Friday, October 14, 2016

The Contingent Workforce Contradiction

Why are these Contingent Workers smiling?

In a recent article entitled "No Longer Just A ‘Temp’: The Rise Of The Contingent Worker,: Maria Wood quotes some interesting statistics about the "Contingent labor" workforce.

"In 2014, the average share of contingent labor was 18 percent, up from 12 percent in 2009."

"Elance-oDesk and the Freelancer Union report that 53 million people — or 34 percent of the workforce — did freelance work in 2014."

"By 2017, contingent workers, including independent contractors, statement-of-work-based labor and freelancers, will account for nearly 45 percent of the world’s total workforce."

"MBO Partners’ most recent “State of Independence in America” workforce report revealed 30 million classify themselves as independent workers, either as “solopreneurs” who work independently as their only source of earnings, or “side-giggers” — those picking up outside assignments for extra income. That number is projected to grow to nearly 40 million by 2019."

"Ardent’s found that 92 percent of enterprises indicated non-traditional staffing was a vital to moderate facet of their overall corporate strategy."

At the same time one of the most popular speakers on TED is Simon Sinek. His message is almost the polar opposite;

"The best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build a Circle of Safety. 
This safe culture leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong."

If a contingent workforce is "a provisional group of workers who work for an organization on a non-permanent basis, also known as freelancers, independent professionals, temporary contract workers, independent contractors or consultants." there is something seriously wrong.

Do you see the conflict?

For some insight into this, take a look at Benno Bos' EDSO in Action.

Please note, this isn't touchy-feely, guru-speak, munmo-jumbo. We're talking neuro-biology. The type of human neuro-biology at the heart of all the web chatter about Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, and Design Thinking. The neuro-biology that your most basic actions and thoughts are built on.

Quoting from EDSO in action;

"When we are in an environment where we feel safe, with the people around us, we naturally protect them and look out for their interests. Our leaders protect us and we protect our leaders. We hope to make our leaders proud, showing them that their sacrifice to protect us and help us grow has been worth it. We are more capable of overcoming the constant dangers from the outside and creating a Circle of Safety on the inside."

When Simon Sinek asks what it would be like to have a job where you are in a Circle of Safety does working for an organization on a "non-permanent basis" immediately spring to mind? How about being in a family on a "non-permanent basis"?

This isn't about that availability of insurance benefits, or equal pay for equal work, or protection from discrimination of any flavor. It's about belonging to a group with common goals and beliefs.

To get a feel for what Americans are worried about Chapman College publishes an annual survey called America's Top Fears. The group area with running out of money and unemployment ranked #5 in 2015, just behind Man-made disasters, Technology, Government and the Environment.

Its part of the reason 70% of workers report they are disengaged in the workplace and a thinly veiled disguise for lack of commitment, even infidelity in the workplace. Staffing agencies love it. Selfish management loves it. Stopping it should be in the platform of any viable political candidate or party.

Its time to call foul on the Contingent Workforce Revolution for the baldfaced lie it really is.

(End of political rant. We now return you to our regular programming. -df)

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