I’d like to believe the last couple of years have taught us the idea of building careers around being a long-term, full-time employee is short-sighted. Many articles have been written around the new reality that EVERY job is temporary. As professionals, we are wising up to the fact we’re all businesses-of-one who need to start taking a more proactive approach to marketing our skills in order to stay relevant and employable for the duration of our careers.
But, What About Employers?!
Part of the reason we continue to see a high level of unemployment, underemployment and job dissatisfaction is employers. Many aren’t ready to openly state the future success of their businesses will be directly dependent upon their ability to be agile with their workforce. Companies will need to shift gears and eliminate staff on a day’s notice in order to stay competitive. This is not something easily transitioned to because we’ve spent the last 50 years telling everyone they are assets to the company and members of the corporate family. However, those days are gone. The sooner employers shift towards a more transparent approach, the better it is for all those employees who need to learn how to adapt.
5 Reasons to Eliminate Full-time Jobs
In the new book, “The Alliance,” LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman and his co-authors, entrepreneurs Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, encourage employers to create “tours of duty” instead of jobs. This helps the employee understand they are being hired to complete a project as opposed to being hired into a secure role that will go on indefinitely. The authors believe the management of expectations can help to restore the current dysfunctional relationship between employees and their employers. It’s a bold idea and there are definitely concerns that pop into my head with the verbiage. (Do I want to feel like I’m in battle when I work? The ‘tour of duty’ military reference creates some concern.) But, their concepts effectively speak to the need to fairly and honestly re-define the partnership between businesses (employers) and the businesses-of-one (employees) who serve them.
For all the companies out there who are still trying to tell us they have full-time jobs that will last for decades, here are five reasons you should stop the insanity:
1) You’ll get better talent. The best talent constantly want to change and improve. They don’t like the idea of being stuck in a job/company for decades. They can handle the shorter-term commitment a ‘tour of duty’ provides.
2) New hires won’t slack after on-boarding. If new employees know they may need to look for a new gig if they aren’t asked to stay on for another project, they’ll want to really do their best. Everyone knows it is easier to stay with an employer than seek a new one. The employment duration keeps the employee’s head in the game.
3) Your alumni network will grow. More people will come in and out of your company, but they won’t leave angry. When done right, they’ll stay in touch and may even return one day, bringing some new skills they acquired while working on other short-term projects at other companies.
4) You can change a person’s job guilt-free. It’s much easier to say, “we need you to do this now,” if an employee understands from the get-to the job they hired wasn’t permanent. Especially, if the job change means they might learn a new skill set or get an extension on the time in the role.
5) You can stop calling your talent reorganizations, “layoffs.” When people can’t be re-deployed in your organization, you won’t have to call it a layoff. Instead, you can say that there just wasn’t a new assignment that was a match for their talents. Sounds so much better, doesn’t it?
The above are all outlined in greater detail in the book, “The Alliance.” It’s definitely worth reading. I think it’s the first book in what will be a trend of game-changing concepts designed to help companies finally shift their thinking in the area of talent management.
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