In recent years, the traditional workplace has undergone a great many changes. Decades ago, the internet began digitalizing many of our assets and work processes; fast forward to today, and it's completely revolutionized how we work.
Automation has been around for years, communications occur effortlessly across the globe, and more and more business is transacted online. This, coupled with the recent pandemic, has forced us to reconsider how employees get their work done. Employees are increasingly contributing to projects remotely instead of operating in offices, and employers have access to global talent - now more than ever before.
All that to say, it’s no wonder the gig economy is thriving.
With that said, below, we’ll discuss how the gig economy impacts the workplace paradigm and recruitment trends. There's plenty to sink our teeth into, so let's dive straight in!
What's The Gig-Economy?
For the uninitiated, here’s a quick definition of the gig economy: an umbrella term describing a labor market comprising short-term contracts and freelance work. I.e., not permanent, full-time work as a traditional employee.
For years, the gig economy has played an essential role across various industries. It was at first prevalent in sectors like hospitality, where seasonal workers might be called into the workplace on an as-needed basis.
Now, the following kinds of professionals also fuel the gig economy.
Independent contractors and professionals
In recent years, the gig economy has blown up. The pandemic hugely exacerbated its growth, which forced people to stay home. Here are just a few of the many stats that outline the gig economy's increasing prevalence:
The number of global gig workers is expected to rise to 78 million in 2023
50% of freelancers are skilled workers in fields like IT, programming, counseling, and marketing
36% of freelancers freelance as a full-time job
86% of freelancers think the best days for freelancing are still to come
By the end of 2023, 52% of workers are predicted to have spent some of their careers as independent workers
Armed with an understanding of what the gig economy is, let's take a closer look at how this impacts the future of work:
Flexibility Is the New Status Quo
As we've already said, the pandemic introduced remote working in a big way. Moreover, it gave a large portion of the workforce a taste of working from home on their own terms - and people like it. When offered the opportunity to work remotely, 87% of workers take it.
Remote work introduces flexibility like never before. For example, people can care for their children while they work, work the hours they feel most productive, and complete chores throughout the working day.
With that said, it's no wonder that 49% of gig workers named the ability to set their own hours as the most significant draw of working in the gig economy. In fact, 63% of gig workers claim they would prefer a flexible working schedule to a bigger salary.
The lesson to be learned here is clear: Businesses that embrace flexibility are more likely to attract and retain talent.
But there’s more. Flexibility goes both ways - employees aren't the only ones to benefit.
By embracing the flexibility of remote working, businesses can hire talent from all over the world, enabling you to benefit from expertise and skills that otherwise might have been inaccessible.
But, more specifically, when hiring freelancers working remotely, your business could save money. Instead of hiring lots of full-time employees, companies can cut overhead costs by dipping into the gig economy just when a project demands an extra pair of hands. Interestingly, in one study, 43% of organizations hiring gig workers saved at least 20% in labor expenses.
4 ways to Adjust Your Hiring Strategy Accordingly
Despite the many benefits of embracing the booming gig economy, shifting gears presents new challenges that HR pros must prepare for. With that said, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. You’ll Need New Tech to Manage Your Workforce
To embrace gig economy workers, you’ll need a tech stack that empowers you to communicate with freelancers and manage their workloads remotely. This should include video conferencing tools and a reliable platform for handling deadlines, onboarding, and freelancer payments. Bubty is one such option that permits you to streamline these processes to ensure a fruitful collaboration with your freelance team.
2. Find Gig Workers
You’ll also need to learn how to spot and vet talent in new ways. For example, while you can post a traditional job ad, many businesses opt to find gig workers via freelancer marketplaces and agencies.
Depending on your chosen service, such a platform might connect you with the best-suited talent for your job according to their vetting/matching criteria. However, these specialized services often come with higher fees.
You will actually be surprised how many gig workers your company already knows, more about that in Create a Network of Past Workers. Let alone that LinkedIn is a naturally great source for finding amazing freelancers.
Previously the problem with that was, keeping track of who you connect with. Since there was never a place to invite freelancers too other than your personal LinkedIn. Luckily systems like FMS gives the whole company a centralized environment to invite and engage with these sourced freelancers.
Either way, if you do want to source freelancers from a platform, we suggest asking yourself the following questions as you go about picking your talent sources:
Does the platform work with freelancers with the specific skill sets you’re looking for? Some services hone in on particular fields, for instance, Codeable for WordPress hires and MarketeHire, for yes, you guessed it, marketers.
How well are freelancers vetted? Whose responsibility is it to ensure the collaboration is a good fit?
How much does the platform charge? What cut of the collaboration do they take? Is there a hiring fee? (This is often very overrated).
3. Embrace the Needs of Freelancers
To attract and retain pros working in the gig economy, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to help ensure they’ll happily work with you again:
Don’t micromanage. Embrace flexibility and allow freelancers to work their own schedules.
Embrace diversity. Foster a culture of inclusion and diversity to welcome talent from all over the world.
Be an A-class communicator. Ensure freelancers know precisely what needs delivering, when, and what’s expected of them. It’s wise to give them a point of contact so that they can raise questions and concerns. Check in regularly, provide feedback, and give freelancers opportunities to give their input.
Avoid confusion about payments. Nothing sours freelancer relationships quicker than delayed compensation - Use a tool like Bubty to pay freelancers worldwide, on time, every time.
Connect. Freelancers might not sit in an office with you every day, but they’re still people that want to feel like they’re a part of your organization. So, include freelancers in social events and take an interest in freelancers as people to foster a positive relationship.
4. Create a Network of Past Workers
Due to the (sometimes) short-term nature of freelance projects and the fact freelancers are free to work whenever for whoever they want, it can be challenging to establish long-lasting relationships. Not only that, but inevitably, not everyone will be a great fit. So, it’s vital to retain top talent when you find it.
While freelancers might not become full-time employees (although you can certainly put that option out there if appropriate), many might be open to collaborating in the future. So, keep the details of high-quality freelancers to hand so you can be ready to contact them again when the need arises.
A platform like Bubty enables you to add talent to your own freelancer network, making it easy for you to reach out to them again in the future. You can save details like their experience, skills, and payment details to streamline the onboarding process for new projects.
Conclusion: The Gig Economy is Here to Stay
The workforce might never return to what we used to know. With digital innovations ever increasing, our relationship with work will likely continue changing to embrace more flexibility. Employees want more of a say in how they work, who they work for, and how they schedule their lives.
So, when it comes to the gig economy, we reckon businesses will need to learn how to embrace staff as true collaborators, including meeting them on their terms.
Managing freelancers and fostering loyalty to your brand is one of the biggest challenges in navigating the gig economy. That’s where tools like Bubty come into their own. With Bubty, you can onboard, collaborate, and pay freelancers from the convenience of one place. Ensuring a smooth collaboration amidst your network of freelancers. Intrigued? Why not book a demo today to see what Bubty could do for you?