If you're following this blog regularly, then you know I haven't posted in a while. I've been in transition as I move to Minneapolis, Minnesota and take up residence. And yet, here I am, from Minneapolis, writing this blog. I'm paid to write this blog; it's part of my job description.
"So how does that work?", you may ask. Well, I am continuing to work for Volunteer Vancouver on contract, remotely. And pretty part-time. Which leads me to today's topic of buses, employment and work. At Volunteer Vancouver we are very dedicated to getting the "right people on the bus", as Jim Collins tell us. For our organization to work at its highest level, we know that it is the people that make that happen. And so we focus first on the people, before worrying too much about what those people will be doing exactly.
Each time an employee leaves Volunteer Vancouver, we essentially reshuffle the deck. The remaining employees have the opportunity to discuss what projects and roles are now open, and if any are a good fit for their interests or skills. When that process is done, we tend to have an entirely new position to post on job boards. And when the applicants come in, it's as much about "fit" as about having the skills for that particular role. Because another reshuffle is always conceivable now or down the line, for the right person.
And so, as I change my relationship with Volunteer Vancouver, the reshuffle resulted in some work that still made sense for me. And so here I am. My employment relationship has changed, but I am still contributing to the fulfillment of Volunteer Vancouver's mission. And while I still carry out parts of my original job description, another contract employee - local in Vancouver - will join the team to pick up the remainder of my "old" job. Having that role as a part-time contractor also has the added bonus of giving Volunteer Vancouver and the new employee a chance to test each other out - to see if a more full-time role is appropriate at the next reshuffle.
The idea of different ways of doing our work is certainly not new. And with the current popular conversation of generational differences in the workplace, we know that different generations need and want different things from their work experiences. I'm on the tail end of Gen X, and I still like a workplace and can manage traditional hierarchy. My younger colleagues, though, may be more interested in the flexibility of part-time contract work or project-based roles.
The organizations that can offer flexibility in work options are going to be the organizations that have the pick of the available employees. And that flexibility will require different ways of supervising employees, excellent access to and use of technology (like used at the Framework Foundation and mentioned in their guest blog) and perhaps even different models of leadership. As we move forward as a sector, these are the aspects of our workplaces we should prioritize. If Volunteer Vancouver didn't do that, my institutional knowledge and ability to transition in my replacement would be long, long gone. All the way to Minnesota.