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The Rise of Gig Economy Work and How to Compete

The rise of the gig economy has completely transformed work as we know it. People can make a living while working whenever and from wherever they want. No more showing up for shifts. No more sitting at a desk for 8 hours every day. And the pandemic only exacerbated this as traditional in-person work halted for nearly two years and work and life had to coexist under the same roof. Simply put, the definition of work as we knew it before March of 2020 is now a distant memory.

This of course has impacted almost every employer’s ability to hire and retain employees. Businesses across all sectors are struggling to find talent while at the same time they’re grappling with the Great Resignation. People are hesitant to take traditional jobs across all sectors. And those who do have these types of roles are quitting in order to work for Uber or Instacart or simply freelance on their own. As more and more gig economy opportunities emerge the easier it is for people to make these lifestyle changes.

So how can you compete? The key is to show that you can match the flexibility found in the gig economy while also offering more — everything from stability, career growth, insurance benefits, and more. Here’s a closer look:

Flexibility is a non-negotiable

Flexibility in some shape or form is table stakes for employers today. In fact, 95% of people surveyed for a recent report say they want flexible hours and 72% of workers who weren’t happy with their level of flexibility are likely to seek out a new opportunity in the next year. When thinking about flexibility it’s important to think about more than just remote work — people simply want to be able to live their lives while making the income they need.

For example, maybe you build out a hybrid work policy that includes some remote work opportunities with some in-person work. With traditional desk jobs this is fairly easy to envision — people work from home a few a days a week and come into the office the rest. But this can extend to other types of work too. For example, an auto sales associate could spend 1-2 days a week at home doing administrative tasks or training work, adding that extra flexibility they might not otherwise have gotten.

If you’re a business that cannot offer any type of remote work (e.g., retailer, restaurant) one way you can offer flexibility is to give your employees more say in their own schedules. Maybe you give them the power to pick up the shifts they want or you allow them to swap shifts with coworkers on their own without extensive approval processes. This may sound like a nightmare from a manager’s perspective, but there are many tools on the market that automate schedules based on people’s preferences and allow employees to log in and trade shifts with one another directly. Hireology integrates with multiple healthcare-focused scheduling platforms including AxisCare, AlayaCare, and Wellsky.

Show you offer stability

One big weakness of gig work is that it’s not stable. What happens if you get sick or injured? Not only do you lose income, but what do your healthcare costs look like?

One way you can compete on stability is by providing health insurance or other coverage like worker’s comp. Many people who work gig economy jobs are left to find insurance on their own and this can get expensive. People often opt for cheap packages that don’t offer much coverage. But as an employer you can offer better insurance options that can give people peace of mind should a major health scare arise. 

Another way to compete on stability is with additional PTO or sick time. Think about someone who drives Uber or picks up freelance housekeeping work for income. If this person tests positive for COVID or their kid can’t go to daycare because of an outbreak, they can’t pick up shifts and thus don’t get paid. That’s where you can win. Offer additional PTO and paid sick time so that folks have that stable fall back in the event of an illness, injury, or other personal need.

A need for growth and fulfillment

Human beings have a natural desire for camaraderie and personal growth. Of course your great company culture and professional growth opportunities aren’t going to win everyone over — especially those who value flexibility more than anything else. But if you can meet people’s needs for flexibility and also offer the opportunity to advance in their careers, do more fulfilling work, and form a network of professional connections you can compete. 

If you don’t already have career paths built out for every type of role at your business, that’s a great place to start. You also want to think about your culture. Do you provide your employees with a space to learn, grow, be themselves, and gain mentorship? Environments like these coupled with flexibility can be really enticing for top talent who might be considering full-time gig work. 

No matter what you provide in terms of flexibility or other benefits, it’s critical that you effectively market these perks. Whether in your job descriptions, on your career site, or in your social media feed, you need to make these benefits known. Job seekers have so many options for work that they’re not going to take time to apply to your job if they aren’t sure you can meet their needs. 

If you’re looking for support marketing your open roles and the benefits of working for your company, Hireology can help. Our all-in-one suite of hiring and HR tools includes job board distribution, customizable career sites, personalized customer support, and more. Schedule a demo to learn more today.

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