‘Time for sale’ staff need not be a headache for HR

I wanted to respond to the comments by Rebecca Clake in your ‘Spotlight on time for sale’ article (Personnel Today, 12 September) suggesting that managing an ultra-flexible workforce could be a headache for HR.

Our experience operating the pilot market for this new way of working suggests the opposite.

Imagine a self-selecting pool of people who have opted to work in a way that demands constant flexibility and systematically rewards reliability. They want a flow of short bookings in their area every week and know they need to be in favour with a range of employers to achieve that.

That’s a different relation­-ship for HR. The people you’re booking for a couple of hours at precise points of need think of you more as clients of their personal business. They may only be cleaners, pick and packers or shop workers, but they are working around other commitments in their life and accelerating their skills and experience as they do so. They know they are only as good as their last booking. So if they are useless you won’t buy their hours again.

This is a challenge if you’re focused on the command-and-control model of dealing with contingent labour in today’s market. But there is a new dynamic emerging that might potentially solve some headaches for HR practitioners willing to look at new ways of engaging with the local workforce.

Wingham Rowan
Programme director, Slivers of Time

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