Tapping into the contingent workforce, also known as the gig economy, could be an effective way for warehouse owners and managers to address their hiring needs without adding expensive full-time staff to their workforces. For most warehousing businesses, attracting and maintaining relationships with high-performing gig workers requires a different approach than they might use to bring in permanent employees.
In the past, employers often treated temporary or contract workers as “less than.” These days, gig workers are highly skilled and in high demand. They choose flex work because they like the mobility and lifestyle.
A company that is attractive to gig workers has a competitive advantage over businesses relying on the full-time, permanent staffing model. Providing a welcoming and enriching environment for flex warehouse workers is especially important now, as many full-time workers are rethinking how much time and energy they are willing to devote to their jobs.
Like any other employee, a gig worker wants to feel that they are contributing and that their efforts are meaningful. You are paying them for their time, but noticing, appreciating, and respecting their skill set is equally important.
If possible, inform a gig worker of team goals and help them understand how their efforts impact the team’s progress. Warehouse supervisors should be encouraged to provide useful and supportive feedback to gig workers to help them improve their skills and integrate more seamlessly into the workplace.
Offer recognition when a gig worker’s contributions are particularly valuable. If their project ends, an employer might suggest that the worker shift roles or even offer them a permanent position. Offering warehouse flex workers such options demonstrates that they are valued and creates a positive association with the employer.
Giving flex workers opportunities to exercise different competencies or use a skillset in different contexts might be appealing to those looking for mental stimulation.
Similarly, gig workers are often eager to learn new things and expand their skillsets. Employers who provide their temporary workers opportunities for training and skills enhancement position themselves well to attract motivated gig workers.
Companies looking to attract high-quality flex labor need to establish a presence on the platforms used by their desired workers. Using online platforms that pull from particular talent pools is an effective strategy.
For example, HapiGig is a service that connects flex workers with employers in the warehousing industry. A skilled warehouse worker applies on the platform and, after going through a meticulous vetting process, becomes a W2 HapiGig employee. Warehouse owners and operators can access the platform to find gig workers who meet their flex labor needs, and the worker can choose which assignments to accept. This process is a win-win for all involved.
Some flex workers might prefer to stay with a specific employer for some time before moving on to another gig to take full advantage of a particularly beneficial work environment. Others appreciate the opportunity to return to previous employers after completing other gigs.
Warehousing businesses may increase retention of excellent gig workers by offering them continuous or periodic opportunities. Making an effort to find a place for top flex workers could pay off by substantially reducing the costs of recruitment, training, and onboarding.
Warehousing companies should recognize that gig workers can be essential cogs in their operations for the foreseeable future. Those businesses who strive to appeal to high-quality flex workers and tune in to what they desire in their workplace will reap the benefits of a deep talent pool.