IS YOUR HR DEPARTMENT READY FOR THE GIG ECONOMY?

By Natanya Rutstein

 According to a PwC  Future of Work survey, 46 % of HR professionals expect at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2022. However, the survey found that only 31% of employers are basing their future talent strategies on the rise of the portfolio career. This would suggest that most organisations are not prepared for the future of diverse workforce and that HR departments need to start thinking seriously about how to include in their talent management strategy, the recruitment, retention and development of this contingent workforce. Here are some tips on how HR can prepare for this future workforce.

  1. EMBRACE YOUR GIG WORKERS: Educate managers on the similarities and differences between permanent employees and gig workers. Help them to understand how to manage gig workers, what their needs are and how to create a culture of collaboration and open communication between the different employee types on their team. According to HR journalist Cath Everett, the gig economy requires the HR profession to facilitate a change in leadership culture within their organisations from one of command-and -control to one of collaboration, mentoring and partnership. Creating a work culture without limits necessitates the building of collaborative virtual teams.
  2. RECRUITMENT– HR must consider including recruitment channels frequented by gig-workers such as mobile apps. Streamline the recruitment process to make it quick and easy to apply for a gig. Gig-workers are seeking autonomous work that provides freedom and flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance. HR must focus on creating a workplace culture which values these ideals and which are included in the organisation’s employee value proposition. These values should also be conveyed in job descriptions and on your website.
  3. ONBOARDING – Onboarding is still important but should be shortened to ensure that contingent workers are made aware of the organisation’s vision, values and processes amongst other thing to help them to align with the organisation’s culture.
  4. ENGAGEMENT – Holding on to highly talented freelancers is not easy and HR should ensure that their contingent workforce is motivated and engaged. In order to do this, they must understand what motivates and drives their gig workers. The highly-skilled gig worker usually wants to perform meaningful and interesting work. Make certain they are always challenged and engaged in making a difference.
  5. MANAGING PERFORMANCE – Research shows performance management is the weakest link in managing and engaging agile talent. Because the traditional rating system often does not apply to gig workers, managers should be trained to set clear and achievable goals. Managers should continuously monitor performance and give feedback and coaching to their gig workers to get the best out of them and achieve the objectives of the gig/project. HR should provide training for managers to sharpen their feedback and coaching skills.

Much depends on HR professionals to incorporate and ensure the success of gig workers into their organisations. As some of the brightest talent in the marketplace shifts to the gig economy model, HR departments will have to grapple with the implications for the future of talent recruitment, acquisition, development, and retention.

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