A recent study by Deloitte revealed that from 2020-2025 workers will opt to work as independent workers in a format similar to being an entrepreneur. The increase of technological innovation has converged with the Gen Y’s and Gen X’s desire to work more independently, autonomously and with the benefits of being an entrepreneur. The Zoomers (boomers who refuse to age) are not to be left out as more Zoomers are seeking contract work, independent project work and work that allows them to work in select teams. Entrepreneurial workers are the future.
Business leaders need to recognize this shift now and make changes to be ready for the impact of having a workforce of independent workers rather than the traditional employee model.
The benefits to the company to have a workforce of independent and entrepreneurs are vast – here are a few:
- Workers who are independent (contract) have the freedom to accomplish goals and for the company research has shown that independent workers have higher levels of accountability to project deliverables.
- Entrepreneurial workers (contract/independent) have the flexibility to take on numerous projects and to work in multiple teams which increases cross pollination of ideas within the company (no more silos).
- Independent or entrepreneurial workers bring experience from other industries because of the nature of working on a contract basis which increases innovation within the company.
- Independent/entrepreneurial workers work both in hubs at the office as well as remotely which means the majority will have high levels of technological aptitude.
- Companies with a majority workforce of independent/entrepreneurial workers have more agility, have greater innovation and are highly attractive to high performing talent.
The challenges of course to create a workforce of independent/entrepreneurial workers include:
- Setting up the structure of the company to accommodate a ‘revolving’ workforce – one that is constantly shifting and changing due to the independent workers requires different structures for managing talent.
- Changing the minds of the leadership to being more adaptable to a constantly changing workforce rather than a majority workforce where people are in static roles/jobs.
- The future of work reveals that there will be a hybrid model that will consist of some permanent hub/office based workers along with independent/entrepreneurial workers. – which means the range of leadership skill needs to expand to include multiple perspectives of successfully working with hub/office teams along with independent teams.
The CEO of Whole Foods – Walter E. Robb has said in a You Tube interview that he believes the future of work will include workers paying for their own healthcare/dental. When asked why he states that it just makes more sense as people shift from project to project or employer to employer. I agree with him – I believe the future of work will have employers become ‘project providers’ not employers – by being a project provider an independent/entrepreneurial worker takes care of his or her own healthcare/dental which gives them the freedom to work for multiple companies/projects.
So what can you do now with the information that in the next five to ten years the majority of workers will be independents?
You can begin to review your structures/processes now to see if you are on track to be attractive to this type of workforce. You can add questions to your employee survey that include different modes of working including the independent option to ascertain the interest for this model in your company.
Most importantly you can self assess to determine whether you are ready personally for these major changes that are not far away. In my new book, “The Art of Change Leadership – Driving Transformation In a Fast Paced World” I provide more research, strategies and tools to effectively be ready for the future of work now.