HR Challenges and Readiness to face the rising Gig Economy

In the Indian HR scenario, the segments leading in the usage of gig workers are Banking and Finance, Life Sciences, and the IT sector. Though it gaining ground fast, it is still in its early stages. The biggest reason for Indian organizations turning to a contingent workforce is the ability to scale the workforce according to the business cycle and needs.
Research shows that only a few organizations are ‘ahead of the curve’ in the way they currently use gig workers. Applying KellyOCG’s proprietary Workforce Optimization and Maturity Index methodology, it was found that only 13% of organizations surveyed could be classified as ‘Innovators’. Leaders dabbling in and making the most of cutting-edge advancements enjoy cost savings and significant competitive advantages.

Gig economy: Key challenges for HR

  • Managing a talent pool and developing an employee value proposition that works across a blend of permanent and portfolio workers.
  • How to integrate contract terms and conditions into a cohesive, seamless whole and offer pertinent benefits and rewards – and become an employer of choice for “gig workers”.
  • Ensuring that the right technology is in place to automate joining and leaving processes and ensure they are smooth and easy to manage so as not to increase the HR admin burden
  • Working out what risk management and governance ground rules should be put in place for portfolio staff working for multiple employers, including rivals.
  • Managing quality control and ensuring that contracts do not simply end up going to the cheapest rather than most reliable and/or best bidder.
  • Line managers operating beneath the radar without being aware of working time, health and safety, and minimum wage legislation.

Source: Alex Swarbrick, Roffey Park

How to prepare for the gig workforce?
As the world inches closer to a primarily contemporary, temporary workforce, organizations need to enable the evolution in ways that do not impact business detrimentally.

  • Leadership buy-in: Any significant organizational shift starts with leadership involvement and encouragement. In order to effectively and efficiently leverage gig talent as a key aspect of the workforce and use it to push the organization towards greater innovation and seamless incorporation, leadership and organizational support are crucial.
  • Streamlined strategy: Strategy is the structure that ties together the gig economy mindset together with day-to-day processes. In order to shift towards becoming innovative and achieve desired business results, free-agent talent must be included in the early stages of workforce planning. This not only ensures alignment from the business perspective but also brings in the human aspect of belonging and thus improves engagement.
  • Operational prowess: To set talent managers and their free-agent hires up for success, clear operational processes must be in place. Those tactics are born from a forward-thinking mindset and strategic planning, creating pathways for seamless integration into a company’s culture and team and ultimately resulting in a high return on their free-agent investment.
  • Tailored HR processes: As with most shifts, the HR needs to play the role of a strategic business partner over and above their operational responsibilities.  A great way to start is to request an audit of all operational policies and processes as they relate to acquiring, managing, and engaging with free-agent talent. Post that stage, leaders can be challenged to think broadly by adopting a holistic approach to talent. Ensuring that gig talent is included in the broader workforce strategy and encouraging leaders to align talent strategy to business strategy will be critical as the contingent workforce starts evolving.

The key issues driving the demand for gig worker is business uncertainty and disruption while the majority of gig workers choose to work as a gig worker because they want to, an essential balance needs to be struck between flexibility, business needs, and security. This calls for both organizations and individuals to reduce the temptation to resist change and continue the collective effort towards acquiring more relevant skills while preserving the focus on business goals and vision