The gig economy by any other name (shared, contingent) is still a growing force of workers that get paid on a contingent or “gig” basis.
An army of consultants, freelancers, and temporary staffers, they could represent at least 75 million workers in the U.S., with the power to make serious changes in the ways businesses work.
How Gig Economics Reconfigures Relationships
Gig workers, who have the option of working for multiple companies at once, often acquire broad skillsets that allow them to work faster — and more intelligently — across departments and channels.
For employers, the opportunity to hire gig workers on an as-needed basis allows them to reduce redundancy rates, healthcare costs, and facility overhead without compromising service.
In fact, smart businesses can capitalize on multi-talented gig workers to increase their range of services, all without the risk of overstaffing.
But there are issues.
In order to cement a reliable workforce, businesses must learn to foster loyalty among freelancers who have the choice to work for anyone, keep ahead of changes in platforms, and embrace a new kind of flexibility.
3 Ways Businesses Must Change to Take Advantage of the Gig Market
There are many things businesses must rework, revise, and reconfigure to make capitalizing on the gig economy not just feasible — but profitable.
Let’s explore some of the most impactful strategies businesses can use right now to increase their utilization of this burgeoning market.
1. Develop Strong Relationships
To capitalize on freelance talent, businesses must learn to foster real relationships with their gig workers.
Keeping them engaged is one way to increase loyalty and help freelancers feel like part of the corporate culture.
Businesses should include gig employees in engagement campaigns, corporate communications, and company milestones, with an emphasis on celebrating successes.
To avoid the frustration that often develops between geographically widespread employees, companies must develop clear channels of communications along with easy-to-use platforms for assignments, and most importantly, pay.
2. Implement Intuitive — and Reliable — Pay Platforms
Pay is a critical touchpoint for freelancers. In fact, 74% of freelancers in a recent research survey indicated they would have, or already have, dropped a marketplace due to a payment issue.
And losing freelancers is a kind of churn businesses can’t afford.
Even though you’re saving money on health care and benefit costs with freelancers, you have appreciable expenditures in onboarding, training, and continuity.
Losing a valuable asset after the onboarding and training process is wasted money that can be retained using the proper, flexible, transparent pay platform.
3. Use Online Talent Platforms Wisely
Online talent platforms like Upwork, Monster, and LinkedIn can effectively connect talent with opportunities.
But it’s not just about hiring. Companies can not only recruit from these platforms, but motivate and improve productivity once new freelancers start work.
A McKinsey study estimates that using platforms in this way can increase company output by up to 9%, while reducing recruiting and human resources costs by 7%.
Pivoting to Join the Gig Economy
With the pool of diverse, renewable talent sources growing, it would be a mistake not to opt in to the multi-faceted world of gig economics.
Smart businesses will find intuitive ways to cultivate relationships with their best freelancers.
Providing extensive onboarding and inclusion methods, swift and transparent pay platforms, and using proper motivation through recommendations on online talent platforms are all sound strategies for fostering freelancer loyalty.
As the gig market continues to grow, businesses must be flexible and willing to face the challenges that multiple hiring platforms, long-distance workers, and changing technology bring to the hiring table.
Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
As a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader, Matt’s focused on helping businesses leverage technology and the internet to grow.