Gig-economy is emerging as one of the big forces, impacting the world of work, making it more diverse, agile, accessible and incredibly interesting. Many enterprises are leveraging on gig workers to deliver on important business outcomes. Though gig workers have been there in the system from past long but now with improved technology and structures in place, they are emerging as an important section of the workforce.
To understand more about the ‘gig-economy’ and its impact, we conducted an interview with Annanya Sarthak, CEO and co-founder of Awign, a PAN India platform which is pioneering the concept of ‘Crowdsourcing in Outsourcing’ by leveraging vast student community of India. In this interview, Annanya shares his insights around the current and future state of ‘gig-economy’ and how it has helped Awign emerge as one of the market leaders in this space.
What is the current state of gig economy in India? What sea-changes it has brought into the ecosystem? How does the future look like?
Gig workforce has always been there in India in some form or the other. However, the challenge has been to bring in a structure that allows the enterprises to get the work done through the gig workforce at a large scale and which also allows the gig workers to generate livelihood while up-skilling themselves. Addressing this challenge and coming up with solutions is something that is propelling the growth of the gig economy in India.
Enterprises are evolving at an exponential rate where they increasingly want to democratize their workforce. Earlier, enterprises were getting only a few freelancers on contract to get some desk job done for them- this has tremendously changed now. We now see enterprises getting field-work fulfilled through thousands of gig workers distributed across multiple cities in India. This has only become possible because gig workers have started to look at gig jobs as their primary source of income and that’s why the number of fresh graduates opting for relevant gig jobs is fast becoming a trend.
Now, when you combine the primary source of income with a structure to learn fast and take up higher skill-set gig jobs, that’s where you see the entire dynamics of gig economy change. Suddenly you would find gig workers sticking to the brands they started working with, remain engaged and keep their performance on the track. That’s where the future of gig economy lies.
How has your organization leveraged gig-economy to boost business growth? Can you please share some of the benefits which you have derived out of it?
Awign is the leader in implementing gig economy for enterprises. So, gig economy forms the core of Awign’s business model. We have built a platform to take up on-the-ground work from enterprises across segments of auditing, diligence & new business development and we get it fulfilled through gig workers at a massive scale. We have developed the technology which allows us to get tangible outcomes on the ground and bill our customers only for those outcomes and not for the man-hours. With tech at the helm, we have been able to get over half a million gig workers across India, associated with us, who come on the platform, get relevant tasks, get selected, get trained for them, complete the tasks, make money and also improve their skills.
This concept and the strength of gig economy has been instrumental in getting enterprises to not just hire 100k contractors on third party payroll, but rather being able to leverage variable workforce and directly map costs with outcomes.
Every story has two sides to it and with pros come cons. Any challenge which you have faced while dealing with gig workers?
There are particularly two types of challenges we face while dealing with gig workers. First is to generate recurring demand in the location of the gig worker, for her/him to constantly find work required for generating steady income. Second is to keep the gig workers engaged by putting in place a structure where they can keep improving their skills and keep moving to higher skill tasks with better pay. Both aspects essentially point towards reducing and controlling the problem of high attrition which gig economy today suffers from.
How you handle the hiring of the gig workers?
We started with tapping the community of college students across India where we bring jobs at their doorstep without any requirement of traveling to any other city to find work. Also, our philosophy of learning along with working on the ground and also getting opportunities to earn, really resonated with them and we could witness very high virality among them. This led to onboarding graduates who are out of jobs or who generate less than Rs 25,000 a month – someone who can find a regular source of income and learning through our platform. The key is to select the relevant gig workers who fit the job and therefore, it is essential that every gig worker goes through a structured mechanism of getting selected, trained and then evaluated regularly, throughout the journey to ensure quality and efficiency.
Another aspect that is important while hiring gig workers is to continuously keep identifying different sections of people who are trainable and have undying zeal to work. We found the same with people who are specially-abled. With correct systems in place, they can be one of the best gig workers for high skill tasks.
Some golden tips to deal with gig workers to keep them engaged and motivated to stay and perform.
The golden rule is to understand that cash flow is very important for a gig worker. Plugging in innovative ways of financing the working capital for them can certainly uplift the engagement levels of gig workers. Another aspect that gets appreciated by young gig workers is ‘transparency’ in the system which is imperative for the business, focused on the gig economy.