How recruiters need to rethink employee appreciation to nurture the emerging gig worker
The rapid growth of the gig economy in recent times can be attributed to the fact that employees no longer prefer a nine-to-five job with a fixed payroll; instead, they prefer balancing out various income streams and to work independently on their terms. This ‘choose what works best for you’ attitude has attracted a good number of employees to opt for gig working. The increasing unemployment level has also added to the scope of the gig economy. It offers potential employment opportunities for many.
Gig workers are given the freedom to choose a line of work that interests them. A lot of employees prefer working for the gig economy because they are happier working on their own terms. This shows a new trend that’s emerging in both - the work culture and employment economy. The rate at which gig work is scaling is pretty impressive and it is a massive win for all the freelancers and the gig workers. Unlike traditional jobs, gig work is evolving with time. As a result, more than half (53%) of the younger population (ages 18-34) is working for the gig economy and it is also their primary source of income.
Inclusion and Diversity
The gig economy is a vast field and it is also inclusive in nature. It provides equal opportunities across genders, ages, social groups, and differently-abled people. For companies hiring gig workers, it is the task at hand that matters the most and not the process. Today, the gig economy is worth $350 billion for the simple reason that here the job profiles are vast and the scope of biased work culture is less. Here, employees are the king and companies have to compete to hold on to the most prized and skilled gig tasker. In a gig work culture, it is important to foster healthy relationships with all workers without any discrimination.
Many companies that follow a virtual work model, encourage labour flexibility and entrepreneurialism amongst each working group including men, women, college-goers, differently-abled, under-graduates, etc. According to recent reports from Taskmo, a gig marketplace, there is a 3x surge in participation of women in the gig economy, especially in industries like fin-tech, edtech, e-commerce, fashion tech, and health-tech.
The data suggest that India has around 3 crore people with disability(PwD) and around 1.3crores are employable, however only 34 lakh of them have been employed. With the gig economy, this gap can be filled as it can provide the right career opportunities with the required convenience. Gig work is also considered an exciting choice for today’s youth as it perfectly fits their lifestyle. Data reports suggest that 40% of skilled workers and 32% of non-graduates are willing to take up gig jobs in the future. College-goers also prefer gig working as it suits their odd timings and also gives them some monthly remuneration.
Appreciation of gig workers
There have been several talks around gig workers seeking statutory benefits and recognition as ‘unorganised workers’. They are eligible for social security under the existing Indian laws. Appreciating a gig worker for successful completion of the task would be a company’s first step towards creating a balance in the workforce scenario. Motivation has truly driven all during the pandemic. Lack of which could be one of the reasons for a gig worker to quit. Right appreciation policies can encourage the employees to perform better at a workplace.
No matter what the job at hand is, words of appreciation and regard are all that an individual/employee seeks. A sense of boosting motivation is always needed as it cheers a person up. Even if it is a short gig, it still works as it is a job for someone. That’s just how gig workers would be earning their bread and butter. Though there is a lot of scope in the sector, most companies find it hard to retain gig workers.
What can companies offer?
Some minute changes can drive an employee to remain in the same company for longer, thereby scaling the work environment and providing a better work-life balance. Once the employees are satisfied and happy, they will continue to stay and help in the growth of the company. Investing in employees determines the future of a company.
A few of the ways in which, companies can improvise the retention of an employee are -
Help Desk & Live-Support System
Gig workers on the field are the main representatives of the company. They are considered accountable for the end result and are often contacted for queries or grievances from the customer. In such instances, it's necessary that a company provides structured support to the gig workers so that they can solve the issues on their own as and when it occurs. Additionally, having an easy and automated task approval system will make the gig worker’s job easier as they might not be aware of the companies to-dos.
Companies must consider gig workers as their own employees and provide them with additional benefits other than just the basic payouts. For most companies, gig workers are their sole employees and it becomes necessary to retain them from shifting to work for the competitor brands. Providing them accessibility to loan and credit support would encourage them to stay with the company for longer. With these benefits and by improvising the payment system, companies will be able to build loyalty and a sense of belonging in the minds of the gig workers.
Words of Appreciation
Awarding the employees for their great work towards the company and the customers is one of the oldest ways to retain and encourage employees. Appreciation letters and certificates will boost the morale of the employees. Most companies already have a customer rating service in place. It's necessary to align this rating system with employee benefits. A good rating could provide the employees with a bonus or a salary hike. Employees also highly regard when a higher official appreciates them. Such acts of kindness would make the employees believe in the company and thereby a long term equity can be built with them so that they are available for an employer when needed.