Article: Wondering how to mitigate legal risks with gig workers? Adecco's Director-General Staffing answers

Talent Management

Wondering how to mitigate legal risks with gig workers? Adecco's Director-General Staffing answers

Amidst the rise of gig workers, HR must delicately balance reassuring current staff and integrating external collaborators. Clear communication is key; articulate the purpose of gig workers as complementary to existing roles, not replacements, advised Ms Manu Saigal.
Wondering how to mitigate legal risks with gig workers? Adecco's Director-General Staffing answers

There is no denial that the role of gig workers has emerged as indispensable for businesses striving to remain agile and competitive. With their ability to offer specialised skills on a flexible basis, gig workers provide organisations with the agility needed to adapt swiftly to changing market demands. Moreover, in an era where innovation and digital transformation are paramount, gig workers often bring fresh perspectives and expertise that complement existing workforce capabilities.

However, amid the growing reliance on gig workers, leaders must exercise caution and diligence in their hiring practices. Legal complexities surrounding the classification of gig workers and the obligations owed to them by employers demand careful attention. From compliance with labour regulations to ensuring fair treatment and compensation, leaders must navigate a complex landscape to mitigate potential risks and liabilities.

Additionally, the nature of gig work often involves access to sensitive information and proprietary data. As such, leaders must implement robust measures to safeguard this information and uphold data privacy standards. But how? 

To find answers, People Matters got in touch with Ms Manu Saigal, Director - General Staffing, Adecco India. She opened up about the importance of balancing the benefits of gig workers, underscoring the importance of thorough vetting processes and clear communication channels.

In an exclusive interview with us, she also emphasised on a nuanced understanding of both the opportunities and risks associated with gig workers and why it is essential for leaders to effectively leverage this workforce model while safeguarding the interests of their organisation.

Excerpts from the interview: 

How have you observed the landscape of gig work evolving in recent years, and what key trends do you foresee for managing gig workers in 2024?

India's gig landscape has undergone a paradigm shift in recent years providing mass employment, driven by digitalisation and a growing youth population seeking flexibility. Gone are the days of just cab drivers and delivery agents; today, professionals across diverse fields like IT, content creation, and legal services are embracing gig work. 

This evolution presents both opportunities and challenges. On the positive side, it empowers individuals, creates job opportunities, and fuels the growth of the service sector. However, concerns regarding job security, social security benefits, and fair wages remain.

Looking ahead to 2024, here are some key trends to watch:

  • Formalisation: Regulations and platforms offering benefits like health insurance will be crucial for gig worker well-being and economic stability.
  • Upskilling: Platforms can upskill gig workers for higher-paying opportunities, bridging the skilling gap and enhancing employability.
  • AI-powered matching: Advanced algorithms can connect individuals with the right gigs based on skills and preferences, maximising efficiency and income potential.
  • Collaborative ecosystems: Partnerships between platforms, government agencies, and training institutions can offer holistic support and address broader challenges.
  • Data-driven management: Platforms will leverage data to understand gig worker needs, optimise work allocation, and personalise engagement strategies.

While the gig economy presents its own set of complexities, proactive measures focusing on upskilling, formalisation, and data-driven management can ensure a brighter future for both platforms and gig workers, propelling India's dynamic labour market forward.

With the gig workforce, compliance and legal considerations can be complex. How can leaders navigate the legal landscape and ensure compliance with regulations while leveraging the benefits of a gig workforce?

India's flourishing gig economy, while teeming with opportunities, still lacks social benefits, and presents a compliance and legal labyrinth for companies to navigate. However, employers can conquer this legal juggernaut by:

  • Mapping the terrain: Meticulously understanding existing and upcoming regulations like labour laws, tax rules, and social security guidelines specific to gig workers.
  • Clear classification: By utilising government frameworks or independent legal counsel for guidance.
  • Contract clarity: Drawing airtight contracts outlining work scope, payment terms, data privacy, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Ensuring the contracts comply with relevant laws.
  • Tech-powered compliance: Leverage HR tech solutions to automate compliance tasks, manage worker data securely, and generate regular reports for authorities or outsource them to compliance and regulatory expert partners.
  • Building trust: Fostering transparency and open communication with gig workers regarding their rights, responsibilities, and grievance redressal mechanisms.
  • Staying updated: Subscribing to legal updates and actively engaging with industry forums to stay abreast of evolving regulations and best practices. Partner with experts like legal professionals, industry associations, and government agencies to navigate complex legal grey areas.

How can leaders develop a strategic approach to building and managing a talent pool of gig workers, ensuring a diverse and skilled pool to meet various project needs?

While India's gig workforce is on the rise, this provides smart leaders an opportunity to leverage this dynamic talent pool. But building a diverse, skilled gig workforce that lends to specific organisational and project needs demands a strategic approach. 

Start by crystallising needs - skills, budget, project specifics - and target platforms and communities catering to those talents. Partner with universities, skilling and training institutes, and industry associations to unearth hidden gems. Remember, diversity wins! 

Actively seek gig workers from various backgrounds, genders, and abilities, using inclusive language and outreach methods. But upskilling is key and hence offer online courses, workshops, or mentoring programs to enhance your talent pool's value and loyalty.

Utilise clear, project-based contracts outlining expectations, deliverables, and payments to ensure transparency and avoid legal roadblocks. Implement a system to assess gig worker performance and identify areas for improvement, refining your selection process and building long-term relationships. 

Foster a sense of community! Create online or offline spaces for your gig workforce to connect, share knowledge, and network. This boosts engagement and belonging.

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Given the access gig workers may have to sensitive information, how can leaders ensure data security and maintain confidentiality while leveraging the gig workforce, and what protocols should be in place to address potential risks?

As gig workers increasingly handle sensitive information, ensuring data security and confidentiality requires a multi-pronged approach from leaders. Here's how leaders managing gig workforce can navigate this challenge:


  • Rigorous Vetting - Implement a thorough vetting process that includes background checks, skills assessments, and data security awareness training.
  • Clear Contracts - Establish robust contracts outlining data access levels, usage restrictions, and non-disclosure agreements.
  • Role-Based Access - Grant minimum necessary access to information based on specific project requirements.

During Engagement:

  • Data Encryption- Implement secure data encryption methods for both the storage and transmission of sensitive information.
  • Regular Training - Conduct ongoing training on data security protocols, highlighting potential risks and responsible handling practices.
  • Monitoring and Auditing - Utilise monitoring tools and conduct regular audits to detect suspicious activity and identify potential breaches.


  • Data Deletion - Clearly define data retention policies and ensure prompt deletion of sensitive information upon project completion.
  • Exit Interviews - Conduct exit interviews to gather feedback and identify potential security vulnerabilities encountered during the engagement.
  • Incident Response Plan - Develop a comprehensive incident response plan detailing steps to take in case of data breaches or leaks.

Additional Protocols:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication - Implement multi-factor authentication for accessing sensitive systems and data.
  • Regular Updates - Ensure software and firmware are consistently updated with the latest security patches.
  • Reporting Mechanism - Establish a clear and accessible reporting mechanism for gig workers to report suspected data breaches or violations.

By implementing these measures, leaders can leverage the gig workforce without compromising data security. Remember, open communication, ongoing training, and a culture of data responsibility are crucial for mitigating risks and fostering trust with gig workers.

Recognising that job security may be a concern, how should HR plan to reassure existing employees about the organization's commitment to their long-term employment and career growth while hiring gig workers?

As companies embrace the benefits of a gig workforce, HR faces a delicate task: reassuring existing employees about their job security and career growth while integrating these external collaborators. The key is upfront communication; clearly explain why gig workers are brought in, emphasising how they complement, not replace, existing roles. 

Be specific about tasks suited for gig workers and assure employees that core functions remain theirs. Acknowledge anxieties about job security head-on, highlighting your commitment to the core workforce and investments in their training and development. Maintain open communication channels, regularly updating employees on the big picture and how their roles fit into it.

Shift the focus to employee value. - showcase internal mobility and promotion opportunities, skills development programs, and mentorship initiatives that demonstrate your commitment to their long-term growth. Invest in upskilling and reskilling them to ensure they stay competitive and relevant, even considering training relevant to future collaborations with gig workers. Regularly appreciate their contributions and implement programs that cater to their specific needs and aspirations.

Building trust and collaboration is crucial. Clearly define roles to avoid confusion and competition. Encourage collaboration where appropriate, fostering knowledge sharing and a more inclusive environment. Finally, actively seek employee feedback on their concerns and suggestions about the gig workforce. Address their anxieties openly and demonstrate a willingness to adapt based on their input. By prioritizing transparency, employee development, and fostering a collaborative spirit, HR can successfully integrate a gig workforce while reassuring existing employees and building trust for the future.

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Topics: Talent Management, #PracticalTips, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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