Future Friday: Time-sharing employees

by Michael Haberman on May 16, 2014 · 1 comment


In the future you may have to reserve the time of workers.

In the future you may have to reserve the time of workers.

I read an interesting article on LinkedIn, written by Anthony Onesto, about a new relationship between employees and employers. He likened it to time-sharing. I think he may be on to something.

Professions not companies

Like Onesto many of us have had parents who spent long periods of employment at one employer. Just recently I heard two stories of two different companies and two different employees, both of whom had just retired after more than 45 years with their company. Forty-five years from now we will not be hearing any such story. Onesta suggests that we won’t be reading about many companies that have employees at all. He says that many employers may operate on a system not too dissimilar to time-sharing.

For those of you not familiar with the concept of time-sharing (where have you been and how did you get so lucky) it is buying a time period in a vacation property. Depending on how much you pay will determine what time of the year you will have a place to vacation. Onesto sees future employment working in a similar manner. He says “the idea is a “one to many” relationship. There are many folks, experts in their area (accounting, HR, sales, marketing), who are working for multiple companies. In most cases, the companies are not in competition, so there are no conflicts. I call this “Employee Sharing” or “Work Sharing”. The concept is similar to “time-sharing”. In the same way people time-share vacation locations, companies will soon employee share.”

Professional aggregations

The concept is a company needs to have an “employee” with a special set of skills but for just a limited time. Rather than hiring that person they contract to have the individual work for them for a certain amount of time. It is not temp work because they are buying that person’s effort for the same time every year. Just as you sign up for a timeshare and reserve a certain week for the next 10 years. Other companies also buy a piece of that person’s time at different times of the year. They end up with pretty steady employment and the companies have limited expense associated with that specialty. As Onesto said “The key is to aggregate all of these professionals in one place, a website, where a company can go and look at profiles/expertise, time available and lock in that specific time (and of course rate). You could get one rate from a company that has the need and would pay a higher rate, than other companies that could afford to wait and pay during an open time.” This type of aggregation provides a company many different choices of specialists, including workers in other countries.

Who is the aggregator?

Onesto suggested that aggregation would work somewhat like a temp company, but not necessarily. I see an opportunity for an entrepreneur or even a professional association taking on this role. Imagine SHRM with its membership offering HR professionals in specialty areas. Need a compensation specialist to help determine salary rates but not sure what you would do with them the rest of the year? Reserve a specialist to help you with that at that time of year for the next 10 years rather than hiring a consultant. The aggregator would help set rates and might even collect the money or at least manage the billing arrangements.

Given the increasing use of contingency workers and the ever dying loyalty of both employees and employers this method might hold some attraction for businesses in the future. Would it work for you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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