Skills, Not Job Descriptions

The gig economy is continuing, but facing some serious headwinds. I won't get into the plusses and minuses of gig work; instead, I want to discuss what the corporate world, managers in particular, should learn from it.

Gig workers offer one main advantage - I can hire them to save me time and/or give me an expertise I don't already have. That benefits me and that benefits the gig worker (ideally - let's not get into how companies exploit them).


What can managers learn? The idea of skill-based project work, not job descriptions. I've been clear on my hatred for job descriptions - one reason being how they limit how we think. Job descriptions create boxes around things that limit our ability to grow. It limits the ability of the company to be innovative. It hurts workers.


As managers, start to think about skills that people have - not their job description. Then think how that skill can be used in other areas. For example, my wife is an admin at a school. Call it bias, but she is amazing at what she does. Not because she excels at the things on her job description, but because she knows how to use her skills in innovative ways. She may focus on an admin task of the software program that is part of her job description - but she also has the ability to learn how to use software is more efficient ways. She uses her skills to make things better, even when outside of her actual job description.


What skills do your people have and how can they use those skills in different ways or on different projects.