Talent management in the gig economy

The gig economy is a form of labour market, that has gained prevalence due to its characteristic distinction of short-term contracts and freelance work, instead of traditional permanent roles. With an abundance of news recently revolving around the gig economy expansion, primarily into roles such as those working in the food delivery service, for huge players such as Deliveroo, it’s critical that talent management professionals are aware of how to effectively manage, motivate and ensure these short-term contractors, are equally as qualified as their permanent counterparts.

For talent management professionals, these types of employees can be more difficult to closely monitor and manage effectively. The system is both effective and ineffective for acquiring new and talented individuals. On the one hand, talent management professionals have access to fresh talent ‘on tap,’ but equally, they may find it more difficult to retain a core team of high performing employees. Time and money invested into talent management strategies and training to improve the company via your human capital could result in an endless training loop, due to short-term contractors.

Open innovation and talent on tap

Many organisations are utilising the gig economy to bridge their talent gaps, with the short term introduction or new employees, bringing fresh ideas, a company can overhaul their innovations through employing highly skilled, short-term contractors.

Specifically build platforms, such as GigNow have been built with the aim to provide talent management professionals with access to the freelancers they require for a specific job or project. These types of platforms aim to streamline the process, to ensure valuable time is not lost during the, often lengthy, search and onboarding process.

These online systems, built to assist talent management professionals, also plan to offer their freelancers access to a learning platform. This will ensure that their platforms are a desirable source for talent, alongside ensuring they are representing the best freelancers available, who can obtain skills in coaching their colleagues, publishing their own papers and learning new skills on courses.

The gig economy is not only beneficial to talent management professionals but also offers an easier entry point to businesses for many workers. It allows those who prefer to sample a company before committing to a role permanently, benefiting both the employee and employer and saving on recruiting time and costs.

The downside of the gig economy

Zero hour contracts and ‘gig’ jobs have received plenty of controversy in the past, with their sentiment considered relatively similar. Both of the systems treat their staff as contractors, with no guarantee of hours from week to another. Gig economy roles are often paid at a set rate to perform a task, in comparison to zero hour contracts that are paid in the same way as an hourly paid contract, with no set minimum.

The contracts work efficiently for many companies, allowing them to scale up or down according to demand and seasonality. However, many workers feel like this type of work cannot be relied upon as a permanent source of income due to the uncertainty associated.

Delivering effective talent management strategies in the gig economy

Recent high profile cases, have lead to the advised approach the gig economy, that working relationships need to be clearly defined alongside establishing a balance that is both fair and beneficial for the worker and the business.

Criticism has been thrown at companies, such as Deliveroo, for misleading vocabulary in working contracts, that deliberately avoids calling their couriers by the term; ‘employees.’ The significance of this being that the company, therefore, did not have to provide their contractors with certain working practices. To avoid this type of oversight, your business talent management, and human management strategy should ensure that transparency is key across the board.

For the gig economy to continue to attract highly skilled workers, talent management professionals must put pressure on their companies and propose new contract changes to ensure that their freelance workers maintain a ‘basic level’ of workers rights. Moreover, recent court cases brought have demonstrated that the courts will still consider an employee of any degree, as just that, regardless of how the company refers to them. The court has stated that if the individual had engaged as a ‘worker’, then they would be entitled to the fundamental rights of that role.

Finally, talent management professionals need to effectively highlight the benefits of how working in the gig economy can provide flexibility for those needing alternative working hours. The gig economy can actually prove to be profitable for workers, who are highly skilled, with a relatively high rate of pay per hour for certain skills.

At Goodall Brazier we are consistently monitoring the ways in which the labour market is evolving. Utilising our in-depth knowledge of talent management strategies, we are able to source and help our clients retain the best talent for their roles, across a variety of sectors.