One of my least favorite operational games to play is balancing how much work your team can take on before they are overloaded, pulling their hair out, and leaving it on your office floor.
What does capacity look like? Is it time to hire someone? Do we have the skills we need in-house to get this project done?
These are a few of the worries us business pros have nagging at our subconscious pretty much all the time, always. Fun stuff.
Luckily for us in HR and Ops, technology has opened up a world of hiring possibilities with a booming Gig Economy and an endless pool of people who want to work for you without the commitment of full time employment.
If you have an immediate skill gap or need help, but only temporarily, utilizing the benefits of the gig economy may be what your company needs to get over the hurtle.
Gig Economy? Tell Me More.
The term 'Gig Economy' refers to a workforce of folks searching for short-term contract or project work. A 'gig' is a temporary position or part-time work that falls outside of the standard long-term employment arrangements.
Utilizing the Gig Economy and gig workers is especially popular among companies who do the bulk of their services via the internet, like digital marketing or consulting firms, software companies, etc.
We used to be confined to our own backyard when hiring new team members, looking at the small radius of our city or state for people who could make the commute to work. Today, we have the option to employee people from across the country, or even the world, using technology to expand our workforce. Companies that work via the web have the opportunity to hire on help from anywhere, local, or in a different time zone.
Video conferencing, online team organizational tools, and the ability to pay anyone easily and securely makes this type of work sustainable and affordable for companies to hire the skills they need on a temporary basis.
Who's Out Gigging?
Gig Workers come in many varieties and from many backgrounds. These are people who are looking for flexibility that isn't offered by a traditional employment arrangement. There are lots of reasons someone may be looking for temporary work vs full time employment.
Students: College costs a lot of money. There are only so many campus jobs to go around and not all work fits into a the schedule of someone with a full course load. Students are looking for temporary work that can fit into their lives and earn them some extra cash while strengthening their skills for their chosen career.
Independent Contractors: Wanting to be their own boss, independent contractors like to decide who they work for and what projects they work on. These are people who are experienced professionals ready to take on your project, but aren't necessarily looking to jump on board full time, or are using gigs to supplement their income.
Retirees: Just because you're done working the grind and ready to settle into a more relaxed stage of life doesn't mean you want to lose the skills that made you successful. Retirees are looking for short term engagements to keep up to date with their industry and maybe make a little money on the side while they enjoy their later years.
Stay at Home Parents: Some professionals leave the 9-5 work model to stay at home with their kids, but may want to keep their skills up to date and stay relevant for when they want to return to the office. These people have all the knowledge and abilities you want in your company, but aren't looking to fill 40 hours a week, or need more flexibility to care for their family.
How Does My Company Benefit?
Let's take a look at all the pros that can come from filling the gaps in your company with gig workers:
- Save on Operating Expenses: When you hire someone on a temporary basis, you alleviate your company of paying additional costs that come along with a full-time, on-site employee. Employee benefits like insurance do not have to be offered to someone working short term, and if working remotely, you are saving on the cost of utilities, food, and parking for that employee.
- Try Before You Buy: This is a great way to see how someone works without committing to them full-time. If you try someone out and don't think they did a stellar job, you never have to hire them again. But if you find a hidden gem, you can keep them in mind for when you do need to bring someone on for the long run.
- Alleviate Capacity Woes: Business is great and everyone's busy, but only temporarily! If you've had a sudden hit of business that you know will level out, investing in a whole full-time employee isn't really the wise choice. Using gig workers to fill the gaps until you have your head above water will help to keep your team working hard but not over-worked.
- Easy Goodbyes: Once the project or gig is complete, you can part ways without a production. No firing or "letting go" here, just say thanks and see you next time. No worrying about if you followed procedure or left someone out in the cold.
- Specialized Skills: The need for a graphic designer, web developer, or other specialized and expensive skill often presents itself, but no one on your team is up to handling the task. Rather than hiring on a person to do this project then sit around on your payroll, use an independent contractor to get you the results you need.
Where Do I Find These Workers?
Excited about the idea of hiring gig workers? Check out these resources to find the help you need to keep your business growing:
Upwork: Upwork hosts gig workers in a huge variety of industries such as writing, virtual administration, translation, and even legal services.
Fiverr: Priding itself on being the world's largest marketplace for digital services, Fiverr offers freelancers from all kinds of industries such as graphic design, writing, and even music.
Gigster: If you're looking for an IT pro, Gigster is your go to for projects dealing with software development.
Behance.net: This site caters to those in creative fields like photography and graphic design. This site allows creatives to showcase their work and pick up temporary opportunities.
Whether you were working the gig or employing the gig worker, we want to hear your success story! Let us know how you've used temporary work to bring the gaps of employment.