “you are not that far behind, yet. But in the next couple of years it will be harder and harder to catch up”.
What you will learn in this episode:
Links From The Episode:
Mon, 28 November 2016
Monika Fahlbusch is the Chief Employee Experience Officer at BMC Software, a company in the IT management space. BMC Software has over 6,000 employees around the world and the Experience Team has 450 people focused on employee experience. Fahlbusch has a background in both IT and HR in high tech companies for the last 30 years.
What is employee experience? According to Fahlbusch there isn’t a cut and dry answer for what it is; the answer will be different from company to company. This is because it is dependent on the employees in the company and the culture of the company. Fahlbusch says it is important for companies to listen to their employees to find out where the “pain points” are and to find out the breaking points that inhibit productivity and innovation. Listening to employees and asking for where they think the company could improve can seem daunting to executives because they may feel that they have to implement all the ideas or risk letting people down. Fahlbusch says “sometimes you listen and that’s enough, sometimes you listen and learn, and other times you listen and have to make changes immediately”. So listening to employees doesn’t mean you have to implement every single idea, employees like to feel that they have a say and that they are being heard.
There is no doubt the workplace is changing and that the future of work will look different than work today or in the past. Fahlbusch talks about four main areas in which the workplace is changing. One area is the physical workspace. Recently companies have started to move away from a physical space where employees have to report for work all day every weekday. Now companies are allowing employees to have more freedom to work remotely for a majority of time and then have a space where employees can come together once in awhile when they have to collaborate on projects in person.
Another area the workplace is changing is how employees connect to the values of their company. Values are extremely important to the incoming generations such as the Millennials and it is important to them that their company reflects its values in real ways daily in the workplace. Its no longer good enough to say a company value is to “do the right thing”, nowadays you have to be sure your company is showing how to do the right thing, maybe by getting involved in community outreach or by operating in an environmentally responsible way. Other areas where the workplace is changing include the blending of personal and work lives and thinking outside of the organization.
So what does the workplace of the future look like? Some things that Fahlbusch sees happening in the future is a move towards doing work while standing vs. sitting all of the time. She also thinks that physical work spaces will evolve from working in one big office building, to working remotely from any location. She believes companies will be more globally minded, closer to customers, and closer to communities. Fahlbusch hopes that the future of work will include a stronger collaboration between education and tech companies for mutual benefit and that there will be a real impact with information technology in the ways of AI and wellness/health.
When it comes to employee experience Fahlbusch says that while some companies will say they don’t have the budget to impact employee experience, it is a choice. There is a cost, but there is also an opportunity cost for not doing it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you want to be satisfied with the employees you have and the employees you are attracting to your company you can’t afford not to budget for employee experience.
What you will learn:
Links From The Episode:
Mon, 21 November 2016
Teresa Carroll is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Talent Solutions for Kelly Services. Kelly Services is a staffing agency that has been around for 70 years and now it is a $6 Billion company that has 10,000 employees operating in over 40 countries around the world. Carroll, who is actually an engineer in the automotive industry by trade, has worked with Kelly Services for 24 years in several different roles.
Gig/Freelance economy is a huge topic of discussion these days. It seems like the gig/freelance economy is growing daily. Why are we having such a shift away from traditional, full time work? Carroll believes it is due to three key factors. First of all, it is due to demographics. We currently have four generations out in the workforce and as Carroll points out, “2 out of the 4 have clearly stated they don’t want to work full time for the same company”. The two generations she is talking about are the Baby Boomers, who are at retirement age but who don’t want to fully commit to leaving the workforce yet and therefore are doing part-time work, and the Millennials who have grown up with technology since birth.
The second factor that plays into the move from traditional, full time work is technology. The advances in technology have allowed us to get work done in so many different ways using various platforms such as Upwork, Etsy, Uber, etc... It used to be that employees would have to go into the office where they were trained in one specific job, however now you can work from anywhere and jobs are more task driven. And finally, the third factor is psychographic, or how we think and make decisions. Today’s workforce realizes they have certain skills and they are in demand, and therefore they get to work how they want to work.
When looking to figure out the true size of the gig/freelance economy it is hard to pinpoint due to challenges, such as the fact that there are so many different terms for this type of work. People use terms such as Gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, entrepreneurs, etc... However, as Carroll points out, regardless of what name you use it is a fact that one third of today’s workforce does not work full time. According to a study done by Kelly Services, there are 600 million workers in the developing world and out of those workers 115 million work as independent contractors, 50 million are freelancers/business owners, 40 million are temp workers and 30 million are a hybrid of several different types of work.
One thing you cannot deny is that this space is substantial and it is growing all the time. So what does this mean for companies? According to Carroll it means that companies need to continuously educate themselves on trends and they need to be able to adapt to a new type of workforce. We are going to see a move towards employing a mixture of full time, traditional employees as well as gig/freelance workers (depending on the needs of the company). With this shift in workforce it is important for HR and procurement personnel to work together and to sit down together to make a strategic plan. If companies choose to ignore this change they will not be able to attract and retain today’s top talent, and therefore they will stunt the company’s growth.
What does it mean for individuals? Carroll encourages young people who are just entering the workforce to try three types of internships; one with a large company with a well-known name brand, one with a small entrepreneur, and one as an independent contractor in order to get a sense of the different ways to work. She also says it is important for workers to “get a specific skill set and keep adding to it” and to stay educated about business trends and the different ways people are finding work.
What you will learn in this episode:
Links From The Episode:
Mon, 14 November 2016
We explore the people strategy Adidas has been implementing with chief HR officer, Karen Parkin, and we talk about how things might be changing in the world of work.
Karen Parkin is the chief HR officer at Adidas, a global sporting goods company headquartered in Germany. Parkin has been with the company for 20 years and with her background in sales she has been able to bring a unique perspective to the company’s new people strategy.
Adidas has been going through a lot of changes including the arrival of a new CEO, which will bring about a change in culture and strategy in itself. Another change that has been taking place is in the company’s people strategy. Adidas understands the importance of evolving with the ever changing world of work and the importance of employee experience and engagement. Parkin says, “to be successful we need the best people sitting in the right seats”, so when they were developing their new people strategy they had four pillars in mind. These four pillars dealt with attracting and retaining people, inspiring role models, fresh and diverse perspectives and creating the right environment for employee talent.
Adidas recognizes that the world of work is changing and they knew they needed to develop a strategy that allowed them to adapt over time. They also feel that diversity in the workplace is very important and that welcoming in the new generations while still respecting the generations that are already in the company is essential. Adidas acknowledges that the competitor landscape has changed and they are no longer just competing with other sporting companies such as Puma or Nike, but they are in competition with all large global companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. As Parkin states, “the war for talent is over”. Companies cannot afford to just sit back and assume people will want to come work for them. In this day and age Companies have to work hard to attract and retain talent.
Adidas traditionally conducted surveys every 2-3 years to look at employee engagement, however they are now bringing the focus to new management and a feedback culture where they can measure the experience employees are having everyday. Parkin brings a fresh look to these measurements as her background is not in HR, but in sales. She believes it is important to measure from a brand perspective, asking employees on a quarterly basis about how likely they would be to refer the company to peers, friends, coworkers and family. Parkin is constantly thinking about what her consumers want, need and think. She believes “people are the heart of the company, and HR is the head”.
Another change Adidas has implemented is “moments that matter”. Parkin believes that in today’s workplace there is no longer a one size fits all model. The experience that one employee has is going to be completely different from someone sitting right next to them. Adidas brought a diverse group of employees into room and HR led an interview process where they asked the employees what moments mattered the most to them. From there Parkin and her team plotted several different employee experiences to see what the key moments would be.
Some key moments that are common across the board to all employees would be the recruitment process and what the first conversation with Adidas looks like. Another key moment would be the first day in a new position. Some moments that matter that are not necessarily common to all people would be someone that wants to take a sabbatical, someone who wants to start a family or someone who wants to leave the company to work for another. All of these moments matter to employees and they are moments that Adidas is focusing in on to make sure they are great, memorable experiences.
While keeping up with the changes in the world of work, It is important to be sure that your company is not just following any and every trend that pops up. Companies should understand their goals, culture and employees and make sure the trends work with their overall big picture before implementing any changes. The key, as Parkin puts it, is for leadership to understand that “people, products and brands matter equally”.
According to Parkin, one of the most fundamental changes in the world of work is that it is “about the people, and it starts with the people”. The new role of HR needs to be the “table where the changes begin and a voice on behalf of the people”; HR is about people.
What will you learn in this episode:
Link From The Episode:
Mon, 7 November 2016
Diane Hoskins, the Co-CEO of Gensler explains the importance of workplace design and what organizations can do to improve employee experience, productivity, and innovation.
Diane Hoskins is the Co-CEO of Gensler, which is a global design firm that focuses on creating a better world through the power of design. The company started in San Francisco 50 years ago and they now have about 5,000 employees and 46 offices all over the world. Hoskins has degrees in Architecture and Business.
Over the past 10 years Gensler has been conducting research on workplace design and how it affects productivity, innovation and competitive dynamics. In all of their research they came to the conclusion that workplace design does in fact contribute to innovation and productivity. When Gensler gets an initial call from an organization wanting to update their workplace they start by getting an understanding of what the core needs of the organization are. They have to get a sense of what the organization’s current culture is like, what its values are, and where the company is going in the future. During this process they interview employees, give out surveys, observe day to day activities and collect data in order to best serve the needs of the company. There are no two companies that are exactly the same, so it is important to design a workplace that uniquely fits each one.
One topic in workplace design that has been debated a lot over the past few years is open vs. closed office spaces. Some people think it is better for everyone to have their own offices or cubicles and they believe that meeting spaces should be closed off and private. Others think open workspaces creates a better working atmosphere where people are more creative. Hoskins believes that it is all about a diversity of spaces and giving employees choices in their workplace. She says it is not about choosing either open or closed spaces, but having a mixture of both. For example, an organization could have closed meeting spaces of various sizes, open informal meeting areas with soft seating, and coffee bars and cafes for working and “unplanned chance encounters”. Hoskins says it is all about “unlocking the pathways that allow employees to step out of a routine”.
Business leaders have begun to see that there is a relationship between their workplace design and the performance of their employees and their company as a whole. They can see it in examples such as Airbnb, Facebook, and Etsy. The most innovative companies are not using the office spaces of the past where the whole building had one static floor plan that was built with the job in mind instead of the employee. Now, organizations are realiizing that their workplace needs to be more fluid and adaptable and one that is designed to create an atmosphere where employees can do their best work. Hoskings says ideally companies would be adaptive, making small changes to their workplace all the time to keep up with their employees and the current technology. However, that is not always possible monetarily or physically, so she suggests that companies take a look at their design every 2-4 years to make sure it is the most effective use of the space.
So what do employees want in a workspace? Based on Gensler’s research, the things that employees want are pretty basic and not anything over the top. The four main things that employees want are individual spaces that have a functional layout, adjustability that allows them to adapt their workspace to their current needs (sitting down, standing up, etc..), noise management, and access to the resources they need. After those four basics the next things on the list were food related such as a cafe or a coffee shop. Things that were not high up on the list were the over the top additions such as slides and ping pong tables.
The fact is that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours in our work environment and that is why it is so important to have a space we can go to that allows us to feel connected, be productive, and stay focused. This also in turn helps the business because as Hoskins says, “healthy, strong people do great work”.
What you are going to learn:
Links From The Episode:
Mon, 31 October 2016
Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of G Adventures, the largest adventure company in the world. The company is now 25 years old and today people from 160 countries book trips with G Adventures. He is also the author of Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business and Do Big Small Things.
G Adventures has a very different business model than any other travel company. Most travel companies offer customers a luxurious experience with the modern amenities of home. Today at least 75% of holidays are all inclusive and take place on a cruise ship or at a compound. Poon Tip believes that the travel experience should be different.
Poon Tip believes that if people want the comforts and amenities of home while they travel, then they should probably just stay home. He believes that traveling the world is about the experience of immersing yourself in another culture and truly seeing how other people live. His company not only gives customers an honest experience, but it also benefits locals in countries around the world.
According to Poon Tip traveling is the “greatest form of wealth distribution”. People are always traveling to poor countries, but instead of putting their money into the local government and people they are giving their money to hotel chains and cruise lines. G Adventures remedies this issue. When people travel with G Adventures they are going to have the chance to shop at local vendors, stay in local hotels and eat at local taverns and restaurants in order to build up the local economy.
G Adventures has a lot of different types of trips (over 700 to be exact). One type is local living. It allows people to travel to Africa and stay with a nomadic tribe, travel to Iceland and stay with a local family on their farm, travel and stay with locals in a small village in Italy. They also have projects in various countries that are helping locals achieve a better quality of life. One example of this is a cooking class G Adventures is setting up where travelers can go out and shop at local markets with children from a homeless shelter to get ingredients for the dish they will learn how to make. They can interact with the children and help them learn English. The travelers then go back and learn how to cook a dish with local teachers. Another project is one they are doing in India where they help women who are living out in the street by assisting them in getting a chauffeur’s license so they can make a living by driving travelers around the country. G Adventures wants to change the world and they believe that tourism can be the vehicle for that.
In today’s world people want to feel they have a purpose in their work and companies are starting to evolve to give more meaning to the work their employees do. Companies really can change the world. But who is responsible for creating this purpose at work? Is it the responsibility of the company to create this purpose? Or is it the employee’s responsibility to find this purpose in whatever position they have? The answer is it is a mutual responsibility. Employees should make sure they apply for a company that has values that line up with their own with opportunities to make a difference and employers should be sure to provide these opportunities for their employees.
Poon Tip plans to continue creating opportunities to improve the world through G Adventures. He sees his work more as a movement then just a job and he wants to continue using “tourism as a vehicle to change the world”.
What you will learn in this episode:
Link From The Episode:
Sun, 23 October 2016
Natalie Foster, the advisor to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, discusses the gig economy and our growing need to re-write the norms of how work gets done.
Natalie Foster is the Advisor to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative and the Open Society Foundations. She is a Fellow at the Institute for the Future and New America California and she co-founded and launched Peers.org. Natalie also previously served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee.
In the past it was considered normal for workers to stick with a job at one company for their entire career. Throughout the worker’s time at the company their benefits, such as healthcare, workers compensation, and paid time off was provided by the employer. The employee was taken care of until the time of retirement. Nowadays the gig economy is steadily growing, but where are these independent workers getting their “social safety net” of benefits?
One of the goals of the Aspen Institute is finding a bipartisan solution to support independent workers and to re-think capitalism. They are trying to find a “portable, prorated social safety net” for these workers so that they can have a flexible job while still ensuring they have access to the benefits of traditional employment.
One of the challenges in the freelance economy is our inability to fully comprehend the number of people who are actually working in the alternative work space. One reason for this challenge is the fact that there isn’t one agreed upon definition of this type of work. Just think about how many different titles there are out there for these types of workers. You have gig workers, freelancers, contractors, independent workers, entrepreneurs, etc..
So what do we know about the alternative work space? Upwork did a study that found that 40 million Americans do freelance work. The GAO found that 40% of workers are involved in some sort of alternative work (this includes part time work). Also, the rate of adoption of digital markets has been going up over the past three years.
Foster believes that if we had a choice, most people would probably choose the “American middle class job” that you keep your whole life and retire from. But she says that those types of jobs have gone away for the most part. What we see taking the place of these middle class jobs are large employers such as McDonald’s, Walmart and KFC who offer the lowest wages and very minimum benefits. They also do not give their employees any control over their scheduling and no flexible work options. This is one of the reasons that the alternative work space is growing. People who have traditional jobs can no longer make ends meet and they don’t have the flexibility they desire.
In our move towards an alternative work economy we have to be able to re-write some of the norms to help independent workers get the same support as traditional employment. Foster talks about the changes we made in the work economy when we moved from an agricultural society to an industrial one. Things like the 8 hour workday, paid vacation, and not working on weekends were all things that were not in place when we worked in the fields. Now we are going through another shift so we have to figure out how to create a new set of norms.
The solution is to find a way to extend the “safety net” we have in traditional workplaces and offer it to the 40% of workers in the alternative workspace. Foster says there is already a model that is being tested by the New York BlackCar Service where there is an extra 2 ½% added to all payments that goes into a fund the company has in order to provide workers compensation to all of their drivers. Perhaps the same type of model could be incorporated into platforms such as TaskRabbit or Upwork where a percentage of purchases are put into a company wide fund in order to provide health insurance, paid time off, or sick days for their workers. Uber is also taking a step forward by accepting an independent drivers guild in New York that they will start using next year.
Foster also mentioned that over the last 40 years our GDP has gone up and up but our wages have been going down and down. She believes there could be a way that everyone could share in this value that we as a country are creating. The alternative work space is growing, so it is important for us to find ways to supplement benefits that in the past have been provided by traditional employment. This move forward will take a change in policies, an acknowledgment of this change in our economy and a step forward by employers.
What you will learn in this episode:
Links From The Episode: