As we enter into the “4th industrial revolution”, and an era in which the competition for people with the talents and skills needed for digital transformation is red-hot, one of the challenges for any organization will be to reimagine how they approach human capital and talent and what their employee experience looks like. Companies such as AirBnB have shifted their HR function to focus on”Employee Experience”, while others such as Adobe are rethinking traditional aspects of the employee experience such as annual performance reviews. Thankfully, I see a growing number of HR/People teams starting to shift to this perspective around “crafting experiences” versus “crafting process and regulations. With that in mind, here are a few “slow hunch” ideas I’ve been thinking about on how we might reimagine the future of jobs….
Choose-your-own benefits package
I helped run an innovation bootcamp a few years ago with the topic “How might we reimagine the employee experience?”. Among many great ideas, the one that still resonates with me was a prototype that would allow employees to craft their own benefits package. Employers would decide how much they wanted to allocate to each employee to spend on benefits, and offer a menu of possible benefits, each with a point value attached. For example, each employee might receive 10 points to allocate as they choose. Want a bus pass? Use one of your points on transit benefits. Don’t need that bus pass, gym membership or health insurance (assuming your spouse or partner gets it through their employer)- reallocate your points (and benefits dollars) towards additional maternity/paternity leave, loan repayment, or retirement contributions.
With a growing number of freelancers in the economy, a growing interest in purpose and mission driven work, and huge competition for talent in fields like technology and data analytics, what if companies experimented with ways to offer “Fractional jobs”? Imagine a consultant who enjoys their practice but doesn’t have quite enough work to fill 40 hours a week, or who wants a better balance between the stability of full time employment and the freedom of running their own business. Or a software engineer living in Seattle who needs to cover the growing cost of living for their family, but would love to allocate more of their work week towards social impact work or a mission-driven non-profit? While there are some existing mental models for this (contractors, hourly employees, gig employees), they come with all sorts of new challenges, such as contractors not feeling (or being treated) like a full member of the team, or gig employees missing out on the benefits of a full time job.
What if companies began to craft jobs designed to fill a fraction of each week/month, allowing that consultant to be an-house coach 2 days a week while still running their business, or the software engineer to work 3 days a week at a tech company while working 2 days a week for a non-profit (and be considered a full “employee” at both)? There would obviously be huge implications to how employee benefits, work flow, and many other organizational elements are managed, but I’d love to see organizations start to challenge some of our existing constraints around what a “job” needs to look like. Imagine someone being able to say, “I work for Starbucks AND the Gates Foundation” as opposed to “I try to volunteer in my spare time”.
Would love to hear thoughts and feedback in the comments, and other “slow hunches” related to employee experience of the future- how might we reimagine what “jobs” look like in 2025?