LEAD: What are the main reasons for the large increase in freelancers, self-employed and gig and crowd workers as alternative forms of work?
Falko Kremp: There is one essential reason: the desire to be free. Digitization allows people to freely choose the form, space and time of their work. 9-to-5 in the stuffy open-plan office is replaced by flexible working hours in changing workspaces.
LEAD: What are the challenges of this increase?
Kremp: Of course, workers’ rights that have been won over centuries must not fall by the wayside in times of digital work. The answers that unions and many politicians give are backward-looking, mourn the “good old days” and therefore fall short. New forms of work related to self-employment and business start-ups must finally be equated with both regulatory and socially classically employed work.
LEAD: What does this development mean for executives?
Kremp: Leaders with HR responsibilities need to be aware of both the hiring and day-to-day management of the new world of work and support flexibilization rather than hindering it. Allowing an employee home office or the ability to work remotely for extended periods of time does not prevent them, but rather often encourages employee engagement and retention.
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LEAD: How will the market evolve over the next few years?
Kremp: The labor market is in a state of flux, roughly where trade was at the end of the 1990s: Amazon had just gone public and decided to be more than a bookseller. Barnes & Nobles was still a big deal – and, well, the rest is history. The labor market will digitize just as much as the digital product market.
LEAD: Will not human resources (HR) become superfluous anytime soon due to the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Technology and Robotics?
Kremp: No, human creativity and empathy will always be in demand. But human core competencies will merge with new technologies and make many jobs superfluous. But also let new ones arise. The question will be in the future: what can I do better than an algorithm?
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LEAD: How important is the improvement of framework conditions that characterize the daily work of employees? Why invest in this area?
Kremp: We are currently in a ten-year economic upswing with enormously low unemployment rates. Businesses are currently finding it difficult to find qualified personnel, especially in the field of digital technology.
Whoever does not improve the conditions of employment, shoots himself offside. Not only against direct competition, but also against new forms of work, such as freelancing.
LEAD: Will the transition from hierarchies to cross-functional teams prevail and why?
Kremp: Hierarchies are 20th century and date from a time when information was still reserved for a select few. In the information age, people are interested in transparency and participation and are increasingly putting it through.
This is reflected not least in the emergence of decentralized technologies such as Blockchain. A prominent application in this area, the Bitcoin, has a market value of $ 170 billion as of July 2019 and is organized entirely decentralized by a variety of people non-hierarchically.
This market value corresponds to approximately 8% of Deutsche Bank’s market value, which is managed centrally and hierarchically from Frankfurt. The question is, how much longer.
LEAD: What is the recruiting of the future?
Kremp: Recruiters need to use new technologies to find the best talent in the world, as well as the best fit between job and candidate.
Flexible working methods such as freelancing are becoming more and more important in the “personal mix”. Full-time jobs will lose more and more value as labor markets become more flexible as they are expensive for companies and increasingly hateful for workers.
LEAD: What’s the problem with HR Cloud and how could you solve it?
Kremp: The loss of importance of institutions does not stop at traditional educational institutions like the university. However, universities are also contributing to this by watering down their brands, for example through MOOCs.
Beneficiaries of this development are online platforms such as YouTube, where knowledge is democratised and made available globally and at low cost. In the future, it will be less about one or two prestigious titles on the CV, but more about demonstrable skills that are actually demonstrable thanks to digital technologies.
Why it pays off to swim against the tide and in which pools five German cities can prove themselves: an overview in the current LEAD Bookazine 2/2019!