As we discussed in our recent blog post on HBR Blogging Network, it finally seems that the uproar over Marissa Meyer’s diktat banning flexible work policies at Yahoo is dying down. While good arguments were made on both sides of the issue, what got lost in the charged debate was the potential for evolving traditional business models through changing the employee-employer relationship.
Our research on identifying replicable templates for business model innovation shows that innovating how a company engages with its workforce is an often overlooked way of increasing business model performance. The basic structure of the firm-employee relationship has not changed much over the last 50 years. Relying on a forecast of organizational needs, firms select the nature and number of employees, who are then assigned some working hours and tasks to do in those hours. But a few pioneering companies are challenging each aspect of this traditional model and are offering unprecedented opportunities along the way.