The growth of the gig economy is giving shape to new trends in the HR world in many ways. There is an increased significance on identifying and hiring the right talent, training, onboarding, evaluation and redesigning policies to the benefit of the gigsters.
Not too long ago, the emergence of the gig economy was being welcomed by many as the beginning of a new era in employment. The thrill of not being confined to a nine-to-five job, working at one’s comfort and pace and being one’s own boss were some of the many reasons professionals left their traditional roles to branch out on their own. The new trend transformed the white-collar jobs while redefining the way we perceived professional services. However, the disruption of these roles across industries in the Covid-19 aftermath and technological tumult has potentially disrupted the employment landscape of the country, for the long-haul this time. There is an increased inclination towards freedom, skill-based work, flexibility, and additional income which is further empowering this economy of the future.
The rise of the gig economy has become more pertinent in the current job scenario since, increasingly, people are opting entrepreneurship as a career option that allows working remotely, independently, and with flexible work dynamics alongside supplemental income
As we embrace the new normal, the following key trends will underpin the growth of the gig economy in the future:
Company culture: Often, there is a lack of commitment among the gig workers towards the organizations owing to reasons like working for multiple organizations at the same time or their interactions being limited to certain function/team. The HR practices will likely be redefined with focus on engaging the gig workers in departmental meetings, company events and extending certain benefits to them to make them feel part of the company.
Technological interventions: Additionally, the gig economy, as we know it, exists because of technology. The emergence of tech platforms connecting the ‘gigsters’ and with desirable projects have made things far easier than the traditional word of mouth recommendations. Digitization of knowledge has paved the way for more objective evaluation through customer feedback and ratings. Increasing usage of AI and automation will further change how and what tasks companies delegate to independent workers as well as how they complete that work. Traditional direct selling companies are leveraging these technologies to onboard the gigsters digitally. Moreover, the company is significantly investing in digital training sessions to enhance their competencies and increase productivity.
The emergence of executive gigsters: When one thinks about skilled people engaged in the gig economy, we generally think about freelance writers, web designers etc. While these specialists will continue to be a part of the gig economy, with the millennial gig workers being agile, hardworking and self-reliant, many of them will opt for jobs which are entrepreneurial in nature.
Historically, direct selling has played a crucial role in fueling economic growth and offers an alternative to traditional employment for those wanting a flexible opportunity to supplement household income. Today, while the traditional employment landscape is witnessing disruption, the gig economy has been observing a contrasting trend.
Policies for the gig ecosystem: Because gig economy is still an emerging model, most policies and regulations remain focused on traditional employment model. However, the current situation is an opportunity for all the stakeholders – companies, government, authorities – to update the benefits and the safety net systems. One of the major examples of the policy change has been witnessed in the US wherein the gig workers can now qualify for unemployment benefits. This demonstrates a change in the status quo and acknowledges the importance of this growing segment.
Work life balance: The rise in gig economy is going to have a significant impact on the employment landscape. Not only is it going to bring work life balance to the fore front, but it is also an opportunity for people to better identify and utilize their existing talent to their maximum benefit.
Onboarding: One of the major areas of emphasis will be the onboarding of the gig workers. HR managers will need to prioritize and redesign onboarding strategy for gig workers. Employers will invest in training the gig workers and also devise ways to evaluate their performances and provide feedback at regular intervals. These will give the gigsters a sense of commitment towards their project at the organization.
As the model becomes more entrenched in the businesses, companies and policymakers alike should look at expanding the safety nets for the gig workers. With shifting demographics, a fluid workforce, increased mobility, dynamic technology, and enhanced workforce expectations and engagement, the organizational landscape is evolving. I truly believe that the gig economy will continue to grow as companies shift from experience to skill-based hiring practices and further bolster India’s employment market.