Leading Gig Workers
In this gig economy, people work at many side jobs, short-term contracts and freelance jobs. The 2017 Intuit study on the on-demand economy predicts that 9.2 million Americans will choose on-demand jobs by 2021. Many successful, innovative businesses already employ remote workers and have managers leading gig workers; many more are slowly opting for them.
Advantages and Challenges of Leading Gig Workers
You can engage gig workers to work on short-term or seasonal projects. This has many advantages, such as a stress-free internal workforce, possibility of more services, reduced delivery times, quicker responses, and more.
Leading gig workers is beneficial because they can relate to your customers as peers rather than as salespeople or service providers, which makes them better at customer engagements. As they are often willing to travel to work, you can expand your business and gain access to new markets.
Gig employees enjoy flexible lifestyles and a greater sense of freedom because of remote work, opportunities to choose extra hours and preferred employers, and payment per job. This helps towards union avoidance, as a union of self-employed workers seems contrary to the idea of flexibility.
However, they have far fewer opportunities for face-to-face interaction and a sense of belonging, which may result in low motivation and morale.
Leading Gig Workers Well
Your business growth depends on how you manage your permanent employees as well as gig workers.
Planning: Rather than pursuing gig workers at times of need, make hiring and managing them a part of your business strategy.
Recruitment: Hire good candidates from reputable sites, such as LinkedIn and Upwork.
Classification: Carefully consider the scope of work and role of the gig worker so that you don’t classify them incorrectly and land in trouble.
Objectives: Like all employees, gig workers need to know your expectations of them. Inform them of business processes, set goals and deadlines, define standards, and review their performances. Also, ask for their opinions and give them due consideration.
Communication: In a blended workforce, team members may never see each other, and emails may not suffice for knowledge transfer. Facilitate real-time communication through multiple channels.
Compensation: Although freelancers prefer flexibility and control over their careers more than anything else, they may not work at reduced rates. Discuss and decide optimal payment terms when leading gig workers.
Collaboration: Cross-functional teams, with remote workers and matrixed team members working in various projects, may feel disjointed. Encourage camaraderie among all employees, by helping them share information and organizing events where everyone can gather.
Training: Although not necessary, including gig workers in training sessions is mutually beneficial.
If you are efficient at leading gig workers, your business will be agile, scalable, immune to job market issues, and attract many talented workers.