Opinion

Six tips to make the gig economy work for your business

While gigs offer flexibility to workers, it helps businesses complete assignments on time, is a cost-effective way to access talent to scale up and facilitates better management to solve issues related to unexpected turnover and no shows.

Anju Kanodia
25th Mar 2019
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The gig economy has been changing the way we look at work and hiring. Gigs are essentially freelance, part-time, and short-term projects that offer great flexibility to workers and professionals. Employers and businesses benefit from the gig economy to get assignments completed that are time bound and have specific requirements or recurring tasks with measurable results. This flexible model of working offers a unique set of benefits for both parties. As more job seekers enter the gig economy, organisations now have a diverse talent pool at their disposal to work on a wide selection of projects.


The growth of this trend in India is evidenced from a recent 2018 PayPal study that shows one out of every four freelancers are from India, and the market has a potential to grow from $20 billion to 30 billion by 2025. India was also estimated to have over 15 million freelancers in 2015, a talent pool that continues to grow.

Now, job seekers are also more willing to give this on-demand model a shot for a whole multitude of reasons. The freedom to choose when to work, where to work from, and what projects to take on is appealing to freelancers. Earning an extra income, gaining more work experience, and diversifying their skills by working in multiple industries adds to the charm of the gig economy. For businesses, the ability to recruit talent on-demand for part time projects keeps them agile and reduces unnecessary hires.


By tapping into gig economy, a business can use freelancers to get quality and timely work done across various verticals that will contribute positively to efficiency and the bottom line.


Evidence of the growing need for the gig model is seen in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey, which shows that 88 percent of companies believe in the importance of redesigning their work model.


Here are six perspectives on making the most of the gig economy for your business.  


1. Are all your bases covered?


You’re doing great. The last few quarters have been the best ever. Pause for minute. Success can sometimes lead to lethargy. In today’s connected world, consumers will end up crossing paths with your business from various touch points. What are those first experiences like? Remember, a first impression is everything in our digital world. Is your website mobile friendly? Has your blog been updated recently and is your content SEO-friendly? What’s your online reputation like? If the answer to any of these basic questions is “I’m not sure” or worse “No”, you need to look at an upgrade. You can easily tap into the gig economy for the expertise to get these tasks done on an assignment basis.  


2. Why build another team?


A bloated workforce is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention all the costs that have been sunk getting there. Before you look at a big addition to your business, think like a startup. A solid cost-benefit analysis coupled with a lean approach should de-risk any potential blunders. You will be able to access a whole range of affordable consultants, designers, and consumers through the gig economy to get essential feedback before you take on a large project / product development, which helps to negate unnecessary long-term hires.


3. Upskill your existing people


The daily grind of a full-time job leaves little to no room for knowledge growth. In a world of metrics, bottom lines, and deliverables, there is not much incentive from employees to stay ahead of the knowledge curve. One task I am particularly fond of is to have motivation and skill building exercises across our organisation. We bring in guest speakers, educators, and even sports psychologists to help our employees reignite the passion for learning and encourage them to ask a whole lot of questions. This works very well in getting the entire group on the same page with a crucial initiative such as continual knowledge acquisition.


4. Why say no to technology?


The use of technology has made the gig economy more efficient and organised. There are platforms and marketplaces where gig workers can showcase their talents and employers can reduce effort in hiring from this talent pool. Affordable pricing and great features make such platforms a great place for both sides to collaborate.


A single marketplace will cover a gigantic range of services being offered, and it only takes a couple of minutes to get up to speed on these platforms. Certain platforms also differentiate from the traditional freelance model by allowing businesses to look for great part time talent from their own cities. Not all freelance / part time gigs are remote, and you will find options that provide features to help with on-site freelance requirements.


5. Everybody wins with social proof


What would Amazon be without ratings and reviews? You could argue that it probably is a cornerstone to its success. Social proof is such a powerful psychological and social phenomenon that you see it everywhere. Smart business owners, marketers, and project managers build social proof into their communication and products.


How does this apply to the gig economy? Just conduct any candidate search and you will be able to browse a whole range of metrics on them. Star ratings, comments, being tagged as “Top Sellers” are all key ways to find the right person for your needs. This is often not easily duplicated through a traditional resume. And who has the time to make all those recommendation calls?


6. It pays to be flexible


Being understaffed is a position nobody wants to be in. That’s money left on the table. Can you run a restaurant with 50 percent of your staff on call? A prepared business knows better and has contingencies for such situations.


Accessing the gig economy facilitates better management to solve issues related to unexpected turnover and no shows. Saying sorry to customers is not a solution. What is your level of preparedness? Are you ready to take that risk in today’s unforgiving world of laser fast consumer feedback?


Hence, tapping into the gig economy today seems to be an absolute necessity. A McKinsey study estimates that 20-30 percent of the workforce in developed countries already engages in this type of independent work. We can expect this trend to catch up in India over the next few years as our tech-savvy millennial population makes the shift towards freelancing as a full-time career. With the average age in India being 29, this millennial section of the population will lead the way in the adoption of the gig economy.


Furthermore, according to a Randstad Workmonitor survey, close to 83 percent of the Indian workforce hold entrepreneurial ambitions, with 56 percent indicating a desire to leave their full-time jobs. This impending bump in work required to be fulfilled, will further serve to increase demand for freelancers to service such projects in the future. Overall, the benefits clearly outweigh any cons associated with this model and with many different models already servicing this market, the size will only grow significantly in the near future.


(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.) 

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