Article: Gig Worker Wellness: Strategies for long-term sustainability


Gig Worker Wellness: Strategies for long-term sustainability

Sudeep Sen, Vice President of GI Group Holding, advocates for comprehensive strategies to ensure equitable rewards and long-term sustainability for gig workers.
Gig Worker Wellness: Strategies for long-term sustainability

The culture of the gig economy has rapidly grown in prominence in India. According to the latest findings from the foundit Insights Tracker (fit), Gig Economy soared 184%, and IT, Content, and Consulting are at the forefront of this growth.

The share of IT software in the gig economy has nearly doubled, jumping from 22% in March 2023 to a dominant 46% in March 2024. Advertising and marketing also witnessed significant growth, with the share of gig jobs increasing from 5% to 18% over the past year. However, the workforce engaged in the gig economy continues to face challenges such as job instability, low compensation or financial uncertainty, lack of social security, extended working hours, and no or unequal benefits, among others.

Given the growing size and increased contribution of the gig workers representing a sizeable number of India’s multi-generational workforce, People Matters spoke to Sudeep Sen, Vice President of GI group Holding to get some practical tips to safeguard those who are working as gig workers.

Equitable rewards strategy

To make reward strategy equitable for all categories of workers, Sudeep says that any reward strategy can be equitable only if there is a process of “Acknowledging the constant change”, “Implement the need for change”, “governance in implementation like review” and question the outcome to look for something better”.

To build a process that can give good sustainable solutions, Sudeep suggests to follow the steps mentioned below:

Visibility to Total Rewards Program: Employees need to have a view of what they are offered, it shall support their dreams, ambitions, and hunger which shall propel greater performances. Hence, employees need to see the complete spectrum of rewards beyond the base pay, for example performance pay, long term incentives, bonuses, learning and developments provisions, career development initiatives, etc.

Setting the objectives and metrics: It is very important to set clear goals and objectives. This helps encourage employees to high performance, promoting teamwork, or recognising exceptional achievements.

Build an alignment: It is crucial to build alignment between performance, rewards, and appreciation all in line with goal achievement. This alignment helps create a sense of purpose and motivates employees to work towards those goals.

Communication & Inclusivity: A clear narrative in terms of criteria of performance judgment yardsticks is the key. The organisation should engage the staff to design it, keeping the organisation goal in mind to ensure consistent excellent performance and also sustainability.  This transparency helps create a fair and level playing field. The staff feel engaged and inclusive.

Ensuring suitable safety nets

According to Sudeep, this is one of the biggest challenges organisations are staring at as we head towards the aging of the gig workforce. “We need to start thinking now, or else it will be late.” He suggests government initiatives including unemployment insurance and other social safety net programs for gig workers to help protect them during times of economic uncertainty.

Establishing minimum wage laws can be another initiative that can be helpful, says Sudeep.

“Gig workers are often not entitled to the same minimum wage protections as traditional employees. Governments can establish minimum wage laws that apply to gig workers to help ensure that they are paid a fair wage.”

Gig workers are often not offered the same rights as traditional employees, such as the right to form a union or the right to receive overtime pay. Also, they do not get benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans. To address the issue, government intervention is needed, believes Sudeep. “Government can pass laws to protect the rights of gig workers and ensure that they are treated fairly and provided all basic rights similar to regular employees.”

Total rewards for long-term sustainability for the gig economy

The world is grappling to find an algorithm to solve this challenging scenario. However, as the Gig economy is not old by a few decades, it is very difficult to forecast any reward plan which shall ensure sustainability for a prolonged period.

“Benefits supporting flexibility at work (i.e., backup childcare, transportation discounts), continuing education support, discounts on company merchandise, and day-to-day perks like subsidies on gym memberships or streaming services can be some of the rewards gig workers can be offered,” says Sudeep.

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Topics: Business, Economy & Policy, Strategic HR, #HRCommunity, #PracticalTips

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