Bored of the Boardroom?

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21/02/2017

Leading in a fractious fractional world

Post Brexit, post Trump, the only thing we seem to be able to agree on, is that uncertain times lie ahead. More and more UK businesses are turning to the gig economy to create a flexible workforce and deploy specialist skills on an as-and-when basis. Temporary talent doing gigs seems set to rise.  According to an EMEA-wide survey by Oracle, nearly 40% of UK companies already hire most of their new staff on a temporary or project basis, with half planning to hire even more temporary workers by 2020. That’s an extraordinary statistic. Remember the days of ‘jobs for life’ baby boomers? Who believes in that model any more? In fact, ask a millennial – they don’t even want that.

Where will this all end up?

At gigCMO we believe this will end up at the very top of the organisation. Gigging started with the contingent workforce in lower paid jobs. This trend took-off big time after the recession of 2009 and the rise of part-time (fractional) work which was in turn fuelled by on-demand consumerism, the supply of a large unemployed workforce and those amazing apps on a burgeoning number of smartphones.

In a parallel phenomenon there has been a lot of comment on the nature of the boardroom and in particular the (often unpopular) remuneration policies and (apparently shortening) tenures of Chief Executives and members of the Board. There’s a lot of consternation about how to balance short-term investor focus with the long-term success of a brand. When results don’t match expectations there’s an increasing frequency to change-out the leadership team which can be de-stabilising and costly.  Despite the gigging trend within the organisation, the Boardroom seems to have retained the traditional hiring model. Golden handcuff contracts and golden ticket exit plans. All this despite these widely varying levels of shareholder returns and business performance. It feels like the Board model is ripe for transformation.

How long can the boardroom function in the same old same old ways?

Whilst in the Boardroom role you’re expected to forego a work-life balance and commit every waking hour to the business. It’s about commitment, leadership, vision from the top, role-modelling what it takes to be successful in the organisation and producing successful results for customers, shareholders and employees. All very admirable, and no-one would disagree with the importance of quality leadership and talented executives.  The baby boomers accepted this model for a very long time, progressing up the ladder and sacrificing other elements of their lives for the rewards associated with top jobs. A necessary quid pro quo?  But many are now themselves part of the gig economy way of working. And the millennials aspire to a different approach to life and work, full-stop.

Gigging in the Boardroom?

Like King Canute you can’t hold back the tide when the tide is turning. If talent now comes in small, fractional packages there’s no point in locking your business into a model that is becoming less and less relevant in this uncertain world. If you see the tide turning and you’d like talent in your business as and when you need it talk to us at gigCMO about how we can help.