Pre-pandemic, more than one third (36%) of the U.S. workforce were gig workers, either through their primary or secondary jobs.   

But, global lockdowns have paralyzed economies and caused unemployment to soar. Forbes reports that, initially, the gig economy suffered the most, with one survey showing 52% of respondents from the global gig economy having lost their jobs. 

Now, Upwork predicts freelancers will become the majority of America’s workforce within a decade, and Statista forecasts that the gig economy will be worth $US455 billion in 2023. 

A recent study by Deloitte reported that most companies plan to significantly increase their dependence on gig, contract, and freelance workers in the near future. 

However, the pandemic has not been the only driver in workplace trends such as WFH and gig work. Automation, a digitally connected world, and younger workers wanting to be more independent and have location flexibility all mean the gig economy has gone mainstream.

Management Challenges In The Gig Economy

Many of the larger tech companies such as Uber already manage large teams of gig workers, but for more traditional organizations, it might feel like uncharted territory. 

That’s why organizations need tools that can help them effectively manage, engage with, and provide resources to gig, former, and furloughed employees along with their remaining full-time employees. 

In the new world of specialized and often highly contingent talent, managers need robust technology systems to accommodate full-time, part-time, gig, freelance, and contract workers. 

Onboarding and Offboarding Gig Workers

Gig workers form part of your total workforce, alongside full-time employees. To this end, it’s beneficial to manage them using similar principles so as to ensure they are successful during their tenure, no matter how long it is. 

In an article for Forbes, Jeff Miller who is a Forbes Councils Member, writes that even if a gig worker only stays for a few months, they’ll have to meet and work with the existing team. Formally onboarding them to introduce them to your company culture, the project, and the team ensures they will be more involved with and vested in your company. 

The robust integration of technology solutions that manage workforce complexity is constantly evolving and invaluable in the HR space. They can address common friction points along the onboarding pipeline and customize recruitment processes based on different talent segments.

Before the gig worker’s contract comes to an end, offboard them in such a way that they feel valued and are motivated to continue a relationship with the company. 

Invite them to join your alumni network where they can stay informed about the company and in touch with their former colleagues. This helps create a valuable talent pool of known gig workers who you can quickly approach to rejoin your organization on a project basis.

Conclusion

The gig economy is here to stay. Managers need flexible tools and a clear focus on how they implement onboarding, reboarding, and offboarding of gig employers.

Balancing project management and a disparate workforce effectively will help you and your team stay productive and ensure you remain competitive. 

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