However, running an organization of fee-based professionals can present several important challenges, including:
- Professionals require a certain level of freedom and autonomy to complete their work effectively.
- Organizations are structured in strict hierarchies with little room for growth or movement; professionals generally are mobile and are always seeking career advancement. If they can’t find it in one organization, they can take their skills to another.
- Professionals can be hard to replace due to their specific knowledge and skills, giving them tenure. This can make it difficult for organizations to let them go.
- Professionals may prefer to work with a network of other professionals collaboratively. Organizations run on more formal bureaucracies that make this difficult.
- Professionals may have little regard for classic management and administrative systems. If they have to be managed, they prefer it to be done by a professional in their network.
- Each new generation of professionals must be trained by the ones who came before them. Thus, organizations have to serve as both schools and places of work.
Overall, in any professional organization, the individual holds a great deal of power. As more companies hire fee-based professionals, we can expect to see resistance to this power dynamic in the following ways:
- Fixed-term contracts may become the norm, with companies preferring to hire temporary workers rather than give raises and benefits to permanent employees.
- Part-time work may be made more attractive to professionals in the form of flexible time contracts, reducing the number of full-time jobs.
- Retirement plans may be personalized and mobilized to move with contractors from job to job.
- Training and education may be increasingly prioritized within organizations to synchronize their interests and those of their professionals.
- Organizations of the future may have two categories of workers: the professionals and the laborers. Gone will be all those positions in between — the skilled workers, the foreman and middle management.
- If we are not cautious, organizations will be divided into two classes — the haves and the have-nots — with knowledge as the ultimate source for power and wealth.
If the gap between these two working classes becomes too wide, we may see increased union activity among the labor staff, who still have significant power. When united, these workers can hold their labor hostage for increased wages.