Managing IT Human Capital in the On-Demand Economy

Dateline: June 17, 2016

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

The on-demand economy (also called the Gig Economy) has created numerous unintended consequences for IT organizations and their business partners.  One impact is redefining the way work is done and who is doing it.  Recently MIT Sloan School held their annual CIO Symposium and discussed this topic in one of their panel sessions moderated by MIT professor and Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson.  Baseline Magazine summarized this session:

“Changes in technology allow lower transaction costs and disintermediation, resulting in company like Uber and Airbnb,” said David Author, a professor of Economics at MIT.  He pointed to “the coordinating power of smartphones and GPS technology” in the operation of these types of companies.

The impact on workers is significant, as some companies may decide to pay workers only when they need them. The panel posited that high-value, high-volume, highly skilled employees would be secure, but more peripheral, less skilled employees could be in jeopardy.

“There’s a dark side to the on-demand economy,” warned Paul Osterman, NTU professor of Human Resources and Management at MIT Sloan. “It’s costing workers quite heavily—forcing some employees to become contractors.

“Companies should treat their workforce as assets—human capital, not disposable capital.”

How do you view your human capital?  Are they contractors?  Are you taking care of these critical assets appropriately?  

That’s a WRAP!  Have a great weekend.


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