The flexible workforce and the gig economy is on the rise. In fact it's estimated that the number of freelance workers has increased by 25% since 2009. Thanks to the pandemic and economic crash, this is set to continue rising at an increasing rate.
Some businesses are finding they need to reduce headcount, or migrate towards a more flexible employment model to reduce their salary exposure. Others are innovative or fast paced businesses and need niche or hard to find skill sets, as such they outsource. Both are looking more and more towards contractors, freelancer and gig workers.
From a workers viewpoint, many thrown into unemployment have made the brave leap to become self-employed, some through ambition and some through lack of other options. Others are taking the opportunities that come their way and know they can maximise their value in the market place by being in control.
Whether you employ people directly or in a gig-worker manner, employee engagement can benefit your wider workforce too. Temporary, contract, and freelance workers are not robots and want to feel a connection to your business and your goals. They want to be recognised, challenged, inspired and looked after. If they are enjoying the work then they'll be delivering their best performance.
So whilst you need to make sure the lines of employment aren't blurred, there are some great engagement practices that make good sense for everyone in your business. Gig workers aren't with you for long (that's kind of the point) but you can make that time count.
- Share the vision and where you're heading. Everyone wants to believe in what they're working on. So sell them the dream! Make sure they know where they fit in and why their time and expertise is adding value to your business at that point in time.
- Keep them updated, they might not be on your internal communication email round robin, or on the Slack group, but consider what they might need to know that would help them be more a part of the business or the team.
- Value their expertise and make them feel appreciated for the contribution they make - just because you are paying their invoice, doesn't mean you can't provide great recognition
- Provide great leadership, remove blocks, inspire them. Help them to do their best possible work whilst they are with you and leave a lasting impression of your leadership with them
- Make them feel part of the wider team, make them feel included and valued. You can create a great blended team without having the same type of employment relationship with everyone
- Provide them with challenges and provide development opportunities for them to grow with you, make it a memorable assignment and keep their interest high
- Give them certainty if you can - know they'll be with you for 6 months? Great! Is it only 6 weeks? Tell them! Treat them fairly and transparently.
- Pay them on time! 🙂
If you have seen that your workforce is changing shape to include more freelancers and contracts, now is a great time to make sure you are building an engagement plan for your whole workforce, not just your employees.
If you'd like Ten Space to help with your plans, just ask! firstname.lastname@example.org