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The Gig Economy Revolution: Preparing for the Inevitable Future

September 16th, 2020

Human Resources, gig economy

3 min read

There’s a revolution happening. The shape of labor itself is shifting. Whatever the reasons for this, the question is...is your company ready for it?

The gig economy is known for its many names: outsourcing, freelancing, contract working, and more. Regardless, it is shaking up the conventional methods of hiring, something that we believe your company should definitely prepare for. 

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The numbers speak for themselves:


  • There are 150 million freelancers in North America and Western Europe.
  • The number of people transitioning to becoming independent contractors has swelled by 4 million since 2014. 
  • While 41% of executives believe that preparing to take on freelancers is important, only 8% of them have actually done something towards this shift.
  • Finally, it’s predicted that freelancers will outnumber regular employees by 2027.

 

And we’re not talking about the U.S. alone. These changes are happening throughout the world. For instance, outsourcing is already outpacing employment growth in France, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

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There are different factors that contribute to this shift. Millennials were met with significant debt in the form of college loans, for striving to finish degrees that sadly, didn’t really guarantee employment. Thus, Generation Z responded to this by opting for internships, travel opportunities, and other self-education methods in order to broaden their horizons.

Gen Zers were also more acutely aware of the benefits of freelancing, especially in providing a better work/life balance. 

Understandably, older working generations are also taking the hint. We are seeing a lot of parents preferring contractual projects in order to spend more time with their kids and care for their aging parents. Meanwhile, the retirees themselves who still enjoy working are also happy to give this “modern” method a try.

The result? It has left employers struggling to attract the best talents into their company. The gig economy, after all, isn’t just thriving. It’s exploding.

Opening Your Doors for Gig Workers

Don’t be left behind. This is the perfect opportunity to finally modify your HR policies and make it adapt to the inevitable future of employment. Here then, are a few things that you might want to consider:

  • Gig Opportunities. Are there any positions that you can allow gig workers to handle? For instance, positions that allow remote working possibilities such as copywriting, graphic design, and web development are the best places to start. Some companies also experience peak seasons during which they require more aid. Recognizing these opportunities is essential in order to start accommodating freelancers or contract workers.
  • Employee Benefits. While you still need to allot funds to pay your gig workers, one of the main pros of hiring freelancers is that they don’t require benefits anymore, or at least, not in the same way your traditional employees do. This is also the secret in preventing your traditional employees from shifting over to gigging. Enhance their benefits and consider more job flexibility.
  • Tools and Methods. Finally, you should also set-up how you’re going to track your gig worker’s productivity and make their results more uniform. There are various time-tracking tools and methods that you can apply into your current set-up. Enforcing deadlines will also help in motivating gig workers to meet your project timeline. Meanwhile, creating templates for them to follow is essential to get consistent results even with multiple freelancers working on the same task.

A New Generation of Professionals

We’re seeing a rise of Gen Z workers in the economy. Hence, if their fresh talent is what your company needs, then be sure to create the work environment that they prefer. Empower them with the latest tools and technologies and allow work-from-home arrangements.

Be aware that Gen Z workers also tend to be more fluid when it comes to keeping jobs. Many of them don’t even expect to stay with the same company after just a couple of years.

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Another factor to consider is their measure of success. Money is an important language to them, so cash rewards and bonuses would definitely be preferred over certificates or social media recognition.

To sum up, the two main elements to consider are autonomy and compensation.

As Shelley Smith of Premier Rapport so eloquently puts it:

“As Generation Z begins to enter the workspace, the traditional worker as we know it” will begin to fade even quicker. The gig economy will no longer be a trend, but the norm. The impact on businesses will either make them more agile and innovative, or they will find themselves in a world of hurt for workers.”

The Question of Safety and Legality

Finally, but crucially, we recognize that one of the biggest employer concerns is the safety and security of their company, their assets and workplace. After all, it can be hard to put your trust in someone who is not bound by the traditional contract. 

Hence, be sure to conduct the same background security checks that you require of your traditional employees. This is crucial, especially if you’re going to provide your gig worker access to delicate company information such as financial data, client profiles, and more.

There is a hefty fine awaiting any company that suffers a security breach that puts customer information at risk, even if such breach originates with a third-party contractor.

Remember, Non-disclosure Agreements are only as good as the person who signs it.

On the other hand, amendments are also being made in order to ensure gig workers’ rights, especially when it comes to being paid on time and in full. 

Needless to say, the shifting landscape has spurred lawmakers worldwide to broaden the legalities pertaining to freelancers and their work, so make sure to stay on top of the new laws that are being passed pertaining to non-traditional workers to avoid being penalized. 

In the end, the keyword to keep in mind here is “shift”. Since we’re living in a world of constant change, it is important to always stay updated and make your company as adaptable and accommodating as possible. Be prepared to enact new rules, perform updated risk assessments, review existing work-employee relationships, and recognize areas in need of adjustments.

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