Love your gig workers? Need your gig workers? Show them!

Posted by Melanie Langsett, Peter DeBellis, and Zac Shaw on March 20, 2019.

While organizations are starting to take the first steps to understand and offer rewards packages that are custom tailored to their employee’s preferences, they have only begun to scratch the surface. In particular, nearly all organizations have focused on considering the needs of their employees and are missing out on a large segment of their workforce—contractors, freelancers, and gig workers.

Today’s organizations are continuing to leverage the skill sets of many gig workers within their everyday business operations at an increasing rate, often without even knowing the exact number of these workers they are engaged with at any given time. Given the “here to stay” nature of the gig economy, it’s reasonable to expect that employers’ demand for gig workers will continue to grow in order to address a variety of needs and new realities, including:

  • The need to establish more agile and cost-efficient labor/talent/workforce models
  • The growing desire of many individuals to work in a gig model
  • The shrinking of traditional talent pools
  • The need for workers with adaptable skills in the tech age

So, if gig workers are increasingly imperative to achieving business results, how can organizations access, curate, and engage them? By becoming an irresistible destination for the best gig talent. That starts with refining talent strategies to address what gig workers want and need. This could include things like…

  • Customized rewards that go beyond a paycheck. As traditional talent models continue to shift, companies that start offering rewards outside of traditional payment to their gig workers could be ahead of the game and set themselves apart as a standout and desired employer.
  • Relationships built for the long term. The traditional approach for managing gig workers is outdated and needs to be refreshed. Specifically, many organizations have tended to view this talent pool through a short-term lens—here today, gone tomorrow—without considering the long-term potential for building gig workers into their culture. Organizations that brand themselves as a place that values gig workers—and live their brand through the experience they create for gig workers—set themselves up to be able to rely on gig resources as a flexible and adaptable talent pool to achieve long-term business objectives.

However: First things first! It’s important not to assume you know what gig workers want and value. Make it a point to better understand who (and how many) your gig workers are, understanding their needs and preferences and taking action on what you learn. Continually sensing your whole workforce’s needs is a critical capability in the Future of HR, and our experience shows that not enough organizations are doing it. There’s real opportunity here for those that will step up to show gig workers how much they matter.

Melanie Langsett is a principal in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP and leads Deloitte’s Rewards and Well-being Market Offering.

Peter DeBellis is a vice president and the total rewards research leader at Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Zac Shaw is a consultant in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP.

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