Gig economy and how it affects staff onboarding

Gig economy and how it affects staff onboarding

  • A gig is a short service offered by an individual or company, usually in an area on which they have experience or skill.
  • Many have found this to be an effective alternative to hiring full-time staff especially when one-off specialized tasks are required.
  • Because of the specialized and temporary nature of gigs and gig workers, onboarding will have to take one new modification to be able to seamless integrate them.

The gig economy has seen its rise from what was a fancy trend to an industry mainstay. The share of gig workers in most organizations has grown by 15%, while more than 1 in 6 workers in organizations are gig workers, generating over $1.28 trillion in revenue for the US economy. The global pandemic has taken a hit to the gig economy, but it seems the gig economy is adapting well to the change brought by the pandemic. With many talented freelancers now finding remote work with companies flung afar off. Job postings for mobile delivery platform couriers jumped 78% in March 2020, according to one report, and eCommerce giant Amazon announced its intention to hire 100,000 remote workers to fill increasing online orders.

Though some freelancers in other industries aren’t having it as good like dog walkers and Uber drivers. Many countries like the UK and US are already creating laws to help freelance workers and provide means of compensation for them as they self-isolate.

The gig economy is here to stay and organizations are taking advantage of this growth surge because of the many opportunities it provides.

But how does this affect staff onboarding? How do you take a group of professional freelancers, contractors and temporary workers and imbibe them with enough company culture and information for their better integration?

Onboarding is not easy to define. Some organizations limit it to a simple orientation process; while others go further to include company culture. Onboarding is so much more. It’s a systematic method of hiring the best talents and aligning them with the company vision and providing them with the necessary tools to help them assimilate and speed up their training process.

The challenge? Traditional hiring and onboarding protocols cater to full-time employees only.

With the growth and explosion of the gig economy in the traditional business workspace, how will the gig economy affect traditional staff onboarding?

Here’s how.


Automation of staff onboarding process (making it Mobile friendly)


Staff onboarding will now have to be short and not drawn out. Freelancers are attracted to the flexibility their work environment provides, so they won’t want to be weighed down with excessive paperwork before they even get started on the gig.

Or how will a 2-week onboarding process work when the gig is only for 2 weeks?

Onboarding has to be limited to as few steps as possible by automation. Forms will be combined into one event and workflows will have to be streamlined to increase productivity.

From paper to human (connecting with a mentor)

No gig worker wants to start off a job with having to read or listen to a sermon on company culture and the dos and don’ts. Most gig workers are only focused on the what of the task at hand and the compensation for completing that task.

But how will a gig worker thrive in the new company structure?

The gig worker should be paired with an existing gig worker within the organization. Or better yet, a seasoned in-house employee to be their guide. A mentor of sorts.

The mentor will help the gig worker integrate into the historical company culture. A permanent worker can help the gig worker see the company through strategic, political, and cultural lenses. A mentor can show the gig worker the best methods to get work done in the organization. And in return, the gig worker can reinvigorate the permanent employee by sharing their skills as a sort of on-the-job training opportunity for the permanent worker to learn a new or hot skill.


A cross-functional process with automated triggers will have to be established


Freelancing is equal to flexibility. The gig economy does not have the time or patience for long processes across various departments of the organization. Decisions about security, compensation etc. will have to be established beforehand for the freelancer.

The freelancer is going to need some combination of equipment, security clearance, and system access. By establishing a defined internal process will all the departments that are involved – such as HR, the hiring manager, security, and finance – the organization can ensure that the new gig worker has everything the need to be productive from day one!

Automated triggers will have to be included so the freelancer doesn’t show up on the first day without a username and password to access the system. It’s also important to have a seamless invoice and payment system in place for temporary workers.


Onboarding will have to be simpler (streamlining of compliance)

Things will have to be kept simpler by the provision of necessary compliance documentation in a short, mobile-first guided platform. This should include information about the office, all compliance documentation, the payment process, and requests for paperwork – such as NDAs, W-9s.

The new temporary hire, HR, and hiring manager will appreciate how these simple steps eliminate the back and forth typically required by traditional onboarding processes in gathering the information.

The hiring manager will have to ensure the system has accounted for local variations and regulations – from tax differences to data compliance concerns.


Engagement and integration will be deep yet superficial


This doesn’t make sense right?

Independent contractors will dedicate themselves to the organization's project and take a lot of pride in their work because it reflects directly on their business and career. However, they may not be as committed to the company as full-time employees since they work for 4-5+ clients, all at the same time.

To make them feel like a part of the team and important to the organization's success, the organization will have to integrate the freelancer into the company culture and maintain a consistent experience across the entire team by adding the freelancer to the company digital communication channels, introducing them to other team members, mentor them appropriately and involve them in a strategy where appropriate.

To make the engagement superficial, the organization will have to realize that the freelancer should not be privy to all company information with access restricted to only areas that are pertinent for their work to proceed undisturbed. The freelancer will have to sign NDAs and service level agreements if they must have access to propriety company information.

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written by NEWCruitment Switzerland, the Leading Technology Talent Agency Specializing in Senior IT Architects and IT Engineers in Switzerland

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