The gig economy is growing: the majority of organisations are now hiring more gig workers than they were three years ago. And as the the number of gig economy professionals grows, so too does their influence both inside organisations and in the wider job economy.
We recently asked 500 HR professionals about their experience with gig workers and the majority see them as a good thing. The main reasons organisations are bringing in gig workers are to resource short-term projects and to fill in-house expertise gaps. Importantly, the majority of respondents report that contingent workers are having a positive cultural impact.
So far, so good. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back. This trend is likely to only increase as workers and organisations alike look to the gig economy to offer greater flexibility and agility. To make the most of what gig workers can offer, organisations need to step up their level of sophistication in how they view and integrate their contingent workforce to ensure everyone benefits from the bargain.
Take a total talent view
While 66% of respondents to our survey said they work to integrate gig professionals into their culture, this same approach now needs to be used in integrating contingent workers into all people processes.
The way organisations attract, engage and hire gig workers should now be seen as part of the total talent acquisition strategy and not just as a procurement exercise. This requires a shift in thinking, one that can be in tension with the view that contingent workers just come in to fill skill gaps or work on short term projects. It requires talent professionals to move towards a view that includes these short term fixes as part of the long term strategy.
While almost half of respondents believe that gig workers help save money for their organisations, we find that organisations often don’t have clear visibility on their contingent workforce costs.
As part of taking a total talent view, organisations need to lean in to this challenge. Talent professionals need to ensure that supplier agreements are appropriately managed and be ready to roll contingent workers into their permanent workforce where appropriate to keep costs effective.
Three ways to integrate gig workers into the organisation’s culture
Our survey shows the growing recognition of how important it is to integrate gig workers into the organisation’s culture. Mature organisations are learning to do this in a way that recognises the different value proposition that drives the gig economy. These professionals seek different types of work and ways of working, and so organisations need to recognise that and tailor their engagement efforts accordingly.
- Hire gig workers where it makes sense
One of the great benefits of the gig economy is the flexibility it gives companies to rapidly staff a new project or grow a line of business with temporary resources that have the required expertise. But often the project may lead into a new full-time role. Keeping this balance is important from a morale and culture perspective as well as from a financial one.
- Promote collaboration
Making the most of the expertise of gig workers shouldn’t just be limited to the specific project. Organisations should set formal expectations for new and contingent employees, emerging leaders and executives to gain knowledge and experience from each other through working in cross-unit, cross-border teams.
- Increase respect and recognition
Respect and recognition is about understanding the individual and it’s no different for contingent workers. Companies need to recognise their contingent workers as individuals, empower them to make decisions to do their job better, check in regularly with them to stay aligned and reward them fairly and competitively.
Download our infographic to learn more about trends in the gig economy.