Get ahead with the gig economy in 2020

Gig economy with businessman holding a tablet computer on a dark vintage background

The possibility of gig work was originally met with excited anticipation and the hope of organisational flexibility to changing workforce demands. However, following allegations of exploitation and staffing dramas, workers and businesses alike are concerned that the gig economy is more of a trap than a blessing.

While there have been challenges, organisations that have strategically incorporated gig workers are reaping the benefits, through a dynamic and scalable workforce, access to talent and specialised skills and a boost to their ability to innovate.

The apprehension about the contingent workforce can be seen in Gartner’s research, which reveals only 42 per cent of HR leaders are speaking with C-suite execs about how gig workers can be integrated into their organisation.

A flexible and committed workforce

The range of positive outcomes accelerated by the gig economy should not be overlooked. Organisations that employ contingent workers can expect to get ahead in 2020 through the following positive effects:

There’s a perception that contingent workers are constantly seeking new employment avenues, however, Gartner research debunks this myth. Gig workers are actually happier, more productive, and 6 per cent less likely to quit their jobs than their full-time counterparts.

Organisations can determine the length of employment, hours required, and expected work processes. Likewise, the employee has the freedom to negotiate their working conditions to suit their availability. Contingent workers are essentially available on-demand and can empower your business to scale quickly and efficiently to match evolving enterprise needs.

Increased access to talent and specialised skills

Thanks to the evolution of the gig economy, there’s seemingly limitless access to talented individuals who can collaborate to fulfil business goals in a cost-effective way.

Roughly seven per cent of working Australians are finding jobs through the gig economy, according to a study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology. Generally, contractors have the same qualifications as their full-time counterparts but have the advantage of working for a number of different clients and industries, allowing them to hone their skills and expertise.

The gig economy offers access to an array of specialised skills, such as web design, writing, computer programming, trades work, odd jobs, deliveries, driving, and courier work. Contracting gig workers is a great approach to filling existing skills gaps in the workforce and helps businesses to remain competitive in the market.

A boost to innovation

If you only work with the same people all the time, you can expect to hear the same ideas. When you involve workers from outside the organisation, you’ll facilitate an exchange of diverse knowledge and best practises which can only prove advantageous.

Moreover, you can expect enhanced employee engagement, which correlates with higher productivity and increased growth and profit.

Improving management and leadership

The success of the contingent workforce is its seamless integration into current organisational plans. You should assign internal responsibility for the contingent workforce your organisation is engaging with by incorporating gig workers into standard HR processes and business strategies. This will ensure a high level of leadership accountability and governance. It can provide professional development opportunities for your existing leadership team to challenge their practises in a way they haven’t before.

The gig economy is not a strategy to be shied away from. When aptly integrated into existing business processes, the contingent workforce can drive great value and business outcomes. In contracting gig workers, you’ll recognise increased agility to address the changing employment model and be ready to make the most of 2020.

Aaron McEwan, VP Research & Advisory, Gartner