My inbox has been flooded for the last couple of days with predictions for the future of HR in 2015 and how to anticipate them. The best of the best was the annual predictions by Josh Bershin (Check out #1 – Engagement, Retention and Culture have become front burner issues). Although the report talks about the changing workplace, one trend that in my view will completely transform the way we run businesses through flexible, contract employments. I think full-time jobs are headed towards becoming obsolete.

A recent publication by PWC on the Future of Work 2022 highlight this trend by giving it a special name: Orange World. In this Orange World, PWC argues that big businesses fragment and small inter-connected business, driven by technology will become the norm. The report states that:

“The Orange World desire for autonomy is strongest in China, especially among young people, indicating a generational shift towards greater freedom, entrepreneurship and specialist skills in this rapidly evolving economy. Over half of participants in China believe that traditional employment won’t be around in the future. Instead, people will have their own ‘brands’ and sell their skills to those who need them.

And I’m convinced that the same applies to other parts in Asia where the European ‘cradle-to-grave’ philosophy has never taken hold and people are not looking at overarching institutes to take charge of their lives. In these environments, personal entrepreneurship is more accepted and appreciated in the larger society.

In the west your grandma is proud of you when you tell her you’ve joined GE, where as in the east your grandma is proud when you tell her you’re running your own company.

So if the skills and expertise that you require is only available with people that are looking for flexible, autonomous, challenging and short term engagements, how will you find, attract, engage and get the best value from them that will benefit your organization? Here are a couple of thoughts on how you can start preparing for the revolution where individual skilled entrepreneurs – skillpreneurs – will dominate the talent market.

1. Company Reputation Is King

In order for you to attract talented skillpreneurs your company reputation is key. Social networks from glassdoor, to Elance, and will all flaunt opinions about your company from people that have previously interacted with your organization. Developing and harnessing your company reputation will be essential in your ability to attract skilled entrepreneurs.

2. Tap Into The Networks

In the future skillpreneurs will not come to you, you’ll have to find them. Their hangouts are not going to be traditional job boards, instead they’ll associate themselves with networks of similar minded and skilled colleagues. You will have to know where your “skill base” hangs out and through networking throw them an interesting proposition that they would go for.

3. Get Your Pitch Right

Skillpreneurs are looking for flexibility, autonomy, and challenges. You have to find ways to package your requirements in their terms and put a value to it that excites the individual. The value is not always monetary since the potential value for skillpreneurs is also in learning, diversification, association, network and experience gained through the assignment.

4. It Is All About The Why

Simon Sinek puts it brilliantly when he says:

“People don’t follow what you do, they follow you why you do it.”

This applies even more for the future skillpreneurs. In order to get the best out them you need them to buy into your vision of what you are trying to achieve. Not only “the what” but especially “the why” of the importance the company achieves it’s vision and how they can contribute to that vision.

5. Throw Away Your HR Practices And Policies

Skillpreneurs are running away from old fashioned corporate practices. Don’t try to rope them into policies and procedures that guide your permanent staff. Create a separate world for these short term associates that gives them the flexibility and autonomy that they’re yearning for.

It’s going to be an interesting year for HR – THAT much I can guarantee. Skillpreneurs are just the beginning of major change yet to come.

[Photo Credit: patriziasoliani via Compfight cc]