Can you really put someone into a leadership role at a major company if they intend to work only, say, 20 or 30 hours a week?
Jody Miller, the cofounder and CEO of Business Talent Group, believes it’s not only possible; it’s the smart thing to do. This is a way of “expanding your labor market” and “allowing you to hire people who are fantastic” but just don’t want to grind for 60 or 70 hours a week, she says.
A big key, Miller explains, is designing jobs differently, so that you split up what needs to be accomplished among several senior people.
If this sounds “namby–pamby,” Miller told me on the latest episode of my podcast, The Bottom Line, it’s anything but. “The truth of the matter is, you have to be more rigorous, more clear about what work really needs to be done, how long it’s going to take, and who needs to do it,” she says.
Miller acknowledges that such an arrangement comes with costs: “You have more human beings to manage. . . . There is a communication issue. There is a little bit of a double-teaming issue.” But she maintains that the “efficiency and productivity and ultimate satisfaction of a workforce that includes people who have the choice of how much they want to work just far outweighs the other factors.”
You can listen to my entire interview with Miller here, as well as Marty Goldensohn reporting on portable benefits aimed at helping the growing ranks of gig workers, and Sandra Smith exploring why many of those seeking work in poor African American communities struggle to get job referrals from family and friends: