The Agile Workplace – Gig Workers

The talent landscape has become increasingly more substantial over the past few years.  Workers are in perpetual search of meaningful engagements that reflect their core values, develop them personally and professionally, with a flexibility that enhances their lifestyle, and coaching that nurtures their competencies.  This is most evident in the rise of contract, freelance – or “gig” – workers.  This burgeoning group of talent is creating a new, skills-based economy in which workers have begun refashioning the future of work and bolstering a shift towards a more blended workforce.

According to a joint study by Upwork and Freelancers Union, “Freelancing in America,” 35% of U.S. workers are already working a gig, either full-time or as a side hustle, with over 60% of them having only started within the last five years. This “liquid workforce” presents some new challenges for those accustomed to hiring for traditional roles.   Many freelancers have made the conscious choice to leave behind that type of position specifically to find a better balance, both in life and work. Shown below are some tips on how to hire (and retain) skilled gig workers.

Align the Benefits

Work-life balance, flexibility, and autonomy are at the top of the list of must-haves for gig workers. Asking them to be in the office – whether physically or remote – from 9 to 5 will more often than not result in losing them before there’s even been a chance to start their paperwork.  The technology – video conferencing, cloud-based project management, and collaboration tools – is easy to access and implement, making remote work a seamless option. Be sure to include what kind of and how much flexibility you can offer in the job posting itself.  In fact, put that right up top.

Define the Work

Do your company-approved job descriptions read like a hefty laundry list of responsibilities (including statements like “can follow instructions”) and only vaguely discuss what and how the person will actually be contributing? This is a major turn-off for your target audience in general, and for gig workers in particular.  One of the main benefits of gig work is the speed of delivery.  Be clear and concise about what you need to be accomplished as well as the anticipated outcomes, including timelines, systems, and resources.   This will keep you from having to sift through a stack of wildly unqualified applications and will have a much bigger appeal to the gig worker.

Shift the Focus

Corporate culture is certainly important, but when looking to hire gig workers, it should fall a bit lower on the priority list.  Focus, instead, on their proven ability to get the kind of results you are looking for.  Oftentimes, they will be able to provide you with an online portfolio to showcase their projects and achievements – and if not readily available, ask for a work sample.

Build the Ecosystem

Gig workers offer tremendous value to your organization. Adopting a partnership – as opposed to a vendor-supplier – mindset will demonstrate that you appreciate the work they do and value the caliber of talent they bring to your team. Encourage collaboration, establish open lines of communication, and facilitate strong working relationships between your traditional and gig workers, which will help them develop their own team ethos and build trust and respect.

ICON is positioned to help companies just like yours with onboarding, candidate communication and compliance automation in this new “gig economy.”  We specialize and have expertise in technology, engineering, creative, human resources, and more.  Reach out to us today!