The way Americans work is changing. A third of the workforce identified as a freelancer or gig worker in 2019. After the stresses of the pandemic led to the Great Resignation, it is likely that more and more workers will reject the traditional employment model and embrace gig work, or some hybrid form of employment and side work.
Employers must adjust to this way of work if they hope to thrive in the growing gig economy. Flex work could benefit everyone, but preparation and reasonable expectations are essential.
Businesses must expect rapid change and be prepared to adjust to it with minimal disruption. They must embrace technological change but be discerning in adapting it to the needs of their customers, the capabilities of their suppliers, and the skills of their employees.
Flex workers could be important in making a business more limber. Gig workers could bring technological know-how that a company’s permanent employees lack and offer it for a limited duration, making the expertise more affordable.
The standard hierarchical structures used in traditional corporate environments might be unwelcoming to flex workers. Companies must adjust policies and processes to offer skilled gig workers adequate autonomy and opportunity for professional satisfaction.
Another side to this equation is engaging workers only when there is useful work for them to accomplish. Many flex workers would not accept positions where their talents would be underutilized. Employers must use their data to determine how best to organize and deploy their workforce to create opportunities for all employees, both permanent and flex workers, to make meaningful contributions.
Gig workers are not motivated by the same factors that traditionally elicit worker loyalty. A career path with increasing compensation and responsibility but less room for creativity might not be appealing.
The term “flex worker” says it all—participants in the gig economy value flexibility. Companies that offer the opportunity to work in accordance with their priorities have the advantage in recruiting skilled gig workers.
Flex workers also value the opportunity to hone their skills. One of the advantages of gig work is gaining the experience of working for different employers and expanding competencies in varying contexts. Employers might consider offering training and development opportunities to their gig workers to enhance their attractiveness to this talent pool.
Sometimes, permanent workers develop resentment toward gig workers under the incorrect assumption that they do not make the same commitments to employers as permanent employees. Team building and collaborative engagement could suffer as a result.
These challenges can be overcome with forethought and sensitivity. Placing gig workers in positions that make the best use of their talent and skills while continuing to provide a nurturing environment for permanent employees is possible if businesses prioritize worker satisfaction and engage responsibly with morale issues.
Although many companies have incorporated online personnel recruitment, not all make optimal use of the technologies available. Skilled workers, especially younger workers, could choose not to apply to a business with a clunky online recruitment process or one that seems irrelevant to the talent sought.
Many industries boast specialized job boards or platforms that focus on the specific needs of the particular sector. In the warehouse and logistics field, for example, HapiGig provides employers with a pool of screened and vetted warehouse workers seeking temporary or flex work. Companies that are not positioned to rework their recruitment processes might find such services fit their needs.