The Gig Economy a Guide for Employers

A new buzzword in the business world is the 'gig economy', but do you know for sure what it means? Some people think it just refers to being able to use websites such as People per Hour where you place your bid for services offered. Others give it a much wider application as if it refers to using any freelancers for specific projects.

Gig workers may be used at any level of an organisation. Alex Swarbrick is a senior consultant at Roffey Park, an institute which claims to 'develop people who develop organisations'. He believes that gig workers fall into two distinct groups.

'You can characterise the workforce in this model like an hourglass,' he says. 'So the people at the top comprise highly-skilled, sought-after talent that is relatively well paid and expects to work flexibly. Workers at the bottom end of the hourglass, however, are likely to be on temporary, fixed-term, zero-hour contracts and have a number of jobs that could be characterised as insecure, low-paid work.'

How Can you Get the Best People to Give Value for Money?

Entrepreneurs frequently use freelancers when they need help temporarily, so are probably more used to avoiding the pitfalls than many a large HR department. Sometimes though, they can still be managed more effectively whatever the size of your business. So here are some aspects to deal with that you may not have considered before:

  • What will attract the right gig workers to be available for you if at all possible when you need them? Having relevant contract terms and conditions, rewards and benefits will go a long way to making yourself an attractive employer.
  • Staying in touch with people you will want to come back for future projects and keeping them in the loop as much as you can.
  • Managing the risks of using people who might also work for your competitors from time to time.
  • Keeping tabs on quality control to get the best value from outsourced workers.
  • Making sure they are aware of all relevant legislation and operate within the law.
  • Integrating them comfortably with any permanent staff you have. The last thing you want is any resentment on either side.

How Can you Keep all Staff Happy?

Co-operation between permanent and temporary staff is essential so you must do all you can to ensure it. It's worth remembering that even workers of longstanding can become bored and unproductive unless they have a bit of variety in their days, and operate in a culture of give as well as take.

Bearing all this in mind, you should have no problem in getting the most advantage from the gig economy. Your local bookkeepers will be glad to advise and assist if you need help with contracts or managing the finances. They might also have the contacts to help you find the best people for a particular job.

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