Covid-19 has sparked a refreshing trend among both companies and workers.
For one thing, continuing uncertainty has made companies with limited hiring budgets rethink their hiring strategy. Many are beginning to develop a hybrid model of full-time employees and skilled contract professionals amid a growing need for specialist talent in fields such as IT and digital marketing. This approach allows firms of various sizes in any industry to “upsize” or “downsize” based on dynamic demands. Companies reduce their fixed personnel costs to pay only for the talent they need at the appropriate and optimal times.
The traditional employment model calls for calibrating your headcount based on business opportunities and growth. However, we’ve seen how this model can ignite a disruptive rhythm of hiring and retrenchments, and hiring again when the economy recovers. Rehiring and training when the economy picks up can be costly. The Society for Human Resource Management states that generally, it could cost about 50 per cent of an employee’s annual salary to find a direct replacement.
The hybrid approach has the potential to optimise talent acquisition and management to fuel an enduring business model.
THE NEW, MORE VIABLE NORM IN THE WAKE OF CRISES
According to research cited by the Civil Service College, Singapore, “traditional permanent employment globally is fracturing.” Contract-based employment is increasing in the US, Europe and Asia.
It would seem that this shift has been involuntary as the research says, “these trends are partly attributable to domestic labour market conditions, where a lack of viable permanent alternatives following the global financial crisis has resulted in elevated unemployment rates.”
But after several economic crises, we have to consider that this might be the new, more viable norm.
This is not to say that full-time employees won’t be needed anymore. The dedication and continuity offered by these individuals contribute significantly to business growth and culture.
INDIVIDUALS ARE CHOOSING GIG
But as more and more professionals choose contract or gig work, companies have to learn how to attract the best among this group.
Those who desire flexible hours and varied work are trying out portfolio careers. Several surveys show that amid the massive layoffs we are seeing in the Covid era, individuals want to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket. They would rather not be exclusively tied to one employer full-time. As such, even high-performing full-time employees are taking on gig work as a side hustle. Others, having realised the benefits of working from home during the pandemic, want to continue working independently on their own terms.
As a new generation of workers enters the workforce, be prepared for a rise in gig workers. The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace found that 46 per cent of Gen Z participated in the gig economy in some way in 2019.
ATTRACT AND ENGAGE THE BEST
Considering these trends, employers who aren’t yet open to hiring gig workers need to urgently change their mindsets.
Moving forward, in order to attract high-performing specialists, employers need to begin setting up a robust gig economy hiring system within their organisations.
This would include setting up an internal structure for where and how you can most effectively use contract specialists, setting up career pages on gig economy hiring platforms, and coming up with a benefits strategy for this temporary workforce, among other things.
In other words, companies need to find ways to attract and engage their gig workers just as they do in the case of traditional employees.
1. Get on the Right Job Platforms
In order to get the best talent, you have to source candidates from the right pool. Identify the platforms on which top gig workers list themselves and source for jobs. Ensure your company’s value proposition and job openings are listed on these platforms too. Remember to also update the career pages on your own website. Ensure that contract or project-based jobs are clearly listed.
2. Tailor your Employer Value Proposition to Gig Workers
Survey gig workers and learn what matters most to them when deciding whether to take on work with a company. For instance, in an environment where freelancers are often paid later than stipulated terms, they might value punctual paymasters. This is something you can become known for.
3. Create and Tailor Benefits for Gig Workers
As more companies compete for talented gig workers, you would do well to have benefits in place. Again, survey gig workers in order to find out what they value and tailor your benefits scheme accordingly.
4. Onboard them as you would Full-time Employees
Companies often think that contract or gig workers don’t need to be onboarded in order to deliver. However, imagine how much better they could do if they knew about your company’s mission, vision, and larger strategic goals. Having a deeper understanding of the company would help them ensure the work they’ve been assigned propels you towards achieving your goals and even come up with better or more effective ways to do so.
5. Be Inclusive and Ensure They are Always Aware of the Company’s Strategic Direction
For the reasons cited in #4, always ensure that gig workers are kept abreast of tweaks or changes to the company’s strategic direction and goals. Don’t just restrict them to project meetings. As far as possible, include them in relevant departmental meetings. Being inclusive also allows full-time staff to get to know your gig workers and creates a better working dynamic.
Providing talented gig workers with a positive experience is bound to increase the chances of being able to hire them for your most vital projects. As the talent landscape continues transforming, this will keep you one step ahead of your competition.