Nigel Filer, COO, Proteus developed by Xergy
The gig economy is growing fast. With the pandemic increasing redundancies and furlough amongst permanent labour, many workers have looked to alternative work over the past year and companies are adopting new operating models. However as the trend continues and the new way of working is here to stay, businesses will have to re-evaluate their working relationships with the gig economy if they hope to have a prosperous future.
As our priorities shift and digital capabilities expand, the working world is moving to a new iteration of non-permanent labour. The traditional model of freelancers has always been one of confinement: viewing freelancers as suitable only for certain industries or tasks and treating their skills as lesser than their permanent counterparts. But now we’re seeing a new era of flexible work, supported by technology, which repositions freelancers as gig workers. A gig worker revolution, if you will.
This revolution involves the use of digital platforms to connect gig workers with projects, combined with a conceptual shift that values their work and the benefits each individual brings. The new gig worker relationship centres on choice and even sectors that have historically been wedded to the in-house model, such as the diversified energy industry, have begun to usher this new era in across areas of their business. The impact this shift will have on the wider economy will undoubtedly be significant and one that is certainly worth watching closely.
Digital Transformation to Attract the Gig Economy
In order to capitalise on this emerging trend, businesses need to harness the technology available to maximise productivity and engage this new generation of highly skilled workers. In doing so they will remain competitive, those who do not will simply fall behind. However, to attract this freelance talent, companies must offer something worth the prospective contractor’s time to the table. And this is where technology comes in to help businesses bring their A-game.
Embracing the role of technology is essential and by far the most effective way to support and participate in the gig economy. Technology provides clear end-to-end visibility of legislation that has historically been a grey area. Cloud-based platforms help identify gig workers, and employers can be confident that they have a compliant, flexible and motivated gig workforce. Using cloud-based work automation and collaboration systems can create solutions for seamless processes and fast decision making. As a result, your business stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Technology such as AI can help to hyper-target candidates at the recruiting and talent management stage, resulting in greater operational efficiency, streamlining how the best profiles match the skills needed to meet the deliverables of a project. Promoting this when sourcing and engaging contractual talent will improve relationships with the non-permanent workforce.
Promoting the technological progression within a company will not only accelerate productivity but talent demand. Creating a networking ecosystem will foster a sense of collaboration and a hub where the internal and external workforce can thrive. Changing the legacy systems that are powering industry leaders will streamline decision-making and enhance the human resources processes, thus transforming the relationship with gig workers.
Offering the capacity to enjoy a work-life balance whilst working for a company that embraces gig workers will be essential in strengthening this relationship. The same excellent facilities pitched to permanent workers will be extended at the talent attraction stage. Gig workers will not hesitate in taking their skills elsewhere if businesses fall short in making these changes. Being able to deliver the benefits and perks with the technology to match will be a game-changer.
Embracing the Gig Economy for Future Prosperity
Shaking up the way businesses engage with talent opens up a wealth of opportunities, and this requires urgent attention. The pandemic has proved that remote working doesn’t equal a decrease in efficiency and tools like video conferencing software are commonplace and cost-effective. This means that companies who are participating in the gig economy have access to the global community of talent so they can pick world experts for their projects and aren’t confined by locality. Companies will have a diversity of skills and experiences at their fingertips.
The gig worker revolution isn’t an imagined future: it’s a reality that’s unfolding in the present. Businesses across every industry now have a choice. They can respond to this change and embrace the vast benefits that gig workers can bring, or they can watch themselves suffer, both in employee morale and financially. I say it’s better to move with the times than be pierced by the lance of the past.