Improving Employee Experience for Gig Workforce
The gig economy is defined as a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations typically contract with individual workers to complete short-term engagements.
It is a challenging time for employees and employers right now. Although most of the currently large remote workforce will likely return to their offices after the pandemic ends, a significant number of formerly full-time employees may find themselves part of the gig economy, whether by choice or necessity.
“Whether someone is with the organization for three months or three years, their experiences at work matters. Gig workers and freelancers are not robots; they are people just the same as other salaried employees. When working in the organization they need to feel included and heard.”
The number of freelancers is only likely to grow even more as time goes on. For this reason, employers may need to address the employee experience (EX) for their freelance and gig workers.
Do Proper Orientation
When new team members are contracted, their orientation is often minimal or even non-existent. It can be quite perplexing and create a sense of isolation, especially when they do not have an opportunity to learn from others on the job. Therefore, a briefing document, followed by a live orientation is a great way to introduce a freelancer to the team, communicate the company values and standards, and get them off to the right start.
Create a Sense of Belonging
Belonging is a driver of engagement and ultimately an individual’s motivation – gig workers are no different. The gig worker needs to feel that they belong to the team. Regular teambuilding and virtual events that bring people together can be a good start. Also, recognition is just as important with gig workers like the others. A great way to recognize the good work of project-based employees and bring them all to one table can be through learning opportunities and experiences.
Establish Strong Connect
In these days of increased remote work for all types of employees, this has relevance for everyone. However, gig workers and freelancers who work remotely can often feel more disconnected than others. Make sure to provide tools and methods for them to communicate so that they feel like they’re part of the team and they can easily get information, ask questions, and be included in conversations.
Provide Structure and Consistency
To ensure that a gig worker has a great experience working by providing a structure that they can rely on — even though they may not have as much access or interaction as full-time employees do.
Write a handbook or set of guidelines that ensure that they are included in the right types of meetings, discussions, and provided appropriate information in time. Sometimes it’s as simple as “out of sight, out of mind” for other teammates. Providing structure and consistency for freelancers and gig workforce can improve their experience working, and it can improve work output as well.
Be Mindful Of Differences in Financial Security
Contractors and gig workers may not have the same financial security that full-time employees have. Full-time employees generally enjoy consistent pay, employer-sponsored health insurance, and retirement plans and paid time off.
Gig workers and freelancers, on the other hand, typically do not get any of these benefits. While they might often be paid a higher hourly wage than a full-time employee doing the same type of work, they have to take care of many things with that additional money.
You can demonstrate empathy by allowing for a little flexibility, understanding, and addressing their unique needs can help improve their employee experience.
Gig workers are no different from permanent employees when it comes to building perceptions of the employer brand. Understanding their experience throughout the employee lifecycle is crucial to ensuring the organization is providing a culture first experience.
A gig worker’s employee lifecycle is shorter compared to permanent employees and they work at multiple organizations in a year. Gig workers can be a great platform to leverage employer brand.
Providing an enriching experience to gig workers is critical because Gig workers advocating an organization’s brand in the market will build a reputation and help in attracting another potential talent including gig workers themselves.
While much of the emphasis on employee experience has been related to full-time employees, I believe it is time for Organizations to pay more attention to the growing contract and gig workforce and apply the same thinking to their experience. By building an engaged workforce of gig workers now, organization will be well-positioned to remain relevant and agile in the ever-changing world.
Some Data Points
|.About 36% of US workers are involved in the gig economy. |
·The gig economy is expanding three times faster than the US workforce as a whole.
·India has emerged as the fifth largest country in flexible staffing, much like the gig economy, behind US, China, Brazil, and Japan.
·India added 1.2 million flexi workers since 2015 and is expected to employ nearly 3 million by 2021.
·Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), IT, and retail will account for over half of the flexi staff.
·In India 70 percent corporates have used gig workers at least once, for major organizational issues in 2018, men and women both have an almost 50:50 split in the gig economy
·Nearly 45 percent of the Human Resource Heads want to hire a gig worker