Feeling the Freelance Love in Today's Workplace: #TChat Recap

I am so over the global economic upheaval. Aren’t you?

Apparently, so are employers who’ve had to make ruthless staffing choices in order to survive. Repeated layoffs, reduced benefits and increased workloads. It hasn’t been pretty. But necessity is the mother of invention. And to “make it work” along the way, business has embraced an unprecedented shift toward contingent labor. In fact, an estimated 40% of the U.S. workforce now operates on a part-time or contract basis.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

But what does it all mean for the future of work? Well, this free-agent shift cuts both ways. Although the allure of a variable-cost workforce may seem sexy for an organization’s bottom line, too much of a good thing has its consequences. Recently, while the romance between employers and freelance talent has flourished, relationships with employees have eroded.

And engagement isn’t the only weak link in the talent chain. According to research by Bersin By Deloitte, organizations will struggle to find, develop and retain the skilled talent they need to expand in the years ahead. Ouch. So where is the love?

A New Employment Relationship Normal

This week, the TalentCulture community looked at issues and opportunities in this new era of hired guns. Our goal was to generate ideas for a more sustainable talent model – one built on relationships and focused on value, competence, trust and mutual respect – regardless of cost or contractual requirements.

Two forward-thinking talent strategists helped guide our interaction:

Below are highlights and links to resources that we hope you’ll find helpful. If you know of related articles, or want to share ideas of your own, feel free to add a comment below, or include the #TChat hashtag to your posts on Twitter. The TalentCulture channel is always open, so don’t be shy!

#TChat Week-in-Review

SUN 2/3
TalentCulture Founder, Meghan M. Biro framed the issue in her Forbes.com post: Free Agent Nation Romance: The Good, The Bad and the Unknown

MON 2/4
Our #TChat preview post outlined the week’s core theme and questions: Is The Employment Romance Really Over?

G+ Hangout Video: Career strategist Dawn Rasmussen briefly explains why professionals should continuously market themselves, regardless of their job status.

TUE 2/5
#TChat Radio Show:
Dawn joined Greta Roberts, and radio hosts Kevin W. Grossman and Meghan M. Biro, to discuss the upside and downside of today’s talent acquisition and retention realities.

WED 2/6
#TChat Twitter: Participants from around the @TalentCulture community gathered around the #TChat Twitter stream to share their expertise, experiences and opinions about the changing shape of today’s workforce, and the consequences for business and individuals.

NOTE: To see highlights from yesterday’s #TChat Twitter forum, be sure to watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

Closing Notes & Highlights Slideshow

SPECIAL THANKS: Another shout out to Dawn Rasmussen and Greta Roberts for contributing your time and expertise to TalentCulture events this week! Your insights challenge us all to think more carefully about both sides of the employment equation.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events inspire you to write about contingency workforce trends or other workplace issues? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

NEW: We’ve expanded to LinkedIn! If you like participating in groups we invite you to join us there anytime at TalentCulture – World of Work.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week – we’ll look further into the realities of today’s work world, as we talk about why and how companies should focus more carefully on recruiting from the nation’s unemployed talent pool. Don’t miss “The Business Case for Bridging the Unemployment Gap” on #TChat Radio, Tuesday, Feb 12, at 7:30pm ET and on #TChat Twitter Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7pm ET. Look for details next Monday via @TalentCulture and #TChat.

Until then – we’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

#TChat INSIGHTS Slide Show: “Employment Romance is Over. Now What?”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-is-the-employment-romance-really-o.js?template=slideshow”]

#TChat INSIGHTS: Is the Employment Romance Really Over?

Storified by TalentCulture World of Work· Wed, Feb 06 2013 17:29:42

Coffee girl! Pic at Starbucks. #tchat http://pic.twitter.com/JadcGdVuDawn Rasmussen
@KevinWGrossman chocolate has always been the key to my heart http://www.twitpic.com/c1giu0 … oh and cash #TChatSylvia Dahlby
BOOM! We’re off >Q1: Do all these shifts in the employee-employer relationship mean they’ve broken up for good? Why? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
#TChat A1: Larger employers are acceptable with the turnover just like the money they waste in their marketing budgets.Anthony Ryan
A1-The relationship has matured and evolved to a diff level given the changes in tech and global mobility on the whole #TChatSonalee Arvind
A1: Long-term relationships happen when both understand clearly why they “fit” and work to inspire each other #TchatDan Schultz
A1 It especially hurts youth. Experience paradox – how do you get experience if no one will hire you without it? #TChatMarc Cibulka
A1. I’ve been in temp jobs that treated me LIKE I was temp- no one trained me or used me as an asset. Shame. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#tchat A1 Too much of the current relationship is driven by Cos avoiding employee benefit paymntss rather than by ideals.Michael Leiter
A1 – The market is completely different & relationships have changed – it’s much too risky to think w/yesterday’s lens #TChatLeAnna J. Carey
A1: Those in-house “intrapreneurs” that add so much are now becoming “Entrapreneurs”… can I say out-house ppl? #TChatTom Bolt
A1. Relationships are never broken as long as both parties are willing to communicate. The opposite of love is not hate but apathy #tchatSatya Solutions
A1 Companies like the ability to hire without long term commitment. Works like a probationary period. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A1, Employers have figured out there are a lot of folks who are not work keeping around #SadButTrue #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A1: The shift is due to economics – doesn’t make sense to have employees that negatively affect the bottomline #tchatJen Olney
A1: who says old employee-employer relationship was more ideal? #TChatStephen Van Vreede
A1: Mass-Entreprenuership is not a viable model on a larger scale. You’ll always need an employer/employee relationship. #tchatJoey V. Price
A1 The relationship has evolved bcs. of market forces. Both must look through different lens 2b sustainable; there is no alternative #TChatLeAnna J. Carey
A1: it is a negotiation and isn’t the goal always a win win?? #TChatLori~TranslationLady
A1. Don’t think it’s broken for good- just for awhile until more of the boomers retire. #tchatTerri Klass
A1 This shift may bring more situations of worker misclassificaton. Thoughts on that? #tchatTim Baker, CHRP
A1 I believe this generation has grown accustomed to the “try and buy” hiring style. Opportunity for employers to cut costs. #tchatAndrew Grossman
A1 – long term trend away from traditional employment. Co.’s learned it was cheaper to outsource to contractors #tchatRichard S Pearson
A1 – Degree of Employer/Employee relationship broken is inversely proportional to communication and culture. #TChat #GeekKeith C Rogers
A1: Don’t think they’re done for good, believe they’re going thru an evolutionary change. #TchatRobert Rojo
#TChat A1. If Ee is still with Er and vice versa, they must reap something out of it, i.e. not totally “broken”, is it..LiChing Ooi
A1. Jobs change every three years or less. Important to realize that employee:employer trends may also follow that pattern #tchatCream.hr
a1 I think orgs are hiring slow and firing fast without setting people up for success in between. Want them off & running #tchatAlli Polin
Q2: Do you see a world of work where the employee & employer ever get back together, like it used to be? Why? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A2 contractors play a vital role in strategy #tchatOrgz Consulting
A2 Yes! The Love is not lost, just that the vows have changed! #TchatSonalee Arvind
a2 Temp = no respect…. consultant = respect. Both may bring specialized skills #tchatAlli Polin
A2: Employers have to take responsibility for environ and contractors have to make it about more than just $$ #TChatRoger Veliquette
A2 – Why would ER hire someone w/o a personal brand? A personal online brand is no longer a nice to have #TChatLeAnna J. Carey
A2. If contingent workers are becoming the norm companies need to create a new team model- be more inclusive #tchatTerri Klass
A2: Yes, contractors will be the new ‘purple squirrels’ with all the new skills they have added to their repertoire. #tchatDaisy Wright
A2: treating people as expendable bc they are freelancers will backfire. Talent is never expendable in any form. #tchatSusan Mazza
a2 Whole divisions are being outsourced to large staffing agencies & becoming contingent workforce. Hard shift 2 make #tchatAlli Polin
A2 – no such thing as the “good old days” and no turning back, unless WWIII reduces the earth to radioactive mudball #TChatSylvia Dahlby
A2 Our research shows 39% of independent workers (freelancers, etc.) feel MORE secure than if they had a traditional job #tchatSteve King
A2: Contractors may become the new rockstars when they have skills no one else has. #TChatDr. Janice Presser
A2: The winners in the new skills-based world will be those who ramp and scale quickly with singular or multiple gigs. #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A2. There is such a thing as ‘collective talent’ – so that when an ee leaves a team (e.g. end of contract) team IQ drops #tchatJane Watson
A2: More folks are finding that its better to depend on themselves then be beholden to a organization #tchatJen Olney
A2 We’ve shifted from relational to transaction relationships. You never know, it might shift back when it becomes too transactional #tchatChristopher Yeh
A2. Maybe for some. A mostly contingent workforce has disadvantages. I wrote about neuroscience research on ‘intelligence of teams’ #TchatJane Watson
A2 The workforce will definitely continue to expand and innovate. Workers are learning to depend on themselves more than their jobs. #tchatBeverly Davis
A2. Hopefully not if it includes an isolating top down hierarchy #tchatCream.hr
A2: No. We’re not going back, so don’t turn around, lest you become pillar of salt :) #TChatStephen Van Vreede
A2) Why should we revert? Why not just create a better “new normal” for both sides of the equation? But we need a sustainable model. #tchatExpertus
A2. I’m not sure it will but I think the workforce can benefit by bringing some of those old qualities back and work it with the new #TchatKimPope
A2 Really depends if the company wants a contract “for service” or “of service”…big difference #tchatTim Baker, CHRP
A2: A lot of this change has to do w/ the economy and how risky a business is willing to be. If things stabilize, employees will too #tchatSpark Hire
A2: A few roles can be lifelong. Seasonal and contract work will continue to be significant. #TChatRoger Veliquette
Q3: Contractors & part-timers are “pan-opportunists.” Is this what they want? Does it help or hinder #innovation? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A3 Innovation is a result of people’s mind , not their time. Smartness is being Value driven not time driven #TChatSonalee Arvind
A3: Augmenting staff with contractors to help solve business driving challenges can really accelerate time to solution #TchatDan Schultz
A3: If you don’t thrive in ambiguous situations, don’t freelance. #TChatDr. Janice Presser
A3 There is loyalty but longevity of being at a company for 10+ years will not be as popular as it once was. Ppl today crave change. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. Better faster way to the C-Suite: Create an organization. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: Is there loyalty out there anymore?? #TchatRobert Rojo
A3: Some companies will continue to reward loyalty, especially those in hard to fill locations. #TChatDr. Janice Presser
A3: Pan-opportunists can be great but difficult executing a 5 yr plan with rotating talent. Some corps can do well, others not. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3 – it is a tremendous challenge for co.’s to manage teams of freelance – laws gov. contract workers much diff. than employees #tchatRichard S Pearson
A3. The workforce today is filled with creative people who crave flexibility. #tchatTerri Klass
A3: Contractors are typically specialized. Orgs have to know why they are using them and how to use them or else why? #TchatDamon Lovett
a3 It doesn’t work for everyone though… many still want security over variety & choices #tchatAlli Polin
A3: Met Maslow’s basic physiological need of survival. #TchatRobert Rojo
A3 – contractors can be much more objective bcs. they are not ingrained in the culture & unpack business models more easily #TChatLeAnna J. Carey
A3 Very successful freelancers/contractors – about 2.2 million in US make more than $100k – value control and flexibility #tchatSteve King
A3 contracts must be used strategically, your most focus should be on your own work force. #tchatOrgz Consulting
A3: Perhaps not. But reality is that they must go extra mile to prove value. Doing what reg emps won’t. #tchatMark Salke
A3: Creation/innovation teams are never exactly the same twice. Flux is normal for inno. #TChatRoger Veliquette
A3: Sometimes the part-time opportunity is a foot in the door to something permanent. #tchatDaisy Wright
A3: The workforce of today is highly unique and virtual = The Pan-Opportunist Works! #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A3. Neither. Influx stems from a changing job economy. It’s innovation from its start #tchatCream.hr
A3 #Tchat I know both ppl who get contract job after another & I know some ppl who scrape by. A consistent flow of opptys is best.Cyndy Trivella
A3: Not really any one answer. Some folks thrive more in “permanent” roles while others thrive in serial “permanent” roles. #tchatVizwerxGroup
A3: Contractors & PTs *see* the issues that e’ees & e’ers probably don’t ~there is a wealth of knowledge to be shared! #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A3: If employers were more willing to hire contractors FT (or consider them more part of the team), it’s likely many would stay. #tchatSpark Hire
Q4: Social media leads employees & contractors into other orgs’ arms. How can leaders use it to foster fidelity? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A4. Build internal digital village first. Make mistakes-improvements. Then, open to the world via social media. #tchatMichael Clark
A4. Healthcare organizations outsource doctors. Crazy. #tchatTerri Klass
#TChat A4: By doing EXACTLY what their social media is SUPPOSED to be doing, FOSTERING & actually GROWING relationships with their employeesAnthony Ryan
A4: Skills come, go and change. Let’s be flexible enough to play to – and hire for – strengths. #tchatknack
A4 – it’s just outsourcing that started big time decades ago – to individuals instead of companies #tchatRichard S Pearson
A4: You want your employees to be your brand ambassadors treat them like ambassadors – give them good hors d’ouvres. #TChatDr. Janice Presser
A4: The US has always been a nation of “At-Will” employment. Except in Montana… lol. #tchatJoey V. Price
A4 Teach your employees how to use social media to become thought leaders. It benefits them and the whole org. #tchatHolly Chessman
A4: Don’t blame #SoMe. No room to grow in-house means looking externally for opportunity. #TChatRoger Veliquette
#tchat A4 Social media builds cross (org) border communities. They bring in talent as well as draw them out.Michael Leiter
A4: Build trust. Those who don’t feel trusted will seek greener pastures #tchatJen Olney
A4. Be agile, up to date, stay with the trends. Learn what your employees want so they’ll want to stay in your arms #TchatKimPope
A4 Leaders can use SM to foster fidelity through engagement!! Be visible & build relationships within the org #tchatAlli Polin
A4: Just like unionization: Stop trying to regulate it and treat your people well. It’s pretty simple really. #TchatDamon Lovett
A4 social media helps determine which orgs spend the time engaging employees. If that’s you, then you’ll keep more people #tchatGoldbeck Recruiting
A4: Fidelity to an organization may be an outdated concept. #tchatVizwerxGroup
A4 Fidelity is earned. Orgs need to make contractors & part-timers feel welcome and accommodate their new associates #TChatEnzo Guardino
A4: They can start by trusting their employees on social and wasting time & money on trying to block it!(HOO-AH) #TChatSusan Avello
A4 Engage employees on the web — esp. when it comes to recognition. Robust employer social media helps. #tchatAndrew Grossman
A4: An employer brand and the atmosphere/trust in a team (contractor included) can and should involve social media. #tchatSpark Hire
A4 – If you’re taking care of your employees then you have no reason to worry. I don’t think there’s a talent black market going on. #tchatJoey V. Price
A4 – by signing contracts for freelancers for terms of projects – by keeping them in a positive environment so they will want to stay #tchatRichard S Pearson
A4 – SoMe is a huge required skill set for growth & survivability for both EE/ER – digital is a game changer #TChatLeAnna J. Carey
Q5: What are some specific strategies for employers to rekindle the romance with their employees? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A5) Oddly I see TONS of posts using term “employee” even tho we’re trying to look at the 40% of workforce that is outside that box :) #tchatExpertus
A5: Engage the employee! Everyone wants to contribute and play a big role in their company’s growth #TChatJeffrey Fermin
#tchat A5. Get to really know about them. Everyone is motivated by different things. Some seek $ others flexibility. Personalized approachMichael Chopp, PHR
A5: Show them some love and make them feel that their opinions matter. #tchatDaisy Wright
A5 #Tchat Employees need to remember, the employer is not a mind reader. If U want something address it head on with them.Cyndy Trivella
#tchat A5 Many ways: flexibility, team building, recognition, training and empowerment. Make the effort to be meaningful and authenticStan Phelps
A5: two words – Reciprocal Trust #Impact99 #tchatTim Baker, CHRP
A5. The romance might be stronger if each party stops being sketchy, holding cards close to heart. Be transparent. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5. Help create a company narrative that includes all the employees’ stories. #tchatTerri Klass
A5: Authenticity needs to return to the workplace relationships #tchattanvi gautam
A5 #tchat Clear expectations, roles & responsibilities are critical to employee engagement; which improves relationship.Anna Christina
A5 who brings money at your work? Employees. Care them and develop them.. #tchatOrgz Consulting
A5. Be open and transparent, using your own challenges and failures as examples. #tchatMichael Clark
A5 Listen to employee feedback. Constructive and effective communication. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5: Include growth plans for positions and individuals as part of strategic business plans. #TChatRoger Veliquette
A5 – Empower your teams to solve hard problems, the days of ivory executives sitting in the tower doing everything are over #TChatJeff Moore
A5: Co-creating the map of the future and co-owning it will lead to a space where folks feel they are in it together. #tchattanvi gautam
A5: Mood lighting… wine and roses in the office… and a little Barry White? LOL #tchatDawn Rasmussen
A5 Ask them what they care about. Do a values exercise. Incorporate the values in the organization. #TChatMelissa Lamson
A5 Be flexible, every worker has a different source of meaningfulness in work #tchatChristopher Yeh
a5 Let people go to off-site training & conferences. Good ideas aren’t only found inside of the org #tchatAlli Polin
A5: Humanize. #tchatMark Salke
A5 Make it clear which jobs and roles will be done by permanent employees & what jobs and roles will be done by contingent workers #tchatSteve King
A5: Engage, engage, engage…make them feel like they belong. #TchatRobert Rojo
A5: Engagement is key – at the level where the employee wants to be engaged #tchatVizwerxGroup
A5: Start by bringing your WHOLE self to your work every day = Be true to you. #TChatMeghan M. Biro

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