You have to have been hiding from the news or social media not to have heard of Uber, the car service where all the drivers are independent contractors. That model of providing a service is becoming more widespread and becoming an increasingly popular way of working for many people, across three generations. I wonder if this can extend to a larger segment of business. I wonder if we can ever see a form of Uber HR.
Is Uber HR in our future?
Current businesses operating under this model include the car services Uber and Lyft. TaskRabbit is a business where people can run errands or do other odd jobs. AirBnB allows you to rent your available apartment or condo. This is all part of a growing segment called micro-entrepreneurship or micropreneurs. To be honest, none of these things are really new. Entrepreneurs have been doing this stuff for a long time. People who are used by TaskRabbit used to be called a “handyman.” People who wanted to give people rides would start a small cab company or a limo service. The difference is that people today don’t create companies around their activities as did many in the past.
I will use myself as an example. In 1991, when I went out on my own, I established a “company” in order to offer my consulting services to the business community. There was no support organization to join, just books on becoming an independent consultant. Today there are organizations, like Peers.org, Freelancers Union and eCEOs, which act as hosts or provide platforms for the independent to get “gigs”, much like Uber provides the platform for people who drive. Uber drivers do not solicit business, they take assignments. The consulting business now has the beginnings of such a model. Couldn’t such a model be applied to human resources work?
Does HR need to be fulltime?
More and more HR work is being outsourced. Core HR is becoming a smaller function in many organizations. Why wouldn’t an “Uber” model work for getting HR help when needed? Rather than having to search through multiple consultants why not use “Uber HR” (for lack of a better name) where you can call and express a need and an available HR professional shows up at your door. Automated artificial intelligence will facilitate the day-to-day work getting done so why have fulltime staff on hand when not really needed? Or is HR so critical to successfully running an organization that fulltime professionals are needed because they understand the people and the organization and insure they work in a lock-step manner to make sure the company and employees work efficiently and effectively for each other? Could SHRM morph into an Uber type of organization providing “HR gigs” to its membership?
Let me know your point of view on this issue. As an HR professional would you work in such a “gig” economy? As a business owner would you hire HR on such a contingency basis? Could this be the future of HR?