Article: How the advent of the gig economy is reshaping the future of HR

Strategic HR

How the advent of the gig economy is reshaping the future of HR

The scope of the gig economy has been growing across the world. We take a look at how the HR function has also been evolving as a result.
How the advent of the gig economy is reshaping the future of HR

HR professionals have had a lot on their plateshands. With an increasingly uncertain future marked by both technological disruptions and a rapidly changing demography that makes up the workforce,. mMany have had to deal with workforce trends in times when technology is fast replacing older skill setsolder job skillsets and raisingreplacing them with newer demands. The workforce composition too has evolved and become multigenerational, making attracting the right talent more nuanced and varied.

A major trend that will influence how HR works in the coming decade will be the need to address talent gaps that arise within firms. Skillset changes, many of which are yet to emerge due to the changing nature of the economy, will define much of how HR professionals undertake key activities like hiring and training to ensure their firms remain competitive and profitable ventures. A key ally in this endeavor could be the rise of the gig economy.

Leveraging gig work platforms

The growth of the gig economy and the scope of contract-based work at large holds great promise for HR professionals. Many firms, mostly within tech facing sectors have begun using teams consisting of professionals with specialized skills on a contract basis to meet their talent demands. For many HRr professionals hiring from within the gig economy, means cutting down on many of the costscost of hiring a full-time employee while having access to a proficient talent pool.

But skeptics still question the relevancerelevancy of skills and commitment that many contractual workers bring with them, often with valid reasons. While studies (https://www.forbes.com/sites/abdullahimuhammed/2018/06/28/4-reasons-why-the-gig-economy-will-only-keep-growing-in-numbers/#2a287d4f11eb)  show that the role of gig work is only going to rise many it has done little to alleviate fear among employers about the quality and standard of work of gig workers. It here where the role of gig work platforms like Upwork and Fiverr come become important. One look at their recent rise in helping companies meet their talent needs shows how in the coming future HR professionals could very well begin looking at gig workers as a means to meet their firms' talent demands. As the market matures and more robust means of certifying the quality of work become a mainstay of freelance work, more firms would head out looking for the right gig worker. It's then that HR professionals and recruiters need to leverage gig work platforms successfully.

Last-mile training to become more prevalent

With the rise of gig workers comes the need to have the right hiring and training means in place to get onboard faster and ensure their productivity. Also being a vital cog in enabling gig workers also build relevant skills, the concept of ‘last mile training’ would play an important role in helping firms get the most out of their freelance/contractual workforce.

Giants like Amazon which already employ a large number of people who fall under the category of gig workers have already begun (https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/28/last-mile-training-and-the-future-of-work-in-an-expanding-gig-economy/) extensively investing in such last stage training to fine-tune the process of meeting their skill demands. Amazon’s recent announcement that it will spend $700 million over the next six years to upskill 100,000 of its low-wage fulfillment center employees for better digital jobs within Amazon and elsewhere. Even with the kind of work that is repetitive mundane in nature, firms have begun investing in training to help both improve their bottom line performance and build skills. For HR professionals, in the coming time, it’ll not only be important to look for the gig worker but also to pay attention to how they can be trained and developed to become more productive.   

Evolving management and leadership principles

An important but at times overlooked aspect of the future of HR under the lens of a rising gig economy is the changes it’ll require to make to prepare the future crop of leaders. Leaders need to be built to manage firms, or portions of it, in a dynamic world. But with contractual work evolving the rules of engagement, firms require leaders that successfully rally a team of contractual workers towards achieving a business goal. They need to take care of their productivity levels and pay close attention to how the potential benefits of a gig economy are being leveraged.

Influencing the nature of work

 

The rise of the gig-based economy has become synonymous with coming of age of companies like Uber and Airbnb which were some of the earliest forms of startups to leverage a for of contractual work to grow as companies. Since then many other startups that leverage contract work has sprung up not only within developed markets like the US and UK but also across other developing markets, with its scope within India growing every time. With the future of HR being shaped by its ability to meet the needs of the firm in a rapidly changing business ecosystem, the advent of the gig and other kinds of contractual work finds greater applicability.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #MyNextCurve

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