Managing Nontraditional Workers: A Lesson From Drucker

From my edition of The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done comes this lesson on managing nontraditional workers. With the increasing use of nontraditional workers, such as part-timers, temporaries, early retirees, freelancers, outsourced workers, and independent contractors the major challenge to management in today’s corporations is to make sure they are productive. They may not be managed in traditional ways or by traditional methods. In fact they may not be managed at all. What management needs to focus on is NOT the activity of management but the outcomes produced by these workers.

To me this means a focus on measurement and results. For many managers this requires an adjustment in their “normal” means of management. Counting heads does not cut it anymore. Measuring results, agreed upon by both parties, is what counts.

So if you are using non-traditional workers what accountabiltiy do you have built into the management of their efforts? This is especially critical if you are using INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS. With the USDOL and IRS watching these relationships with an eagle eye you need to make sure you follow the rules.

It never ceases to amaze me how good Drucker was in his insights. This thought about nontraditional workers was published in 2002 in Managing in the Next Society, which was a collection from previously published articles, yet it remains as relevant today as it was when first published.

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