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Diane Mulcahy was recently interviewed for an article in Vogue Business magazine. The topic — should fashion freelancers unionise?

The Covid-19 crisis has brought to light the lack of protection of freelancers and independent workers in the UK and US, forcing governments to adjust their policies to include them in income support schemes and sick leave.

The crisis has also accentuated solidarity and camaraderie between fashion freelance workers, who have started to think about unionisation and self-organising.

While organisations lobbying the government for the fashion sector and protecting freelancers exist, some think a formal protecting body specifically dedicated to fashion independent workers is needed to address industry-specific issues.

Patrick Clark (pictured above), a self-employed fashion stylist and writer based in Paris, has gone six weeks with no work during the global pandemic, as jobs were cancelled as soon as the lockdown was announced in France on 17 March. Clark is one of many freelance fashion workers, including stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists and models, who have suddenly lost their sources of income since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the world, forcing countries to enact lockdowns and strict social distancing measures that have made fashion shoots and productions impossible.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • Present and future representation
  • Organisation through camaraderie

 

Read the full article, Should Fashion Freelancers Unionize, on VogueBusiness.com.

 

 

As the world begins to realize there will be no return to normal, Diane Mulcahy shares an article that explores the need to rethink the future of work.

Work was ripe for disruption long before 2020. The fundamental structure of work, and the ways we work, haven’t kept pace with technology, with corporate needs to access the right talent at the right time, or with workers’ preferences for greater flexibility and control.

Now that it’s been disrupted – now that how and where and when we work has all fundamentally changed – we aren’t likely to revert to the way we used to work. There is no return to normal.

Abandoning the idea that we’re going back, and backwards, to our old working lives opens up a whole new set of possibilities and opportunities about ways to move forward. It offers us the chance to rethink what work will look like, not return to what it was.

Rethinking Work

Companies have traditionally organized the work they need to get done into full-time jobs, which they then fill with full-time employees. Full-time jobs aren’t going away, but they are being supplemented by a more flexible, dynamic approach to structuring work into projects, assignments, and tasks.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Breaking jobs into more precise and specific units
  • Moving past the idea of an office-based workplace
  • Workforce as a service (WaaS)

 

Read the full article, We Need to Rethink Normal, Not Return to It, on ADP.com.

 

 

Diane Mulcahy was recently interviewed on the Ideas X People podcast where she discusses the gig economy and how to use it to your advantage.

I actually created the MBA class on the gig economy at Babson College about seven years ago, and at the time, the gig economy was not even a thing that people talked about or even were aware of. When people I used to tell people the name of the course, they would ask me if I was teaching in computer science, because they thought it was related to gigabytes. So that shows you how nascent the ideas were at the time. But as I taught the class and as the class evolved, in terms of topics, with my students, I decided to pull it all together into a book, and write the book.

‘Was that something that you were specifically interested in, or was it something that you saw there was a demand for and thought, ‘why not exploit it?’

‘I think it was both. Ever since I started working, from my first job out of college, I had a sense and a desire that I wanted to work differently, and that people in general should be able to work differently. So that was part of it. And then, part of it was, just noticing that even among my students, you know, there was a demand for these ideas and for this alternative to traditional employment.’

 

Key points discussed include:

  • What exactly the gig economy is and why it has come to be
  • Why the gig economy could actually be better than our current structure of work
  • The 3 Big takeaways from Diane’s book

 

Listen to the full podcast, The Gig Economy. A Concise Overview On What It Is & How To Thrive In It, on Ideas X People. 

 

 

Diane Mulcahy recently published an article on ADP.com that explains how companies can grow their contingent workforce and why they should.

Shifts in corporate supply and demand as a result of the global health event, and the halt of business travel have led to an increase in contingent workers for many companies. Independent workers give businesses more flexibility to staff up and down as the market environment changes, and to access the precise skills, expertise, and experience where and when they need it.

The need for the resiliency and flexibility that contingent workers provide is only increasing. There is still much uncertainty around the pace and stability of re-opening in this new normal. Companies that plan to “level up” and grow their contingent workforce as the economy re-opens can benefit from taking the following steps:

Concentrate Contingent Workforce Management

I was working with the senior management team of a Fortune 1000 company to implement better management practices for their independent workers. One problem they had was the “rogue” hiring of contingent workers across the company. Individual managers were hiring independent contractors for projects and tasks that fell within the budget limits they could manage without additional oversight. As a result, the senior management team had no visibility – and no way to manage, track, or control – the number of independent workers, or how much the company was spending on them.

A better approach is to concentrate oversight and management of contingent workers within your talent group. Creating a “one stop shop” for managers to access preferred workers, standard contracts and onboarding materials, and process invoices and payments makes it more efficient for hiring managers to bring on and manage contingent workers. It also allows the company to exercise control over cost and quality as well as how and where they are being deployed.

 

Additional steps in this article include:

  • Managing your brand talent
  • Mitigating risks of contingent workers
  • The continuity and growth of institutional knowledge

 

Read the full article, Leveling Up Your Contingent Workforce, on the ADP website.

 

 

In this article for WorkMarket, Diane Mulcahy explains why gig workers may provide the solution you need to adapt to the current pandemic and changing business environment.

The world, the economic environment, and the demands placed on your company are all changing in unexpected ways. The difference between succeeding or failing to manage through a crisis can depend on your ability to add staff to critical functions, and access the exact skills and experience needed to respond to a changed business environment.

Gig workers can help your company weather this crisis by providing flexibility and resilience to your workforce. Maybe you need a skilled writer, blogger or technician to move a project forward or be “on the ground” in a specific geographic market. By using independent workers, you can respond to changing demands for specific skills, experience, or expertise, when and where you need them.

Independent workers bring other benefits to companies: they can increase the productivity of the workforce and support a high-performance culture. Companies that embrace the Gig Economy – made up of consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, and on-demand workers – will have a competitive advantage, in both good times and bad, over companies that don’t.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Accessing talent
  • Increasing productivity
  • Supporting a high-performance culture

 

Read the full article, How Gig Workers Can Help Your Company Weather the Storm, on the WorkMarket website.

 

 

Diane Mulcahy explains why the current model of the office worker is difficult to change despite the evidence of increased productivity from the remote worker.

No one expected (or wanted) remote work to scale because of a virus and subsequent global pandemic. But, here we are. 

The battle for remote work has been ongoing. Employees want the choice and flexibility to work outside the office at least some of the time, but many companies and even more managers resist it. Will this short-term (at minimum) and large-scale experiment in remote work change that?

It’s hard to argue any other outcome. Once companies have the processes and tools in place, and the results of weeks, or even months, of remote working, it will be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. 

That’s a good thing. The notion of mandatory daily employee attendance in the office is already obsolete. Not one – not one! – study suggests that working in an office eight hours a day, five days a week maximizes employee productivity, satisfaction, or performance. In fact, any data that exists on work in an office reveals that most employees aren’t engaged, waste a lot of time in the office not working, and that employee underperformance is a persistent problem, despite the omnipresence of management. Even worse, the direct costs of maintaining the traditional office-based workplace are high. CBRE estimates that the typical company in the U.S. spends upward of $12,000 per employee per year for office space. It’s hard to find a return-on-investment case for office space, and much harder still to find any company that makes a compelling one.

 

Included in this article:

  • Links to studies on remote workers
  • Key drivers of daily office attendance
  • Quality of work

 

Read the full article, Remote Work Is The New Norm. Will It Last?, on the Forbes website.

 

 

Diane Mulcahy provides valuable questions to help discern the compatibility of an investor before accepting funds for your next project. 

In the race to get the check in hand, most entrepreneurs don’t do in-depth due diligence — or any due diligence — on the venture capital (VC) firms they pitch. Founding teams eager to raise capital to grow their companies enter into long-term partnerships with VC firms they don’t know well. It’s a risky strategy that can leave startup CEOs in mis-aligned partnerships with unrealistic expectations.

 

The four questions covered in depth are:

  • What is the VC’s track record?
  • How much money is the VC personally investing?
  • How big is the VC fund?
  • Do you have a list of portfolio company CEOs?

 

Read the full article, Don’t Take Money from VCs Until You’ve Asked 4 Questions, on the Harvard Business Review.

 

 

Diane Mulcahy interviews Krystal Hicks to find out why some companies don’t hire remote employees, and how the Gig Economy has shifted the power balance between employers and employees.

 

Krystal Hicks is the founder of JOBTALK, a company that grew out of her side gig providing talent, recruiting, and job-hunting advice to companies and individuals. Before going out on her own, she managed U.S. Talent Acquisition for the Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, and was the former Director of Career Services at the University of New Hampshire.

 

Points they discuss include:

 

  1. Leaders lacking trust
  2. Managerial Darwinism
  3. The power balance between employers and employees
  4. Understanding what employees want

 

Read the full article, Women In The Gig Economy: Krystal Hicks On Why Companies Don’t Trust Their Employees, on the Forbes Inc. website.