Lesson 19, Topic 2
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Staff on Demand

UPG Team March 17, 2023
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Staff on Demand is a corporate attribute that relies on a pool of prequalified workers, hired on an as-needed basis, to conduct operational elements of a company’s business. This approach enables companies to have the fastest scaling capability and the most agility to survive industry disruption. Responsibilities range from simple tasks to complex work, and may even include mission-critical processes.

The concept of Staff on Demand is not entirely new. It has been around for over a century, with the classic example being the temp agency, which contracted out (for a fee) independent workers to corporate clients for temporary duties. Hollywood movie productions also utilized this approach, drawing upon a large community of camera operators, sound technicians, electricians, etc. and hiring them for the duration of the film’s creation.

For modern Exponential Organizations (ExOs), the more they can outsource, the better. Thanks to the rapidly growing population of the gig economy, implementing company-wide Staff on Demand today offers some powerful competitive advantages, including the ability to quickly scale or down-size according to circumstances, the capacity to quickly restructure and make lateral moves into new markets by quickly staffing new operations, and the opportunity to remain technically competitive by maintaining a workforce that is always at the cutting edge of knowledge and training.

However, there are downsides to Staff on Demand, such as less employee loyalty, the challenges of training, and continuity of operations. It is also important to note that the two things that should never be outsourced are the company’s purpose (its MTP and moonshos) and its culture. These are features that are carefully wrought from experience and are enduring; they should not be touched by temporary workers.

To implement Staff on Demand effectively, it’s important to understand the full range of jobs that can be fulfilled with Staff on Demand and the levels within the organization. Staff on Demand platforms, which are the virtual equivalent of traditional temp agencies, have been created for specific purposes, and companies can choose the platform that best suits their needs.

There are many Staff on Demand platforms available today, including TaskRabbit, which provides local handyman jobs as a service and has been acquired by Ikea, Amazon MT, a micro-task platform for human labor to carry out information gathering and data processing tasks, and Upwork, a global marketplace for freelancers. Other platforms include Gigwalk, a marketplace to contract micro-tasks to distributed, local workforces, Fiverr, an online marketplace for small one-off jobs, Molly Maid, a home cleaning service, Kaggle, a community of data scientists solving “challenges” provided by enterprises, and 99Designs, a freelancer platform for graphic design.

Staff on Demand is a powerful attribute for ExOs to have in their arsenal. With the right implementation, it can provide companies with the agility and scalability needed to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. However, it’s important to be aware of the downsides and to understand the full range of jobs that can be fulfilled with Staff on Demand and the levels within the organization.

The rise of Staff on Demand represents a convergence of forces including the sharing economy, technology enabling remote work, legislative changes, and online global marketplaces. This has enabled the emergence of the Protean Corporation, which combines a small core of full-time employees with a cloud of on-demand staff who can quickly adapt to market changes. However, for this model to succeed, training tools and efficient recruitment and payment systems are crucial. Staff on Demand is different from traditional temp work in that it is seen as a profession, can include professional positions, and has its own infrastructure to support gig workers. The increasing availability of online tools has also given small entrepreneurs access to better technology than some large companies.

For community and project builders, like us here at UPG, implementing a successful Staff on Demand platform requires standardized, modular work assignments, interdependencies with other attributes, and purpose-oriented relationships with gig workers. A successful platform should offer an online marketplace, significant availability of external talent, a reputation system, easy onboarding, dashboards and tracking mechanisms, pay for performance, flexibility, own marketing and sales responsibility, competitive compensation, automated billing and payments, demand generation handled by the platform, safety and security, and exposure to new ideas. Staff on Demand is a key attribute of a successful Exponential Organization because it enables access to the best talent, diversity of new ideas, and keeps up with the changing workforce towards freelancing. A fantastic solution for this creating this is worksuite.com, a platform that UPG is integrating with as a leveraged asset.

In terms of the future of Staff on Demand (Staff on Demand) as an attribute of Exponential Organizations (ExOs), it is likely to have an expiration date as automation, AI, and robotics become more prevalent. This transition is unlikely to lead to significant unemployment but rather a migration of workers towards jobs that feature direct human-to-human contact, while lower-end work will be done by AIs, deep learning, or robots. As part of this migration, the most successful workers will behave like “Startups of One,” with personal entrepreneurship becoming increasingly important.

As Staff on Demand becomes more pervasive and culturally and politically powerful, we are likely to see the emergence of platforms that connect demand and supply, new employment and labor laws, new forms of organized labor, and distinct Staff on Demand voting blocs, candidates, and lobbyists. We may also see changes in the social contract, citizenship, and sovereignty, as well as changes to rules on health insurance, welfare, and work and play.

Companies planning to implement Staff on Demand must ensure that their existing core team knows that this is not meant to replace them but to complement and enhance their capabilities. Some staff on demand contractors may eventually become part of the company’s core team, while others may leave for various reasons. It is crucial to take appropriate steps to ensure that the core team remains stronger and more capable, and that all new knowledge is retained.

In the emerging virtual world of the Metaverse, those individuals and staffing companies that figure out the opportunity first and best will have a decisive competitive advantage.

A recent industry downturn highlighted the difference between Marriott Hotels and Airbnb, with the latter being a fully Exponential Organization using all eleven attributes of the ExO model. While Marriott furloughed tens of thousands of jobs and slashed executive salaries, Airbnb refunded $1 billion to deposits to people who couldn’t travel, paid $250 million to hosts, and added customized services for the pandemic. They also restructured their business, cut 25% of their core staff, and noticed a significant rise in domestic travel. Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, noted that the crisis revealed just how adaptable their model is and that they are prepared for whatever comes next.

In conclusion, the use of staff on demand is becoming increasingly important in today’s rapidly changing business world. Organizations need to be open-minded about utilizing gig workers and recognize the benefits that they can bring, such as specialized skills and experience. It is crucial to identify tasks that could be outsourced to staff on demand platforms and to transform more employees into contractors. Additionally, companies should consider operating outside of organizational boundaries and taking advantage of geographic arbitrage. By embracing these strategies, businesses can gain a decisive advantage over their competitors. Finally, it is important to note that as technology continues to evolve, crowds and communities will become even more critical to the success of exponential organizations.