The gig economy and your workforce
The so-called gig economy is starting to change the way we think about our workforce. In the light of a recent government review, and as the working world becomes more flexible, an increasing number of professionals are opting to become independent contractors, marketing their skills to businesses, for as long as required. This new type of employee can create a new set of challenges for your businesses to manage. These professionals tend to want more flexible working arrangements and a better work-life balance. They are agile and don’t want to be tied to the traditional 9-5 working day. As such, you, as an employer, need to change how you think about your HR policies.
If you want to benefit from the gig economy and use contractors and flexible workers, you should create a plan on how you intend to allocate costs associated with them. In addition, you should agree a process by which you can set objectives, track deliverables and key milestones achievement.
Work with the right partners
If you are going to use a recruitment agency to help you employ gig economy contract workers, look for agencies that truly understand the flexible employment market. Do your due diligence and make sure they have extensive experience working with firms in your industry, as there have recently been bad press reports.
Contract workers can help you lower your talent costs. As well as employment agencies, there are various online resources available to you, such as Freelancers and Upworkers, that allow independent contractors to pitch and compete for your firm’s projects. This can help you access some of the best talents around, but at a lower cost.
Technology plays a key role in managing your flexible workforce and taking advantage of the gig economy. Contractors will need to access your systems and data. You will need to consider whether they need to use their own computer, or an allocated company-owned laptop / device, for the duration of their contract. You should also consider security, and ensure that company data held on any contract worker’s devices can be managed remotely, if required. The companies best able to tap into this growing talent pool can, in this way, access skills that may have previously been inaccessible to them. For example: some contractors may have broad multinational project-based experience, which can highly benefit your organisation.
When it comes to hiring workers or contractors, you will also need to be very clear as to what employment status they will effectively have. Please see our previous blog post on Contractors and Self Employment.