Technology continues to transform what the world of work looks like. The conventional 9-to-5 ‘job for life’ is less common than ever before, with more and more people becoming part of the so-called ‘gig economy’.
For the most part, it’s a term designed to encompass self-employed people that take per-piece work and get paid by task or for short term contracts, not by the hour or as part of a salary. It’s a flexible way of working that gives people more control over what they do, when they do it, and how much they earn. It’s also a way to let employers right-size the workforce and create flexibility around the work and avoid costs associated with employment like holidays and sickness pay - something that has driven the growth of firms like Uber and Deliveroo.
Today, 15% of all UK workers are self-employed. An estimated five million people are part of the gig economy. But while the benefits are big for workers and employers alike, this creates new challenges for managing resources. In a world transformed, traditional methods just don’t work.
1. Know when to take advantage of the gig economy
The prospect of increasing your flexibility and cutting the costs and responsibilities of employment is tempting - but not right for every situation. Tapping into the gig economy can be, well, a false economy.
In a legal sense, it’s important to know where the line is between employed and self-employed. If you demand rather than request work, expect specific working hours week-after-week, or pay your workers a regular amount each month, this is likely to fall into the employment bracket with all the associated liabilities including PAYE.
The gig economy is there when flexibility and scalability are truly essential. For example, if you have a big project you need to push through, or wildly unpredictable workloads to deal with, opening the door to self-employed workers can be an effective way to control costs and increase resources short-term.
2. Speed up your talent acquisition processes
Agility is a major advantage of the gig economy, so it’s no good if your recruitment processes slow things down. Making talent acquisition more efficient is the combination of improving traditional processes and adding new technologies and methods to the mix.
At the most basic level, it can be useful to get expert help with your job specifications. An effective job spec will help you reach the people with the right skills for the role in record time. Meanwhile, new interviewing and recruitment tools like soft skill assessments and chatbots can filter recruitment pools to save you time and money.
3. Improve your project management
To match your available gig workers to demand, you need a precise view over your projects - not just the resources you need today, but the resources you might need in a week or month’s time.
You can achieve this at a technical level by examining your processes for project management, whether that’s using pen-and-paper or a digital tool. Just as you need to provide meeting rooms where your employees can collaborate and understand how their individual tasks connect, you may need to provide a virtual space where gig workers can get together and view their tasks.
You may also need to help your managers adapt to new ways of managing resources with training and development.
4. Don’t forget the worker experience
For a long time, HR experts have underlined the importance of employee experience. To stay productive and engaged, people need motivation, good communication, and a strong relationship with their employer. While the terminology may have changed, this remains exactly the same for gig workers. In fact, the stakes are higher than ever. If an employee is having a bad experience, they’ll need to make a big decision about their future and whether the experience warrants finding a new job. For gig workers, finding new work is standard practice, making it far easier to end a relationship with your business. As you begin to find the talent you need, invest time and energy in retaining it. We can help you find inexpensive and easy-to-use technologies that develop relationships based on two-way feedback, helping you keep hold of workers for longer and keep flexible resources available.
Do you need help managing your gig economy resources? Or managing the rest of your team in turbulent times? From training to practical advice, we’re here to help. Make an enquiry or Book a free consultation to discuss the HR challenges you’re facing.
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