26 mins read time

On this episode of the Virtual Frontier, we’re very excited to talk to Jacob Morgan. Jacob is the founder of the Future of Work University as well as an author, speaker and podcaster.

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Full episode transcript below:

Chris:

  • Hello and welcome to the Virtual Frontier! The podcast about virtual teams created by a virtual team. I’m Chris and I’m part of the team here at FlashHub. On today’s episode, we have Jacob Morgan. Jacob is the founder of The Future of Work University, as well as the speaker, author and podcaster. He spends a lot of time talking about remote teams, virtual teams and the future of work. So, here is the episode 4 of the Virtual Frontier, featuring our guest Jacob Morgan.

Manuel:

  • Hi Jacob, thanks for having you on our show. I am especially proud to have you here on the show, especially because I watched your TED Talks and some other shows and they inspired me really to change how we work in our organization. And I am pretty happy to have you here on the show and hear your opinions and your experience – so, just introduce yourself to the audience.

Jacob:

  • Well first, thank you for having me. I’m glad some of the stuff I’m doing is inspiring people and getting them to think differently about work. So, a little bit about me. I’m an author, speaker and futurist. I received my professional certification and foresight from the University of Houston. And for the last 12, 13 years I have been working for myself and writing books, speaking at conferences and really just trying to help organizations figure out how do we create places where employees actually want to show up to work. So, I focus on employee experience, I focus on the future of work and the future of leadership – those are kind of the three domain areas that I focus on and a lot of my time is spent between a couple of areas:
  • Speaking – so, I speak at around 40-50 conferences a year
  • Writing books
  • I have my own podcast
  • I create videos on YouTube and
  • I have something called The Future of Work University – which is a platform that I created to provide educational course and training materials on various themes related to the future of work.
  • So, that’s pretty much me.

Manuel:

  • Okay. Thank you, very interesting. So, what is your passion and why did you start to talk about employee experience and what is it?

Jacob:

  • Well I got into this because I had bad jobs working for other people.

Manuel (laughs):

  • Who didn’t?

Jacob:

  • So, yeah – exactly. So, I worked hard in college I graduated with honors I got a dual degree in Economics and Psychology and my on first job at a college – the CEO made me go get him coffee so I thought: “This is why I worked so hard in school – to get this guy a coffee?!”. And that was one of the last full time jobs I had working for anybody. And ever since then I was just really interested in how do we create organizations that don’t suck. How do we create companies for employees that don’t go through what I went through and so that’s what I’ve been focusing on for the last 12, 13 years.

Manuel:

  • And how did it start? I mean you had a job and then you quit your job and became a freelancer or how was it?

Jacob:

  • Yeah – pretty much. I mean at the time I was doing online marketing work, search engine optimization, that sort of stuff. And while I had a full time job I created a blog, I started to get active on social media and I tried to find jobs on Craigslist – just so I can have my own practice that I was building. And eventually got to the point where the money that I was making through my own clients was equal to or more than what I was making through a full time job. The I decided that I don’t need this full time job anymore – I’m already making enough to cover my expenses and pay my bills. So, I quit my full time job and went all in into working for myself. And like I said it started with online marketing, with social media consulting, search engine optimization and then through the 12-13 years it evolved into collaboration and future of work employee experience and leadership. The topics and the themes changed as I saw kind of my interest change, my passions change and kind of the market change.

Manuel:

  • Okay. And if you compare your experience as a full time employee in a company in an organization to the experience of a freelancer – how is it different?

Jacob:

  • Well, I like that I pick my own hours, I pick my own project,s I pick my own – I mean I’m my own boss. So, I have a very hard boss that I work for.

Manuel:

(laughs)

Jacob:

  • I don’t have an income ceiling. So, you know it’s kind of up to me and you’re building something for yourself instead of building something for other people. So, I mean all those things are huge benefits for me, my quality of life I think is much higher. And I just love that flexibility and working and doing things that I want to do.

Manuel:

  • And why do you think not everyone is doing that? I mean it sounds great – you are free, you can be where you want. What prevents people from doing that?

Jacob:

  • Well it’s it’s hard to build a business. I mean it’s hard to – you know if everybody can go out and get clients tomorrow and make as much as they’re making through full time jobs they would do it. But the reality is – it’s hard. I mean it’s hard to find clients. It’s hard to build these relationships. It’s hard to generate income for yourself. Sometimes you might have bad months or bad quarters or even a bad year. And so you might have to deal with a lot of stress a lot of kind of emotions. I think it depends on your life stage, right. I mean when I went off on my own I was single, I wasn’t married, didn’t have a mortgage – so, I didn’t need to make a lot of money. If I had to do something like that now it would be much harder, because I’m married, I have a child, I have a mortgage, I have a car payment. So, it probably wouldn’t have been as conducive as it is now. And I think the last thing is that a lot of people – when you go off on your own you have to do a lot of the things that you didn’t like – create invoices, create proposals, build a website – so, it doesn’t matter if you’re really good at – I don’t know let’s say you’re consulting on marketing for example, you’re consulting on customer service, just because you’re good at that one domain area doesn’t mean you that’s going to be enough for you to drive business. I mean you need to be really good at building a brand for yourself. You need to be really good at building a website and marketing and building a logo for yourself. You have to do all these other types of things for your business that are outside of your core scope of work of what you’re good at. And that’s hard and it can be overwhelming and it can be really tough. And I think once people realize that sometimes they like the comfort and the ease of just knowing that they can just show up to work, do their jobs get a paycheck get their benefits – and it might not be perfect or ideal, but they’re OK.

Manuel:

  • And do you think that the technology and the whole digitalization makes it easier for people to become freelancers?

Jacob:

  • Yeah, there’s more opportunities. I wouldn’t say it makes it easier. What makes it easier is kind of yourself. There’s no – just because the technology is out there means that there is more opportunities that you can connect with, but it doesn’t change the fact that you still need to do all those other things. You still need to build the brand, you still need to know how to do all those other different types of things. But like I said – it does mean that there are more opportunities that you can tap into. But even to tap into those opportunities for – I mean you look at something like UpWork which is how I found a lot of the freelancers that I work with. I mean even the people on UpWork – you can’t just go on there and create a profile and expect people to find you. Sure you are going to build a brand for yourself, you’ve got to create videos for yourself. People want to see a website. They want to see case studies and testimonials. They want to see reviews. So, you have to build this brand for yourself. You have to build this personas that people will want to work with you. But when a platform like UpWork comes into play – it makes it easier for you to connect with those opportunities. But you can’t even get those opportunities unless you have all that other stuff going for you as well.

Manuel:

  • Yeah, that makes absolute sense. So, when you talk about UpWork and there are other talent marketplaces like freelancer.com, Guru, Fiverr, etc. – lots of growing, growing, ever-growing economies… How big is your virtual team or is it a virtual team or are they all in your same city that support you?

Jacob:

  • Oh, virtual. I work with a team of probably 10. Between 10 to 12 people depending on the work or the projects that we’re doing. It’s a good size and they’re all over the world. I mean I have some people in the United States. I have some people in Serbia. Some people in the Philippines, somebody in New Zealand. So they’re all over the place.

Manuel:

  • So, they’re also all freelancers, right? They are not employees in some organizations? They work as freelancers for you?

Jacob:

  • Yeah – All freelancers, all independent, yes.

Manuel:

  • Okay. And just let us have a look at organizations. I mean if more and more people will become freelancers, which value does an organization have in the future? Especially, for people working in the organizations?

Jacob:

  • Yeah. Well for organizations I think they’re going to have to be more comfortable with working with diverse groups of talent. So not everybody that works for your company is going to be a full time employee. You’ll have some freelancers, you’ll have some independent workers, some part time employees. So as the organization you just need to be more comfortable knowing that you have a dynamic workforce and not everybody is going to be full time.
  • But I don’t think full time employment is going to go away. I don’t think everybody will be a freelancer in the future. If anything what we’re hearing or what I’m hearing from a lot of executives is that they think that a lot of people will want to go to full time work because we’re seeing this – this huge emphasis on employee experience on creating great places to work. And so the rationale is that if a lot of organizations do that and emphasize that then maybe that will help make employees want to stay there longer. If you feel like you’re taking care – you know for me, for example, if my first job at a college – if I felt like I worked for an organization that cared about me that gave the opportunities that treated me well – I probably would have never gone off on my own, I would have been very comfortable and very happy there. And so, if organizations do offer those types of things then maybe the rationale is that we will have people wanting to stay at companies longer, but if things don’t change, employees get frustrated and they feel like there’s no room for growth or development then of course they’re going to leave.

Manuel:

  • Yeah. Right now, I mean it’s in the US the same as in Europe everyone is fighting for talent. I mean I run an agency – a digital agency, we were building mobile applications and web applications and any kind of software. So, we need developers and developers are very, very hard to find and very expensive and technology becomes more and more complex so you need more and more experts and you don’t need just one developer that can do everything that does not work – you need a flexible workforce – but growing that flexible workforce locally is just not working. It doesn’t work. It’s not even from the business model because you have too many overhead costs. How would you design a company that attracts people that want to do projects as a service for organizations that are working on a digital transformation? So, how could a modern digital agency look like from your perspective?

Jacob:

  • Oh, my goodness. I’ve never built an agency – that’s kind of hard for me to answer, but I know there are organizations that are – exploring those types of ideas and models. I mean it seems to me like the most logical thing to do would be to rely more heavily on freelancers, reach to quickly scale your projects up and down. Interestingly enough a lot of the companies out there have a larger freelance workforce than they have a full time workforce. They just don’t talk about it. I mean companies like Google or HP for example or Microsoft. I mean they have a huge contingent workforce of freelancers of gig workers but it’s not advertised, it’s not talked about. And so, I think there’s still a little bit of a stigma for freelancers for gig work or at least for organizations who work with those types of people. So, I mean if I were building an agency for myself I mean I’d probably do what I’m doing now. I would build, of course it depends on how big of an agency you want to create, but for me for what I do – like I said I have 10 to 12 freelancers, all independent, all working in different parts of the world. And for me that’s a very scalable and practical model. Of course, that also poses challenges if I were running an agency – for example people that might leave in the middle of a project, people that might run off in the middle of a project. People who might find better offers elsewhere and they just kind of leave. So, there are pros and cons but I think definitely having more of that dynamic workforce that you can scale up or down is probably the way to go.

Manuel:

  • So you have your own virtual agency for yourself?

Jacob:

  • It’s not so much of an agency because what a lot of the people that work with me, they’re not servicing customers. You know, I have people for example who helped me edit podcasts, who helped me…

Manuel:

  • But you are the customer?

Jacob:

  • Yeah, but it’s not…

Manuel:

  • This is your personal Agency, for example.

Jacob:

  • From that perspective, yes. So, it’s kind of like the agency and I am the only client, so see from that perspective. Yes.

Manuel:

  • So you didn’t hire an agency but you did hire your own virtual freelancers that serve you like an agency would do it?

Jacob:

  • Yes, but it’s not an agency model in terms of like: I have a bunch of customers that I’m delivering marketing materials for and I have a project manager and I have my own agency servicing other people – it’s like all of these people are – you know I’m the only client, so there are servicing me, so to speak.

Manuel:

  • Yeah. So, if other companies do that in the same way, they have a huge amount of gig workers and freelancers etc. But you said they don’t talk about it and it’s not advertised. What is the reason for that?

Jacob:

  • Well I still think there is a stigma for these companies. just in general a lot of employees or a lot of organizations are getting a lot of, I guess, negative press for letting go off employees for leveraging a lot of technology and automation and so there’s a little bit of a stigma for organizations who don’t prioritize or focus on full time employment and on creating jobs and instead they leverage you know gig workers or part time employees. I think there is a little bit of a stigma there as far as that goes. But hopefully that will change in the coming years and a lot of these organizations will open up and I’ll talk more about it. And I think it’s also different – a lot of these organizations will work with agencies like Manpower or Kelly Services or Robert Half. These employees are oftentimes full time or part time, but they’re just not directly employed by the company. So, it’s not like it’s not the same type of gig worker like finding somebody on UpWork, but they are kind of contingent labor so to speak so, similar but not exactly the same. And I just think there’s still a little bit of a stigma for companies that have a lot of those types of employees who work there.

Manuel:

  • So, if we would design a company or an organization that would provide freedom, flexibility – people can choose where they want to work, with whom they want to work, etc. Which services must this kind of company or organization provide? And which attributes must it have? So, how could an architecture look like of such an organization?

Jacob:

  • Well there are some organizations out there that look like that, that have that kind of structure. But for me flexibility comes ultimately from you know – you need to have the right technology in place, so the employees can communicate and collaborate. You need to have the right employees who believe in accountability and who believe in autonomy. You have to have the right leaders in place who encourage that and who believe that as well. And then you need to have the right guidelines or policies or practices in place that then encourage that, too. So, you need a lot of different pieces to come together to make sure that works. As far as having that freedom and flexibility and it’s not always easy as we’ve seen some companies they’ve killed their flexible work programs and have forced employees or show up in the office. We have companies that have done that. So, not everybody is comfortable with it and it’s a hard thing I think for a lot of organizations to get over it.

Manuel:

  • What do you think will help? I mean it’s not only technology, right? It’s technology that supports it to work from everywhere, for example our technology makes it flexible, but if it is not that easy – what do organizations need to understand, you know to put in place to make this change?

Jacob:

  • Well, so a couple of things I covered, right. To make sure you have the right leaders in place who don’t believe that their job is to micromanage and constantly look over the shoulders of their employees. You need to make sure that you have a culture of autonomy and accountability for employees that they are still able to step up to deliver good quality work. You need to make sure that employees still feel like they’re part of a team. So, having that kind of culture, the mission, the values that translate to employees who are virtual and I think those are probably good places to start and test out with a small group of your workforce if you want and start to introduce it broader and broader and see the impact – to see what happens.

Manuel:

  • So to start with some tests – like that people work from home, like people start on projects and then grow positive experience and ask those people to share it with others?

Jacob:

  • Yeah, yeah you can. I mean if you don’t want to do it across the company and you’re a little scared and hesitant and you want those stories – then sure start small, start in a particular team and roll this out. I like just making this a policy. You know companies like Unilever have done a very good job of this, companies like Cisco have done a good job of this. I just talked to a company Magellan Health today – they do a good job of this. And their rationale is that just focus on the work as long as you do a good job. I don’t care when you do it. I don’t care where you do it. You don’t want to show up in the office. That’s fine. But for companies that are scared of that – they believe that you still need to show up to the office. You know if it makes you feel more comfortable then you can start to run tests and experiments and see the feedback that you get.

Manuel:

  • And would you think that radical transparency for an organization is good or does it introduce several risks that are maybe too risky compared with the benefits that it has? Transparency about salaries, about financial statements, about everything that people need to make decisions by themselves.

Jacob:

  • Well, I don’t think you can make a blank statement and say like: every company should be radically transparent. I think for some cultures, for some environments that doesn’t work. Like I can’t imagine a company like Oracle doing that or IBM doing that. I think that would actually cause a lot of chaos in the company where hundreds of thousands of employees around the world all of a sudden know what everybody else makes, all of a sudden everybody’s upset and the company will just freeze. So, I think that kind of a model makes sense for probably smaller companies that you know – startups like Buffer for example do a good job of that or for a small company – start small and becomes big. And that was one of their practices. They’ve had the whole time and they keep going with it as they grow. But sharing salary information all that kind of personal stuff I think is very, very hard for a lot of larger companies. I know WholeFoods introduced something like that a little while ago – I can’t remember what the outcome of that was. So, I am all in favor of being as open and as transparent as you can without making people uncomfortable. So, if your employees are all telling you they don’t want that transparency, they don’t want to know how much everybody else makes – don’t make that a policy. So, it’s really about the comfort level of the employees of the people who work there. And so any decision that you make should keep that in mind.

Manuel:

  • And if you have – I mean there are different people they have different attitudes, they have different experience – What do you think what is the minimum skill set of people that want to work in such a flexible and free and self responsible organization, can everyone do that?

Jacob:

  • No, certainly not. I mean a lot of people do want having a manager who’s constantly just telling them what to do, where they don’t need to think. They just kind of like: Hey here’s your list of tasks – get them done! Some people just want that paycheck. They just want to be told what to do and that’s OK, but there are a lot of employees who want that creativity, they want their freedom. They want to be strategic partners. They want to do more. And so I think for those types of organizations – that’s great. But you need to understand that not everybody wants that. Not everybody is comfortable with that and the way that you can find out. I mean you look for employees who are self starters. You look for account of employees who are accountable, who are comfortable working in an autonomous way. Employees maybe who used to be entrepreneurs, those types of employees are typically a good fit for this. But you don’t want an employee who is kind of like in-order-take-her so to speak somebody who’s always told what to do. You know, you maybe don’t want to go all of a sudden to that employee into an environment and sa: Hey just do everything yourself and be autonomous and be accountable for everything – because they might not be comfortable with that. They might not know what to do, where to start, that may might stress them out. So, you should have conversations with your employees and see who’s comfortable with it.

Manuel:

  • And then you think it’s better to build an organization around existing employees and see which positions or roles you can create so that they feel comfortable?

Jacob:

  • So, building an organization around existing employees you said, as opposed to what?

Manuel:

  • I mean if you want to change your organization. Do you think it’s good to stick to the current workforce that you have to all the people and build the new organization around people or do you think it requires more radical change and build the organization in the way that you wanted it to be and then find the right people that want to work? I mean for a large enterprise that is not possible -maybe for different departments, like mid-sized company.

Jacob:

  • Yeah, I mean it really depends. I wish there was a kind of a simple and easy answer for that. You know there are some employees who inherently are comfortable with change and they’re willing to learn new skills and kind of adapt. And there are other employees who are resistant to change and they don’t want to adapt and they don’t want to change. So I think it’s good to bring those employees with you who are comfortable with change or are willing to embrace these new concepts and ideas and for employees who are not – they probably won’t have a place inside of your organization much longer.

Manuel:

  • Yeah. Now in one of your talks or videos that I watched you were talking about seeing yourself as an app. What do you mean by that, can you explain it to our audience?

Jacob:

  • Yes. Yeah of course. So seeing yourself as an app basically means that if you think about how many times a week or a month you update various apps on your phone they’re constantly coming out with new features, with new upgrades, with new things that you can do. And so I think we need to think of ourselves like that individually in much the same way. Learning new skills figuring out the problem areas that we need to work on finding those bugs and solving them. So you need to think of yourself as the app if you want to stay relevant in this rapidly changing world. So, you’ve got to update yourself all the time you get to upgrade yourself all the time. Teach yourself the skills that you need to be successful instead of relying on other people and organizations or schools to teach you everything. So, I mean you’re the app, right.
  • I mean if you haven’t updated yourself or upgraded yourself in years then you’re sort of like a version one of Twitter, version one of Facebook when that came out and anybody remembers those, I mean it’s a very different platform than it is now. So, you want to stay relevant. You want to stay valuable, you want to be attractive in the eyes of potential employers. And the way that you do that is you think of yourself like the app and the update and upgrade yourself as often as you can.

Manuel:

  • So, I mean if I understand you correctly the most important skill set is continuously learning right?

Jacob:

  • One of them for sure here being this perpetual learner, teaching yourself new skills all the time. Absolutely – 100%.

Manuel:

  • Do you think there is a value in in college or in the university – having a master’s degree. Because when you drop out of the university your skills or what you’ve learned is already outdated?

Jacob:

  • It depends on what you want to do. So, there are lots of master’s degrees that you can get. Some are very specialized some are more general. Some companies require master’s degrees and require a Ph.D. – so it really depends on what you want to do. So, I can’t really speak a master’s degrees because they’re very broad and specialized. In general for bachelor’s degrees – I think you know you should get a bachelor’s degree, because the reality is that almost every company around the world still requires a bachelor’s degree to even be a potential candidate. And so unless you’re already working on some multi-million dollar idea and unless you’ve already proven and can demonstrate value, which is not most people because they’re are still young they haven’t gotten to college yet, then yeah you should get that college degree. Because if you don’t – you immediately cut out like 95% – 99% of the opportunities that exist for you. Even in startups, the startups that were founded by people that didn’t have college degrees asked for college degrees. So, you know it’s sometimes we see these pundits go online and they say you know college is overrated. It’s a waste of time. It’s easy for these people to say it because they themselves went to college and now they’re multimillionaires running big companies. And so if you went to college and if now you’re a multi-millionaire you really have no place telling other people who are in a less fortunate position to not go to college, because for a lot of people that’s a way out. That’s an opportunity for them to get a job to build a better life for themselves. And I think you do a great disservice by telling people just – college is a waste of time. I think that’s stupid. You got a lot of great relationships there. You learn basic life skills and you also set yourself up for potential success in the future. And it’s great. I understand a lot of people want to be entrepreneurs. But let’s say you try to be an entrepreneur and you fail you don’t have a college degree. What are you gonna do? Nobody’s going to hire you.

Manuel:

  • Try again?

Jacob:

  • Yeah, okay. Try again and you fail. Then what? Meanwhile you’re living at home. You’re not able to raise money. You’ve sabotaged yourself and you’ve done it at a young enough age where you can’t build a foundation on top of that. Right? I mean you can’t think about a family, you can’t think about marriage, you can’t think about buying a house, can’t think about those things because you didn’t set yourself up for that. Instead what I think is a more practical and pragmatic approach is: Great, you want to be an entrepreneur? Do it while you’re going to school. Go to college – be the entrepreneur in college. And if all of a sudden your idea takes off and it’s making money, you’re raising money – great! You can put college on hold and focus on the other opportunity that you have. But just to say I’m not going to go to college and I’m going to be an entrepreneur – I think is just stupid.

Manuel:

  • Okay, so there is a different mindset in what you need to become an entrepreneur because you need to experiment a lot. You need to sometimes fail to get up again and college especially, how I know it from Europe or Germany – so we sit in college and we read books. We do some exercises and that’s it. We don’t, we are not taught to fail and failure is not good. As an entrepreneur you will never make any progress without failure. So, how can the current education system support entrepreneurs?

Jacob:

  • That doesn’t really do a good job of that. I mean as you’ve pointed out – most schools don’t do the job of teaching entrepreneurship. Not all of them, but a lot of. I had Seth Godin on my podcast a while ago and he said it, I think most accurately he said schools are really designed to train you to think of what is going to be on the test, right. That’s what schools do. Your mindset is what is going to be on the test and it is all you focus on. You don’t think about learning new skills. You don’t think about testing new ideas you just think of what are the questions that are going to be on the test. I need to pass. How do I pass? Most schools do not teach those types of skills, but some are in the process of doing that. Some I think are doing an interesting job of trying to encourage working on actual case studies, creating projects, creating classes where you have people from different disciplines who are coming together. But that’s not common. So, we need more and more of that entrepreneurial mindset definitely inside of schools.

Manuel:

  • Like you travel a lot. I mean in the US in Europe around the world and you tried to engage with people, interviewed CEOs and founders etc. and to try to inspire people to change their thinking their organizational thinking. Where do you see the difference between people in the US and in Europe. Do you have some experience with that?

Jacob:

  • Well, differences in terms of what?

Manuel:

  • Of change and speed of change.

Jacob:

  • You know it’s hard to say. I think it really depends on organizations right there. I mean there are some amazing forward thinking organizations in Europe and they’re also slow thinking organizations in the United States. So, it’s really hard to say like the United States is more forward thinking than the UK or France is more forward thinking than the United States, because I think it depends on organizations. Fortunately when I travel to different parts of the world, The companies who bring me in or the companies that bring me in – they’re not the ones who are unpleasant places to work typically. Companies bring me in because they are forward thinking, because they understand the changes necessary, because they understand that work is changing. Occasionally you will get into a company that’s like: Look nobody gets it. We need you to help them understand what’s happening. But a lot of the companies that bring me in are already on top or are already embracing these concepts the changes necessary. So, my lens is maybe a little bit tainted from that perspective. But I mean to be honest I think there are amazing companies in every country that I’ve been to in every city and in every part of the world. Anything from Malaysia and Indonesia to France and Germany to Australia. I mean I see amazing organizations everywhere I go.

Manuel:

  • You said that it’s another, it’s not a cultural thing but it depends simply on the organization. What I see that in the US there are many people that leverage freelancers and fluid or liquid workforces and in Germany, it’s very, very hard because in Germany everything is based on trust and personal relationships. And this is very strong. And to break this mindset that you can only trust people if you know them personally and you see them face to face. This is very, very hard and that’s one reason why in Germany people or organizations don’t, are not used to that way of work. They just struggle with giving control out of their heads and do you have any ideas or hits how we could get that up here, when everything is based on personal relationships and face to face contacts?

Jacob:

  • Well, business is always based on relationships. I mean the way that you start as you do it. When I first created a virtual team I had to give up control. I had to give people access to my emails. I had to give people access to personal information. You start by doing it but if you don’t show any trust in other people then they are not going to show trust to you. So, you start by doing it. Start small – here is one area where you can give up control, where you can give trust other people and build on top of that. And sure you know it might happen where sometimes the trust gets violated. But that is the same for employees that are full time versus employees who are virtual. I mean there are plenty full time employees who have stolen information from companies. There are plenty of full time employees who have leaked information to media, full time employees who bashed their companies on social media and write terrible articles about them. And so that is when something bad happens. It is not like it happened because these are freelancers it happened probably because you’re not treating those employees well, regardless of if they are full time or not. And so for me I think what organizations need to do in Germany is just understand that we live in a different world. Things are dynamic they are fast and in order to attract and retain the best people you need to look beyond your four walls, probably beyond your country, beyond your city and the freelance workforce is a great place to do that. And yes you will have to give up a little bit of control. It may be a little bit scary but I think if you start small and if you have ongoing communication and dialogue and build those relationships you know you can still build relationships like this virtually just because you work with freelancers it doesn’t mean you will never see them. You can arrange for them to come on site once a year or something like that. But you have to start small.

Manuel:

  • So, start small and try to give up a little bit of control. Leave your comfort zone and then just see how things happen.

Jacob:

  • I mean it’s no different when you bring in full time employees. I mean I don’t see this. I don’t see the big difference between full time employees versus virtual employees to be honest, I really don’t see it.

Manuel:

  • That’s good to hear. But here, I mean it’s really different.

Jacob:

  • Yeah I mean and for a lot of organizations I wouldn’t just say even in Germany, I think for a lot of companies around the world they struggle with that. And you know that’s fine. Let those companies struggle with it. But as things evolve in the coming years they’re going to struggle even more. And then a couple years after that they’re going to struggle even more and eventually they’re going to reach a point where they’re like: Man we cannot find anybody to do these jobs you know. I mean there are companies out there where it takes like eight months or a year to fill a single job…

Manuel:

  • I had that, I had that many times a year.

Jacob:

  • Yeah, that’s just nuts. This is nuts. Meanwhile everybody that I’ve hired on my team I’ve hired probably everybody on my team within 24-36 hours.

Manuel:

  • Yeah, the same here. I had an idea to start a podcast – it was like three months ago, then I found Chris, it was also on UpWork and at the same day we had an interview and we started. And I was looking for somebody here to do some administrative – I mean not administrative, but system administrative – devops engineering. It took me nine months and this person told me: Okay I want 90K per year. And it was very hard, very expensive – I told this person okay you are in. I want to rest with you. And then this person said okay give me two days. And after two days this person said: Sorry I have another job offer, they give me 120K and I thought that can’t be true. Yeah that’s the situation here, that is very hard. That’s why I want to help people to or organizations to start just, start with freelancers and make positive experience and see how things are.

Jacob:

  • I mean I think it’s practical, it’s easy. You know you need to be prepared that sometimes things may not go your way, but they also might not go your way with full time employees, as well. I mean I’ve had plenty of situations with freelancers that weren’t great – there are companies that had plenty of situations with full time employees that didn’t go great. It’s still a part of your team, its dynamics, its work, its people – whether they’re full time or not, doesn’t matter.

Manuel:

  • Yeah, absolutely. Perfect! There were some very, very interesting insights. Is there something that you want to tell our audience that you want to keep on the show here?

Jacob:

  • I think specifically when we think about kind of a gig worker, gig working freelancers – I just start interested in building a business for yourself and being a freelancer start and see how it goes. If you’re a company looking to work with freelancers – same thing start see how it goes. There’s only so much reading and research and all that sort of stuff that you can do before eventually you can actually and do it. So, the best piece of advice is just go out and do it.

Manuel:

  • Don’t overthink everything. Just try and make your experience, right.

Jacob:

  • Yeah, I mean you can think all you want, but eventually you can – you got to do.

Manuel:

  • What’s your next event where people can see you?

Jacob:

  • Well, most of the events were actually private events for companies that bring me in. So, I don’t think I have a public one coming up yet. But most of them are big companies that bring me in to talk to their executive team and a management team. But if I do get a public facing event all that stuff will be available on my website which is thefutureorganization.com

Manuel:

  • Okay, perfect. Where else can people find you to communicate with you, see your updates?

Jacob:

Manuel:

  • All right. Perfect. Thanks for taking time and for all the very exciting insights. I was really excited and happy to have you on the show here. So, then I wish you good luck and thanks for being here.

Jacob:

  • Thank you for having me.

Chris:

  • I’d like to thank our guest Jacob Morgan for joining us today. You can find out more about Jacob at his website, the future organization.com, you can subscribe to the Virtual Frontier or leave us a review at Apple podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher or anywhere else podcasts are found.
  • If you want to learn more about virtual teams as a service visit flashhub.io On behalf of the team here at FlashHub, I’d like to thank you for listening. So, until next episode keep exploring new frontiers.

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