The rise of the gig economy is frequently portrayed as the end of days for the UK’s workforce. Media reports focus on workers, typically involved in delivery or warehouse picking roles, being driven into an early grave by poor work practices, non-existent benefit packages and barely legal wages. Whilst this regrettably does occur, it is often more a reflection of the limited number of corporations who utilise gig workers in this way than the infinitely more diverse, worker-friendly wider gig economy.
Whilst there are instances where workers have little choice but to enter the gig economy, be it through a lack of desirable skills or a local scarcity of employment opportunity, many of the estimated 5 million gig workers in the UK are there by choice. There is a significant number of baby boomers who place great value on the flexibility and control that they can exert over their working life by participating in the gig economy. These are often highly skilled, well-paid workers, many of whom have honed their expertise in blue chip environments. They are smart, savvy and imbued with a professional pride that typifies someone with the confidence to back themselves to go solo in today’s uncertain job market. They are never likely to be your next fulltime employee, but they can, given the right tools and the right encouragement, make the same positive impact to your organisation’s success as any full-time worker.
So, how can you engage your gig workers and start reaping benefits that include improved productivity and enhanced customer experience? Here are our 5 top tips:
Properly on-board them
They might be with you for a day. They might be with you for a year. That uncertainty is inherent for both sides of the gig economy. What is certain is that you want the worker to be able to hit the ground running. They need to know what’s what, who’s who, where things are, how things are done. And you need to provide them with that information and an easy, intuitive way to retrieve it.
Open a dialogue
If you want gig workers to engage with your organisation, you need to engage with them. Find out about them, what motivates them, what their interests are. Ask them about their experience, their perceptions. It could just be a quick poll. It begins a conversation and kickstarts the engagement process.
Ask what they would like
For any organisation that plans to put some reliance on gig workers, it is not sustainable for the gig worker proposition to be poor wages, poor conditions, no benefits and no security. These aren’t Victorian Mill workers. They are often highly paid professionals who can choose where to rack up on a Monday morning. To attract the best, and keep them motivated during their tenure, ask them what they would like with regards to reward and remuneration. Let this feedback shape your gig worker proposition and you’ll quickly stand out from the competition.
Don’t stifle their ideas
Just like any worker within the organisation, gig workers will notice what works well and what doesn’t. Unlike FTE’s, they don’t typically have the formal review processes where they can flag their ideas and concerns. That means you run the risk of missing out on potentially game-changing innovations and ideas. Resolve that by giving gig workers a voice and a way to make it heard. Involve them in relevant debates, get their feedback and respond to it.
Entering the gig economy doesn’t involve any form of lobotomization. Gig workers still have the same basic requirements of feeling respected as well as being recognised for their successes. It might not be appropriate to offer financial bonuses, but it is certainly appropriate for management to recognise successes and share that recognition across the whole organisation.
So, 5 ways to engage your gig workers. Hold on, you might say, that sounds suspiciously like how we are endeavouring to engage our contracted employees. And that’s because it is. People are people. Engagement is engagement. But there are nuances. You need to be able to tailor your communications to the gig worker audience, the overall messages are the same, but some detail may need to be redacted. You don’t want to message a bonus scheme the gig workers are excluded from. You need to be able to reach gig workers who don’t sit in your office. You need to be able to deliver messages to gig workers who don’t have a corporate email account. Importantly, you need to be able to switch off communications and information access the moment a gig worker moves on. That is where StaffConnect comes in.
The StaffConnect mobile employee engagement platform transforms the gig worker experience by enabling large enterprises to connect, communicate and engage their distributed gig workforce, especially remote, deskless gig workers.
It gives you the ability to open two-way conversations with gig workers, wherever they are. Questions asked and answered. Suggestions received and acted upon. Surveys, quizzes, competitions – endless combinations of ways to keep your gig workers engaged. The platform comes with all the measurement and analysis tools you’ll need to monitor progress and the ability to proactively identify any issues before they become full-blown problems. Vitally, it also enables you to instantly cut all lines of communication once the worker moves on.
We’d love to show you more about how the StaffConnect platform can make a real, positive difference to your gig workers and the impact they have on your organisation. Give us a call on +44 203 418 0500 or drop us an email to [email protected] and let’s get the conversation started.