One of the foremost challenges faced by the modern work landscape, characterized by constantly evolving technology and shifting employee expectations, is talent management.
With companies focusing their energies on creating a highly skilled workforce, HR leaders are being forced to reassess their talent acquisition strategies.
Today, while on one hand, we see talent opting for gig-based and contractual jobs that suit them, many organizations are opting for flexi-staffing to meet talent requirements.
To delve deeper into how workforce management has evolved over the years and the rising need for flexi-staffing, People Matters spoke to Daya Prakash, the founder of TalentOnLease, a leading new age recruitment platform providing “Techies On Demand”.
Prakash gave insights into how organizations can take a strategic approach to meet their talent acquisition goals through gig arrangements while cultivating a sense of loyalty among gig workers to enhance overall productivity and create long-term associations.
Gig workforce and flexi-staffing have been undergoing significant transformations in recent years. This trend is likely to continue shaping the way companies approach hiring and talent management strategies. As per the recent Staffing Employment Trends Report by Indian Staffing Federation, 2023 saw +14% YoY growth in flexi workers compared to other formats of employment. There’s another recent research report from CIEL group that says 55% of organizations have hired a flexi-workforce.
I think as gig workforce and flexi-staffing evolve, it will result in an upswing in project-based hiring as organizations will be encouraged to hire on-demand-basis so that they stay lean. It will help companies bridge the skills gap as they will be empowered to quickly hire for skills they don’t possess. I believe that reliance on online platforms and talent marketplaces will increase as they will play a critical role in connecting companies with gig workers (flexi staff) and providing tools for project management, collaboration, and payment. These platforms will evolve to offer more sophisticated matching algorithms and better integration with the existing HR systems of the organization.
This evolution towards the adoption of gig-work/flexi-staffing will have a huge impact on how organizations approach their talent management strategies:
Agile Workforce Scaling: Companies will rely on gig workers and flexi-staffing to quickly scale up or down based on project demands. This agility can help organizations adapt to changing market conditions without the long-term commitments associated with full-time hiring.
Specialized Expertise: The gig workforce's evolution will enable companies to access highly specialized skills for short-term projects. This will allow organizations to innovate and pursue initiatives that require niche expertise without long-term employment.
Innovative Projects: With access to a broader talent pool, companies will be better positioned to undertake innovative and diverse projects. Gig workers can inject fresh perspectives and new ideas into organizations, fostering creativity and competitiveness.
Strategic Workforce Planning: Talent managers will need to integrate gig workers seamlessly into their overall workforce planning. This might involve developing strategies to identify when to hire full-time employees versus engaging gig workers based on project requirements.
Engagement and Retention: While gig workers are typically not bound by long-term employment contracts, companies that offer meaningful and engaging experiences can build a pool of reliable gig workers who choose to return for multiple projects. This could lead to more consistent and effective collaborations.
HR Technology Integration: Companies will invest in technologies that enable them to manage a hybrid workforce effectively. This includes tools for talent acquisition, performance tracking, communication, and project management that cater to both traditional employees and gig workers.
The gig workforce and flexi-staffing offer several advantages, making them an increasingly popular and valuable aspect of the modern labor market. Here are some of the key advantages:
Flexibility: Companies can quickly scale their workforce up or down based on project demands without the long-term commitments associated with traditional full-time hiring. This agility is particularly useful in industries with fluctuating workloads.
Cost Efficiency: Hiring gig workers for short-term projects can be more cost-effective than maintaining a full-time workforce, especially when considering benefits, training, and overhead costs associated with permanent employees. This also reduces the overall administrative burden.
Global Talent Pool: With remote work becoming more prevalent, companies can access a global talent pool, allowing them to find the best fit for a particular project, regardless of geographical limitations.
Risk Mitigation: Hiring gig workers for short-term projects can reduce the risks associated with long-term employment, such as the need to downsize during economic downturns.
While the gig workforce and flexi-staffing offer many benefits, they also come with several challenges. It's important to be aware of these challenges to effectively navigate this evolving labor landscape. The challenges range from ensuring consistent quality across projects to hurdles with integrating gig workers into existing teams, as they may not be familiar with company culture and processes and communication norms as full-time employees. Other issues that need to be addressed are compliance-related, such as navigating labor laws and tax regulations and surrounding confidentiality, data security and intellectual property protection.
Maintaining a cohesive and unified corporate culture in the face of a growing gig workforce and flexi-staffing arrangements can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Parent organizations should ensure that the company's core values, mission, and vision are clearly communicated to all workers, regardless of their employment type. Developing a comprehensive and inclusive onboarding process can help them understand their role within the larger organizational context.
Maintaining regular and transparent communication across the organization and keeping all workers informed about company news, updates, achievements, and challenges is critical.
Companies also need to work towards ensuring gig workers are treated as an integral part of the team so they feel engaged, motivated and valued. Facilitating mentorship programs that pair gig workers with experienced full-time employees can also help promote healthy knowledge exchange. It is also important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of gig workers.
Organizations should also work towards providing all workers, regardless of employment type, access to the same technology tools and platforms. This ensures consistent collaboration, knowledge sharing, and alignment of work processes.
It is important that gig workers and contractual employees be treated the same as permanent employees of the organization. It is also important to focus on effective communication so that gig workers truly feel like they are an integral part of the organizations. It is important to focus on the diversity of skills they bring to their project and keep them engaged by involving them in team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and other collaborative activities.
Conducting regular surveys to gather feedback from workers about their experiences and applying it to drive positive change within the organization can help create long-term relationships with gig workers and also enhance overall organizational productivity. Companies should also focus on rating gig workers on the platform through which they have been hired – this helps create transparency while also helping build the employee’s profile. Completing this step can help future companies looking to hire gig workers while also creating a sense of belonging with the employee, who can leverage these ratings to get new opportunities: a win-win!