Are Freelancers the Modern Day Hippies?

I know that by reading this blog you are thinking, what on earth am I talking about with that title? Hippies? Well, hear me out for a second.
I worked in hospitality for many years and I remember having a conversation with a customer, let’s call him John, and he was talking about his career. John was an IT consultant, worked for a big company straight out of Uni for over a decade, hated it and missed out on a big chunk of his life. So he decided to go out on his own as a freelancer and began working only a couple hours a night. He became more focused and the resulting work he produced was of immaculate quality. His stock began to rise and demand for his services increased. He was soon earning enough to cover his daily expenses and live a comfortable life.
What struck me the most then, was John saying something along the lines – “I went from a Fat Cat, to a hippie”. And just like Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank redemption, he “crawled through a river of s*** and came out clean on the other side”.
To me, working a couple of hours a night wherever he wanted seemed like a pretty good deal, but was he really a hippie?
[bctt tweet=”Are Freelancers modern day’s hippies? How can you convince them to work for your organisation?” username=”ATCevent”]

shutterstock_134044577The Hippie Movement

The hippie movement was created by people who wanted to stand up against ‘the man’ as ‘the man’ created the rules that dictate how we live our lives. Rules such as a how a work week starts at 9am on Monday and finishes at 5pm on Friday, that getting an education is the only way to living a good life and so on. They can be described as anti-establishment, aiming to live their lives according to their own rules, but more importantly, to live and enjoy with freedom.
As for Freelancers, they enjoy the flexibility that comes from not being bound to the nine-to-five work schedule, have the choice to choose when, what and for whom do they want to work for. They also have the freedom to work from wherever they want. This ability to be in control of their lives is very much similar to the principles that hippies live by.
With the rise in the number of freelancers and the contingent workforce, we could also be witnessing an emergence of the modern day hippie. So what does this mean for today’s Recruiters and Talent Leaders?

Understanding the Australian Workforce
shutterstock_214578130It is important for Talent Leaders to understand the evolution of the Australian workforce to be able to utilise their strengths and weaknesses.
From analysing Hofstede’s cultural analysis results, we know that Australians are a very individualistic bunch with a score of 90 out of 100 and enjoy the fruits of life with an indulgence score of 71 out of 100. We like to treat ourselves and enjoy our time outside of work. A study by Business Insider in 2015 also found that 85 percent of Australians believe that the traditional employment model of nine-to-five office hours is inflexible for the modern day worker as it takes away their ability to indulge in the most enjoyable things in life.
These results mirror the rise of the Gig Economy and increasing numbers of freelancers. It is becoming more and more common to hear “I work for myself” or “I’m self-employed”. Some do it as their only option, whilst others do it for the freedom to work when they want, not to get that 7am train, not to work 60 hour weeks and to simply to enjoy their lives without being held back by “the man”.
You could say that Australians are lazy, but whether this is the case or not, the workforce is changing, and so should Talent Management.

Talent Leaders Need to Stay True to their Wordshutterstock_224184913

As the economy continues to fluctuate and the future remains uncertain, growing numbers of Australians who have specialised skill sets are choosing to be their own boss, rather than spending 60 hours a week in the office and only to face possible redundancy. They are willing to sacrifice paid sick days, paid annual leave and employee benefits to regain control of their lives and to spend more time doing the things they love.
So as a recruiter or talent management specialist, take a second to decide what the value you are adding to your candidate. Do you have drinks every Friday? Do you allow a flexible working schedules e.g. multiple start times or four-day weeks with longer days? Do you offer a work/life balance? Because if you don’t, then your candidates may eventually choose to work for themselves. I have personally witnessed a number of individuals going to large organisations for the training and experience, but then leaving after a couple of years because of the lack of flexibility at the workplace. Managers, it’s time to decide if you’re causing this by being ‘the man’ and creating too many rules.
[bctt tweet=”Talent leaders need to stay true to their word if they are to attract candidates to work for their organisations.” username=”ATCevent”]

What Now?

I know that every business is difference, so start by asking yourselves these questions;

  • How many people do we need to get the job done?
  • Can any roles be outsourced? Is hiring a Contingent Worker suitable for the role?
  • Am I paying too much for the talent I don’t need?
  • Do we need extra people to fill gaps?
  • Can we get away with a third party helping hand?
  • Should we invest & train or outsource?

The best piece of advice I could offer is to analyse your current needs, determine what you can offer new candidates and importantly be true to your word. The workforce is changing and we are seeing the rise of the contingent worker, so you need to determine if your candidates are here for the long haul and if they are, what value do they get from working for your organisation.
Join us at Contingent Workforce Conference 2016 to learn more about these hippies, the “man”, and where the future of the Australian workforce is heading.

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