The Gig Economy: Two Issues to Overcome in Order to Thrive

This has allowed holding multiple jobs or short-term contracts to become the norm, to create a highly fractured working environment. For this reason, business factors such as employee engagement have become more important than ever, whilst also being harder to control and maintain. I suggest below two small changes that businesses can make to ensure employees remain engaged and motived to reduce unnecessary recruitment costs during times of change:

Empower those who are often overlooked

Ultimately, this involves understanding exactly who the front-line workers are. It is no longer acceptable to place your focus on the members of staff in full time employment. Instead, employers and managers need to take into consideration the needs and wants of out-sourced workers and temporary staff who before, might have slipped through the nets.

Employers need to fully understand what each employee requires from their job. Everyone works to earn a living; everyone knows that, but in today’s working environment, people need more. They need to feel a genuine and trusted relationship with their managers. Some roles within an organisation are not always gifted with responsibility, however one thing they are able to take control of is the quality of lasting relationships with their peers. Honest and open relationships mean both sides will be valued for exactly who they are, rather than their job title.

Adopt new behaviours

The growing gig economy means it can be extremely hard to match individual people with the unique roles that are being created. I believe there are three specific behaviours that are vital to any company wishing to survive and thrive; relationship focus, a clear love for learning and not being afraid to put the extra mile in. Managers need to be willing to coach employees who appear capable, yet not afraid to thin members of staff out who don’t make the grade.

Everyone from employers to managers and those directly providing the customer with the product or service need to adopt these new behaviours. If managers and employers adopt this new set of ideals, other members of staff are likely to follow, therefore improving the overall running of the business with self-satisfaction and increased productivity and efficiency.

Having a relationship focus means being aware that the general well-being of each member of staff lies with the trusting relationships they build. Conversations on purpose, goals and unhelpful behaviours all contribute greatly towards this focus and ensure employees feel comfortable discussing any issues that may arise.

A love of learning needs to become a way of life. The best employees will never stop learning, attending courses, and will not lose curiosity. The focus should be on areas outside of their expertise, to broaden their knowledge base and stimulate curiosity. Above everything, this is not only about making yourself more employable, but bringing self-enjoyment and development to your life.

Going the extra mile involves having a will to volunteer, offer support and put the extra hours in. Working with those who are prepared to do this can be far more enjoyable and rewarding for both sides, thus making it worth the extra time and effort that is required. The rewards can be enormous and it is more than likely to lead to a stream of new experiences and opportunities to progress.

I believe that giving power to employees who would otherwise slip through the net and making slight changes to behaviour in the workplace will reap huge benefits for businesses in the gig economy, and allow them to not only survive, but thrive, during times of change, whilst competitors will be left behind.

By Nigel Purse, Director at The Oxford Group

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