A year ago there were reports that the gig economy faced significant challenges due to increased regulations, but new research is showing that it has become an even more appealing option in the Covid-context. Lack of qualified professionals, digitization, automation and migration are shifting the geography of employment, and the pandemic has played a decisive role in the gig economy’s meteoric rise.
The gig economy has given working professionals more power – to choose projects, at their own pace and time and on their own terms. The scales have also tilted in the favour of organizations who now have the flexibility of hiring people with a wide selection of skills to choose from and across geographies. With the increased need for on-demand services and shared economy, given the right impetus, the gig economy can generate millions of jobs in the future.
In this article let's look at some interesting developments we will probably witness both as employees and as HR professionals in the months to come.
Renavigating workforce strategy
The working style of every individual has changed with every passing generation. The current scenario has also made us more accepting of newer and hybrid styles of working. Organizations and professionals have to embrace these changes to be agile and resilient for the future.
Regardless of the employment label of being a full-time or a gig worker, organizations need to consider the expectations of all employees when it comes to flexibility, adaptability, culture and experiences. As professionals, we all need a comfortable work environment to perform better. Most organizations today that have hired gig workers are yet to design concrete workforce strategies. And this is imperative because gig workers can influence the brand as much as full-time employees. Empowering, skilling and maintaining a comfortable work environment allows all employees to be productive and passionate.
Empowering workers of the future
India has emerged as the 5th largest country for flexi-staffing after the US, China, Brazil and Japan. Rapid internet as well as smartphone penetration beyond just the tier 1 cities coupled with digitization have enabled gig workers to provide regular and professional services more easily. Increasing literacy, especially tech literacy, is further empowering the workers of the future and is opening doors to supplement their income.
Implementing a successful Gig strategy
Here are ways that organizations and HR professionals can create a welcoming environment for gig workers.
- Examine workforce composition: Accordingly to a recent McKinsey report, some remote work is here to stay, but not for everyone or for every work day. There will be challenges in managing employees in office and those working from anywhere. Employers need to relook at how work can be effectively done remotely, for which roles, and reconfigure the workplace and the workforce.
- Redefine EVP: Companies still have a long way to go to effectively manage a combined workforce. Similar to EVP, employers need to look at creating an attractive value proposition for gig workers, or Gig Value Proposition as some experts call it, to successfully attract, engage and retain them.
- Infuse Gig culture: According to an industry report, independent workers such as contractors or freelancers beat traditional employees in job engagement, innovation, satisfaction and pride. Where they fall short of regular employees is commitment. This means that organizations need to start strategically looking at ways to keep the gig workers engaged. For instance, a large consultant firm recently launched a platform that helps the organization transform the contractor hiring experience.
- Evaluate HR policies: HR policies need to be looked at from a different lens for gig workers. Fairness and equity need to be protected in the gig economy. In the current scenario, it is challenging for organizations to provide comprehensive benefits for contract workers, but nothing stops the employers from exploring short term benefits. A popular ride-hailing app for instance offers discounts on vehicle maintenance, phone plans etc.
Organizations, whether they are large or small, are in a better position to manage costs with the help of the gig workers as it now boils down to the demand. For a successful work environment, every organization will need to re-evaluate their value proposition for gig workers. The question no longer is whether the gig economy will grow, but by how much it will grow.