The Era of Contact Workers! General Electric

From “Womb to Tomb” to “Outsourcing” and “Contract Workers” !
The Evolution of Human Resource Practices and Philosophies.

Over the past three decades we have witness major changes in how organizations of all types and sizes have changed their philosophy about their employees. GE is an excellent example of these changes.

“Womb to Tomb” was the preferred human resource philosophy of the 1950’s to 1970’s. The underlying premise was that companies should hire professionals out of college, provide training and then offer benefits, like pensions, holidays, healthcare that would lock them into becoming loyal, dedicated employees. The assumption is that this would provide the required talents and commitment.

“Outsourcing” was the prevalent approach in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was the common practice to seek out the lowest cost labor whereever it was and reduce the “long term/ expensive” professionals and management.
First of all companies stopped training and relied on getting their candidates from professional schools or pirating them from their competitors. Then they moved from pensions to 401K programs placing the responsibility for retirement on the employee and not the organization.

Now we are in the “Contract Worker” phase where every employee must recognize that they control their own destiny and should not be committed to anyone or any organization and just focus on themselves. This is being accelerated with the advent of the 401K programs and the demise of the pension plans, as well as the most recent changes in healthcare. Healthcare is now like the 401K where each employee must purchase and pay for their own healthcare.

“Everyone is on their Own!”

The results of outsource and contract worker human resources policies are that all employees must develop their own personal strategic career plan and be continually focused on assuring that they get the best deals possible and not be concerned about the organization. This means that they need to think and act strategically about themselves and their future, be entrepreneurial about their won careers. Company loyalty needs to be low on their priority list. If their current employer doesn’t meet their career and personal needs then they must be able package and sell their services and talents to those who provide the most attractive career and monetary offering.

I am not saying that these changes are the best nor that they will continue since they have very negative consequences for both the organizations and the individual, but it is the current practice and everyone must recognize and adapt to it, until a need human resource “fad” comes along.

Bill Rothschild, CEO Rothschild Strategies Unlimited LLC and GE Alumni