Pricing Your Flexi ‘Gig’ Right

price-tag

When you are ‘gigging’ or freelancing, the phrase “time is money” takes on an entirely different meaning. Its something that you live by, every single day of your life. Or every hour of the day or night – depending on your deadlines.

One of the biggest challenges we freelancers face is saying thanks-but-no-thanks to offers of work that don’t make our time worth it.

Recently, I’ve been speaking with a bunch of people who’ve gone freelance – writers, architects, coders, business consultants, music producers, HR professionals, marketers, trainers…it seems almost everyone seems to struggle with getting the pricing decision just right.

And it’s not just the ‘newbies’ who are struggling, folks who’ve been freelancing for a few years now, are still selling themselves short and underbidding jobs.

So, I trawled the web for a bit and came across this brilliant post by professional blogger, Tom Ewer. Tom makes some very interesting points including how charging an hourly rate is not such as good idea after all and how to hold your own in a ‘nego’ and avoid a race to the bottom by slashing your rates. Personally, I’ve found that as long as your client can ‘sleep easy’ (instead of being up all night wondering if the assignment they hired you for is on track), rates and negotiations – while important, don’t dominate and lead to endless rounds of painful back and forth discussion.

Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss more about the challenges and possible solutions to getting a flexi ‘gig’ off the ground.

Brian Carvalho

HR Officers as “Economists”

Wearing a new hat

NYSE-listed ManpowerGroup’s most recent global Talent Shortage Survey shows an astonishing 35% of global employers are struggling to fill open positions despite continuing high unemployment. You read that right. 35%.

Clearly there is an oversupply of labor and undersupply of talent.

Manpower Group’s Chairman and CEO, Jeffrey A. Joerres, speaking the January 2014 WEF meetings, provided another striking endorsement for flexi-working calling for employers to tap skills across the entire ecosystem – “full-time, part-time, contract and virtual” “.

Quite simply, flexi-arrangements help employers tap the right talent and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, regardless of where such talent is located.

A ManpowerGroup press release Maximize Diverse Talent Sources to Tackle Skills Mismatch notes: CEOs expect chief human resources officers (CHROs) to be the organization’s “economists”, providing market intelligence on talent supply and demand. CHROs must align workforce strategy with business strategy through planned workforce allocation that includes engaging and developing existing talent, as well as seeking out future talent sources.

Are CHROs willing to try on an Economist’s hat, too?

Brian Carvalho

Follow The Leaders

Parag and Poornima Pandey are our friends. They are also co-founders of Raining Grey, a firm that works with organisations to resolve and move forward with grey hr and greying workforce issues. Between the two of them, they have worked with the HR teams of Accenture, Hindustan Unilever, E&Y, Asian Paints and ITC.

Flexi-working embraces three broad areas, Parag says. The 2Ws and 1H: When to work? Or, flexi -time arrangements; Where to work from? Or, work from home and telecommute arrangements; and finally How much to work? Or, part time and job share arrangements. While many organizations are more or less open to the first two, there’s the odd bit of resistance that does creep in. (Read Richard Branson wading into the debate on remote working).

However, deciding the quantum of work (the H as in how much), seems to open up a pandora’s box. Parag thinks this happens because there is more ‘skin off the back’ of both employees and organizations in this arrangement. There is no one right answer, believe Parag and Poornima. It’s really about individuals knowing what they want and the life choices they make. And, about organizations that are willing to respect these choices and see them as beneficial for their businesses. Krow agrees with this wholeheartedly.

Industry leaders like Hindustan Unilever, a Krow customer, have embraced flexi-work arrangements in the truest sense, helping “employees successfully integrate their work and home lives / passion while continuing to meet the needs of the business.”

(Watch a Hindustan Unilever senior executive speak about his flexi-work experience here).

Sometimes go where the big fish go

If Hindustan Unilever thinks flexi is a great idea, nothing should stop the rest from being more supportive, should it?

Brian Carvalho

Ps. You can check Raining Grey’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/itsraininggrey

 

Is flexi working for real?

So, we keep saying that flexi work is the future and is the paradigm shifter in the relationship between man and work.

And we do that so much that sometimes, self critically, we ask the question….”Are we the only admirers of our business model? Is what we are saying relevant only to a niche audience? ( I was meeting a recruiter the other day who pronounced niche as nishay, proudly:)) Are we in danger of becoming hard proponents of the Pygmalion effect?  Are we narcissists?

Turns out our fears are unfounded. The world is indeed going flexi.

So says a survey by Regus. Find it here.

And since you may not be into clicking, eat this….56% of responded they would turn down a job that did not offer flexi work.

That’s more than 50%. In simple terms that’s called a majority. A phenomena that decides our political fate in Parliament.

So, just to come back, Krow is in the right place at the right time.

Flexi is your key to living a fuller life.

 

Balance

A Balanced Life

A spouse, a parent, a friend, a sibling, a colleague, a member of civil society…weren’t we all meant to fulfil a number of roles? Very often though, our jobs and our ambitions seem to override everything else. Before we know it, it seems life has passed us by, giving us a one-dimensional personality that is a double-edged sword: while on the one hand, giving us a sense of identity, it also limits us from being all that we can be and doing all that we can do.

To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, being successful is about having a balance of success stories across the many areas of our lives.

I’d like to use these coming months to achieve a sense of equilibrium in everything I do. And, my wish for you is the same. I hope we are all able to bring our rich talents, our energy, our creativity and our skills together to build better families, better workplaces, and a better society for us to lead lives that are both enriched and enriching.

Going flexi, seems like one way to go about doing this :-)

Brian Carvalho

Ps. Here’s an interesting take by Dr. Sanjay Jain on achieving balance in your life. Dr. Jain, known as the “Balance Guy,” is out with a new book, Optimal Living 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life, in February 2014.

Gone flexi– Part I

It’s been 15 days since I entered the wonderful and sometimes weird, world of flexi-work. Here’s my take on the journey so far…

Going flexi seems to have given me greater control of my work-life – without feeling like I am hostage to employers. When you are full-time, employers often give you impression they own you just because they are paying your salary. With flexi-work, I do stuff that I can accomplish in the time that I have set aside for ‘work’ – before moving onto other aspects of my life. Now I am able to sing, jam, run, blog, meet people, horse around with my kids, AND work – with greater zest than before.

Since flexi-work is relatively new, start-ups of various hues are more open to the concept. I get to meet all sorts of interesting companies and people and can opt for projects that challenge me and push me beyond my comfort zone.

When one is a full-time employee, trying different things is often limited by what your boss / company feels you can do. But things are different when you go flexi. Never done digital marketing before, but want to give it a crack? Don’t worry, there’s someone out there willing to give you a chance. Want to try your hand at doing a voice over, or being a compère? Sure, go ahead. And, there’s no need to jump through hoops for months on end or have multiple discussions with HR because they feel you are not being ‘focused’ just because you want to try something else! .

So, flexi’s been pretty good so far. Will update you on my flexi journey as I go along.

Brian Carvalho

Why is the world not flexi working?

 
Fact is that a vast part of humanity looks at work as a means to an end. Ends such as EMIs, the education of their children and a retirement kitty that they can make use of as they look back at their lives. No more no less.
 
And yet this same population will spend inordinate amounts of time at work- worrying, bothering, stressing, complying, chiding. cussing and mulling their way through jobs that they do not like, resulting in a slow but sure stultification
 
2 million Americans voluntarily leave their jobs every month (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
74% of people would today consider finding a new job
32% of employees are looking for a new job
Only 47.3 percent of currently employed Americans are satisfied with their position (Conference Board)
The majority of American employees are disengaged from their work (Gallup)
 
It seems counterintuitive that employed people do not like their jobs and yet will NOT want to look for a new job. It does not make sense.
 
Businesses like Krow, are built for people that are looking at an alternative to work.
 
Drivers to choose flexi work may be different as is explained in another post. The help you need is at hand.
 
It just requires you to look at work differently. And Krow.
 
Equally, we should be doing a better job of getting through to our target markets on the seeker and the company side.
 
Watch this space, we are launching multiple programs internally to do just that.

Employee Loyalty: A phrase on the path to Extinction

Is longevity a measure of loyalty?

We friends decided to go out of Bangalore for the weekend. We took a road trip to Kerala so that we can be flexible on where we stop, where we eat and where we stay. The trip was with 4 senior folks of a leading MNCs and here I was an Entrepreneur as an odd man in the group (or should I say the brightest among the herd :) ), trying my best to get them out of office gossip and get them to enjoy the drive and picturesque  journey. The topic mostly revolved around if they should stay or move out of their job without having any valid reason but just that they had spent about 6-7 years each with the current employer.

One thing I have realized is the fact that there is no such thing as “Employee loyalty”. The sentiment amongst the group was “How can I spend my days doing work that doesn’t mean anything to me or in a company who I don’t care for?”

Employee Loyalty

So we had a debate and concluded that the way to make your work more meaningful is to be more loyal. This doesn’t mean you can’t quit in three months. It means that you have to be loyal while you are there”. And in this way, the idea of workplace loyalty is changing: Loyalty is not dead, but you have to ask yourself, what are you loyal to?

If loyalty is defined as being faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution or product, then there is definitely a certain amount of infidelity in the workplace these days.

Many employees are clearly feeling disconnected from their work. Among the reasons cited for this: companies laying off huge sets of their employees with little regard for loyalty or length of service; shaving away of benefits, training and promotions for those who remain; and a generation of young Entrepreneurial mindset individual (ages 25 to 35) who have a different set of expectations about their careers, including the need to “be their own brand,” wherever it takes them. In a nomadic world, one of the casualties is a decreasing sense of commitment to the organisation.

In such a scenario, why are organizations trying to force people to stay and work years with them. Isn’t it counter productive to both people and organization in the long haul? Isn’t it stressful to both of them? Is there an alternative to full time jobs?

At Krow, these are some of the questions we are trying to answer every day and build a community which views at work differently. Don’t live with the myth that you will be loyal or get loyalty from others, adopt Krow – It is the future of work.

Flexibility – find your own definition

One wonders if there can be a common definition for Flexi

While, it means different things to different people. And it is a “Different look at Work”. We have tried to define flexibility in a way where one of your definitions might fit into the versions below:

Location Flexibility

Ability to work from Home or another location some or all of the time

Schedule Flexibility

  • Ability to take time off during the workday occasionally for family duties
  • Own Start and End Times
  • Split shifts to take care of personal stuff

Career Flexibility

  • Ability to move from Full time to part time and then back again later without a loss of status
  • Return to work Gradually after childbirth or adoption
  • Career Breaks for learning new skills

Decision Flexibility

  • Choose the company you want to work with
  • Decide on how much you should be paid for your skills

At Krow, our version of Flexibility is ‘All of the above’. Our propaganda to Flexi-worker is “Work for who you want, where you want, how you want and when you want.

So does this mean chaos method of delivery for Employer?

The unsaid primary skill in the individual demands a predictable way of delivery while all the parameters are flexible. It has to be Consistent and Constant else the purpose of flexibility will be defeated.

Research says that Productivity from a Flexi-worker will always be higher because of the mental ease the resource is put into. The distractions in a full time job are much higher than a Flexi-job. Especially if you are in a Metropolitan city that has bad traffic woes and horrible public transport system, it is even more.

Plus the business benefits shown below are big enough that some of the contractual limitations can be neglected

  • Employees are happier and healthier
  • Flexibility is key recruitment and retention tool
  • Helps bottom line

In summary, work is something you do and not a place you go to. This is a fundamental shift to an outcome-based culture from attendance culture.

The AMP principle

elephant tea party 1

 

Dan Pink, that major thinker on human potential, makes the point succinctly in this really cool TED talk.

His definition goes way beyond the standard territory of JDs, KRAs, KPIs, goals etc.  It does not judge, it does not punish, it does not control but it does make you think. Why the hell do we work? Some say money, some say EMI, some say friends but Dan gets behind the riff raff and talks about the magical three terms.

They are called Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Or AMP

Autonomy is the urge to direct our own lives.

Mastery is the desire to get better and better at something that matters

Purpose is the yearning to do what we so in the service of something larger than ourselves.

And the true flexi worker works on the AMP principle for the most part, especially if he or she has gone flexi by choice.

Serious stuff, but nice stuff.

 

(pic courtesy, Jai Menon)