02 Mar 2020 17:49 IST

Ways to retain talent in gig economy

Organisations and managers should understand that every employee needs flexibility

In this era of digitisation, the gig economy is gaining ground. It plays a major role in transforming the HR tech space. It sounds like a perfect business model: lower labour costs, flexible staffing that can surge as needed and a workforce that’s keen on scheduling options that fit individual lifestyles. It’s a bit like artificial intelligence or machine learning.

Nowadays, the gig economy is one of those new trends that has quickly become a reality in the HR domain. Workers who leverage the freelance economy to earn or supplement their incomes often cite flexibility as the biggest appeal. Additionally, it boosts the economy at large by making it possible to deliver goods and services faster and more efficiently. With digitisation and automation threatening some traditional jobs, the freelance economy can provide job security, but not in the traditional sense.

Here are a few ways in which the world of independent experts is transforming the way people work. The gig economy is characterised by the labour market where there is a dominance of short-term contractual jobs instead of a conventional, log-term job set-up. In a gig environment, work is done on a project basis, with payments made for specific tasks. On the global front, the concept has been accepted extensively. However, in India, it is still in a nascent stage, though growing.

People who freelance have the freedom to pick their hours of work, holidays, and the organisations they undertake assignments for. Due to this dynamic work environment, it has become difficult for organisations to retain their talented professionals. In this context, it’s worth looking at ways to retain talent.

Flexible lifestyle

In a temporary set-up, workers have the flexibility to plan their schedule. They select the duration and contours of their work. This helps them balance their personal and professional lives. Organisations should understand that every employee needs flexibility and try to provide them with a flexi work pattern, as far as possible.

Employee benefit schemes

The full-time job provides job security and additional benefits such as health insurance and child care allowances. Buying health premiums and benefits becomes expensive, otherwise. Organisations should emphasise more on employee benefit schemes. Additional benefits should be given, which will certainly stop employees from shifting jobs.

Training and development

Employees understand the importance of training and upskilling for employability. Organisations should focus more on training. This will create a constructive environment and hone the skills of the staff. A strong and efficient workforce will be the result. Employees would like to stay with an organisation that works for their progress.

Positive work ambience

Employees should be given a strong sense of purpose at work in order to augment productivity. Work associations should be fostered. This will ensure positivity in the work environment, thereby increasing the chances of retaining talent within the company. Anybody would like to stay with an organisation that allows them to do significant work.

More challenges

Employees should be given more challenges and opportunities, instead of keeping them attached to one particular task. New opportunities help them leave their comfort zone and analyse their abilities. This gives them room to grow.

Gig workers are in huge demand as they are more flexible, easily adaptable, cost-effective and skilled. Thus, in my opinion, this group will cover nearly 80-90 per cent of the industry in the near future. Businesses need to change with the constantly-changing environment and trends to stay in the market for a longer period of time. Technology is creating new and more flexible ways to meet demand. And gig workers are creating a new set of expectations and attitudes at work.

The freelancers’ ecosystem has been accelerated by the rise of technology and customers who expect goods and services to arrive faster and more flexibly than ever before. In an effort to meet these demands, businesses and governments need access to highly skilled professionals for short-term projects to drive innovation and rapid change.

As these technologies mature, and a more diverse population of workers enters the gig economy, new data will be collected on when (and how frequently) they prefer to work, the skills they want to pursue and the type of roles they want to fill. As the business model takes off, it will leave behind a valuable data trail that offers insights into workers as they move across the marketplace. This trend will continue to grow as more organisations expect to make greater use of independent workers.

(The writer is Director, iXceed Solutions. Views are personal.)