Canadian HR Strategy

Spring/Summer 2016

Human Resources Issues for Senior Management

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FEATURE/CEOs TALK CANADIAN HR STRATEGY/13 contractual work, being much more project-based, says Couch. "Contractual is 'We need to ramp up our headcount for the next ve years for a certain demand.' I think this is more proj- ect-based: 'We have a certain deliverable we're trying to achieve and let's bring in an A-team to get this done perfectly and let's move on.'" That means fewer full-time employees — and it's very much the future, he says. "Obviously, organizations will have a core group of longstand- ing employees but they will use this kind of work to not have dead wood lying around, it'll just be 'Move along.' And so obvi- ously it's going to be scary for some people because they'll have to pick a path and stay on it and search for the next gig, but I re- ally believe that this is very much going to be part of the future. Stability is a bad thing — you tend to rot," says Couch. "I think that the Aons of the world are going to have a hard time competing against savvy people using the Internet to nd good work." Companies have realized the advantages of a gig economy, he says: "'Gosh, we can hire somebody, pay a bit more for the short term but we're not racking up a major pension plan or some- thing like that, we can just move through people.' So I think it started by companies trying to save some money but I think that individuals are seeing the bene t of it, that you can make a good living if you're able to keep moving." There will be a divide, however, between those scared by the concept or content to stay in one place, and those who have the entrepreneurial spirit, he says. "I don't think it's generational, I think it's personality, I think it's courage — you have to be brave to choose this path — but there's some remarkable things that come out of it." As for gig economy workers, there's an onus on them to be true subject matter experts, he says. "There's going to be a lot of personal branding that'll have to come out of this, but the bene ts are going to be control of your own destiny, more than anything." Bottom line, this is going to give a lot more people meaning- ful work, says Couch. "It's certainly not for everybody, and that's a big thing. The problem is more and more jobs are going to go this way and if you're not naturally inclined to this, it's going to be very chal- lenging in the future for work." As for employers, the advantages include being far more nim- ble, exible and adaptable, says Couch. "The other thing is it minimizes your risk of having dead wood — employees that just run out of runway and then you're stuck with them. This way, you can renew contracts on a short- term basis and get exposure to better people, you get exposure to a variety of ideas, you don't get stuck in an organizational mindset, you're constantly bringing fresh ideas in." But these people should not be considered "employees" in the true sense. "They're not employees and they should never be treated as such. They're brought in for a job, they should be measured on their ability to do that job, and they should be rewarded based Eventually, every business is going to be a combination of the two things, he says. "You're going to have your stable workforce that you're pre- pared to invest in and prepared to grow with and then you're going to have ux." But employers should be concerned about how they treat these workers, says Bricker. "Absolutely, the way that Revenue Canada operates in terms of the tax system, you have to be extremely careful about how you use casual labour," he says. "The tax rules are a real problem with all of this.… if you're a contractor, if you work for more than $30,000 a year, you've got to set up a GST number and start paying cer- tain types of taxes. And if you are an employer, if you (have) a part-time person, in particular, and you employ them for more hours than what Reve- nue Canada deems is appropriate for their employment, they're no longer a contractor, they're an employee — whether the employer and employee actually want a different relationship doesn't matter." As for the kind of people that will easily adapt to this new system, it's not necessarily the younger folks. "One group that the shared economy will work especially well for is actually not millennials but for people at the other end of the employment spectrum, and those are people who are looking for bridge employment opportunities who are seniors," says Bricker. "They're much healthier, much more with-it, much more ca- pable than their parents were at that age, so they're going to be looking for opportunities to stay busy and to do interest- ing things, so I think the sharing economy for putting together those people with opportunities, given that they have so much experience in the workplace, I think there's considerable op- portunity there for that." KYLE COUCH president and CEO of Spectrum Organizational Development The Toronto-based consultancy has 10 employees The sharing economy is not really that new, according to Kyle Couch, president and CEO of Spectrum Organizational Devel- opment — it's similar to bartering systems from long ago. To- day, it's about give and take, it's about sharing, it's about knowl- edge transfer and it's mutually bene cial to all parties. "It allows organizations and people alike to be nimble, and allows for a greater ow… so you're not trying to develop people necessarily — you bring in people that have the best use of skills, the best skill set at the right time, to get the best results." There's been a rise in people wanting control of their own destiny, he says, so they're able to move through projects that are meaningful to them. It's obviously a different way to work and it's an evolution of

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