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As an HR professional, you’re often at the vanguard of this transformation and are tasked with keeping up with the latest developments, as well as figuring out how to make them work for your organization. Although your target performance metrics have always included staffing your company’s teams with the best available industry talent, the rules and parameters around how to go about achieving these goals are constantly shifting. The savviest HR professionals stay on top of industry trends and shifts and develop strategies for turning them to their advantage. And those of us who have been in the HR world for a while have witnessed massive shifts in how we collectively approach the concepts of work, hiring, and employment over the past several years. The gig economy is a perfect example.
The rise of the gig economy should not be a surprise to anyone following hiring and employment trends over the past several years. In a nutshell, the gig economy refers to the portion of the labor market that includes freelancers and temporary contract workers, who businesses are increasingly relying on to outsource and handle a growing list of essential work tasks. Although not everyone considers this arrangement between employers and workers a positive step forward in the work world, many feel as if it’s one born of mutual necessity, with some distinct benefits: companies get to reduce overhead costs, and workers get to have more interesting, flexible, and varied work experiences, as well as greater professional autonomy.
Regardless of your thoughts on the gig economy, there’s no denying its ascendancy, and it’s clear that it’s not disappearing anytime soon. According to a recent Forbes article, nearly half of all companies—from lean startups to multinational corporate behemoths—are expecting that gig workers will be a growing part of their workforce over the next several years, and the number of industries, positions, and workers who are eager to get on board continues to rise.
Simply put, instead of weighing the merits of gig employment, your time would be much better spent figuring out how to make this arrangement work for you and your team when it comes to talent acquisition.
Have we convinced you? Good—then keep reading for strategies to help you prepare for the gig economy at the dawn of this exciting new decade.
Know Your Needs
Regardless of whether your company is just starting to dip its toes into the gig worker pool or has been swimming in it for years, a key component of developing a sound strategy for leveraging the gig economy is to clearly define where outsourcing can benefit your organization. This often requires a top-down review of tasks, roles, and functions in every department and at every level to uncover which tasks can effectively and appropriately be farmed out. This level of advanced planning and organization has obvious benefits for your organization, and also helps you make the most of available gig talent through clearly defined projects and roles.
Bolster Your Culture
Your primary goal here should not be solely to determine how to make gig workers serve your needs. You should aim to build an internal culture that embraces temporary employers—especially since you’ll likely want to maintain ongoing relationships with individuals who have met or exceeded your expectations. Is your company welcoming, respectful, and inviting to gig economy talent or is it dismissive and possibly even disdainful (or even threatened by them)?
As an HR professional, your efforts to help promote positive interactions and build healthy bridges between permanent and temporary workers can go a long way toward establishing a progressive culture that fosters all types of workers, and it’s an important investment of your time and effort. These days, word travels fast regarding what type of employer you are and what it would be like to work for your company, and talented individuals have the ability to choose to work for companies with progressive, pro-freelancer cultures.
Just because gig workers aren’t full-time components of your company doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be treated with the same level of appreciation. Make sure your compensation strategy clearly demonstrates that you acknowledge the value they bring. A well-designed compensation plan includes industry-competitive hourly and project fees, but a great plan takes a step beyond paychecks to build and promote value. Sure, a primary purpose for using gig workers is to save money, but you can get creative and leverage ideas for compensating freelancers at little to no cost to your organization (like discounts on products or services if you’re in that type of business).
The bottom line is that building value here will only make it easier for you to attract, engage with, and retain the best available talent in your industry—and hasn’t that always been important to you and your company? As a new decade unfolds and we await the innovation and changes yet to come, are you prepared for today or are struggling to keep up? Use the strategies and advice presented here to discover how you can maximize talent acquisition at your company within today’s growing gig economy.