Have you ever considered sharing your staff?

January 29th, 2015

I recently entered the sharing economy and have set up my own business which helps owners monetise the items lying idle in the home by lending these out to people in the local community via a sharing website. Having spent my entire career working for large corporates, it also got me thinking about whether companies could share their employees.

At this point I am sure you are thinking of the legal and HR ramifications surrounding this idea but hear me out. This concept already happens in the football industry when clubs invest in players for their own benefit but also loan them out to other clubs. It provides the following benefits:

  • For the owning club – they keep their players fresh by giving them the game time that they cannot currently provide themselves and at the same time the receiving club covers their wages.
  • For the receiving club – they receive a player that is often playing at a higher level club and can bring some new ideas to improve their team.
  • For the player – they keep fit, become more adaptable as they mix with a new team and potentially bring valuable ideas back when they return to their owning club.

I see this as a win win win for all parties.

So how could this work in the corporate world?

Imagine a situation when you have too many staff members for your current workload, this could place a strain on your cashflow, whereas another organisation might be going through a busy period and could do with more hands on deck for a short period of time. Why couldn’t organisations loan out employees in the same way football clubs loan their players?

Naturally you wouldn’t want to lend out your staff to key competitors but consider this, why couldn’t an organisation in the retail sector lend out a staff member to a manufacturing firm or vice versa? Or even a bank lending out their employees free for 6 months to their customers to help them grow.

Just imagine what this could do for your staff, you may have a key individual that is yearning for a new challenge in your business but you have nothing to offer them currently and you run the risk of losing them as they become demotivated. Why not loan them out, give them a fresh challenge, get their wages covered by someone else and then learn from what they can bring back to your organisation.

In my previous industry, the leasing sector, the word innovation was mentioned a lot but not much has changed in the last 20 years. Could this be the way to inject some new ideas?

The other day I listened to a podcast about McLaren setting up a consultancy operation to help other organisations improve efficiencies in their business. Are the businesses that have used McLarens’ skills in the motorsport industry? No, far from it, they were in several other sectors including retail and healthcare, McClaren shared their knowledge with others.

The sharing economy, also known as collaborative consumption, is growing globally; people and businesses are lending items that they are not using. Take a look at AirBnB, Zipcar, oh and borroclub (shameless plug).

So could the sharing economy have a place in the corporate world too?

I believe it could just work.

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