Engaging an augmented workforce in a gig economy

The talent industry is moving towards an ecosystem where an augmented work force can be employed for small gigs/projects

Published: 20, Mar 2018

Infosys is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions. We enable clients, in more than 30 countries, to stay a step ahead of emerging business trends and outperform the competition. We help them transform and thrive in a changing world by co-creating breakthrough solutions that combine strategic insights and execution excellence.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Innovation has left no industry or organisation untouched. It has proved to be the transformational force that has compelled organisations to rethink and redesign their approach towards their goals. Evolving technology coupled with the power of the human mind, has given rise to progressive business models. Today, the world has transitioned from “what’s better?” to “what’s next?”

The fourth wave of industrial revolution has led to the convergence of the physical world, the digital world and human beings, which has impacted the talent landscape as well. The industry is moving towards an ecosystem where an augmented work force can be employed for small gigs/projects. Organisations are investing, now more than ever on acquiring, nurturing and training full-time talent in hopes of forging a strong bond beyond attrition. Businesses face a new dilemma - should they invest in building relations with the workforce? If not, what will be the repercussions? If yes, how should they forge that meaningful bond?

What is Gig Economy?
According to Wikipedia, the Gig economy is a labor market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.
Organisations derive immense value from the Gig economy workforce.
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According to an article published in ‘Small Business Trends’ in 2016 on stats about the Gig Economy, one in every three American is a freelancer with the projection of half of the working US population moving into the gig economy within the next five years. It also cites India’s independent workforce, the second largest in the world at 15 million, as filling about 40 percent of the world’s freelance jobs.

This data indicates that the sheer volume and size of the Gig Economy demands seriousness about the topic with trends predicting it heading only northwards.

Know your customer, as they say
The Human Resources (HR) function follows this principle to understand extensively the ‘Talent First’ principle and devices mechanisms and initiatives which could help establish mutually enriching bonds. As for the Gig Economy, it has the following characteristics as enumerated in the diagram below:

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The advantageous proposition of the Gig economy’s talent enumerated above, highlights the remarkable value industry can derive from an augmented workforce. Organisations should move past the “give and take” transactional nature of bonds, by drafting a unique Talent Value Proposition (TVP) – along the lines of the traditional EVP-meant for full-time employees.

It has dawned upon HR teams that the principles of engagement with talent remain relevant to contractual employees as much as they are valid for full-time employees. Organisations need to build a brand that engages and nurtures the augmented workforce to leverage their skills, knowledge, and experience holistically.

Consequentially, the human resources function can invest in an Uberized workforce by building unique human resource solutions that mirror the lifecycle of this augmented workforce.

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The Gig economy is a free economy. It is crucial to be an employer of choice for the Gig economy’s talent. The talent experience with the organization speaks for itself. An augmented workforce is highly connected and is bound to freely share experiences and opinions on social platforms which could influence the perception and brand of an employer. Platforms like Glassdoor empower employees to rank organizations on various parameters. The answers lies in having a well-crafted and brilliantly executed Talent Value Proposition, translating it into an excellent work-experience thereby, maximizing the benefits of the Gig economy workforce in a digitized talent landscape.

By Clifford Mohan Pai, AVP - HR Business Leader and Head - Employee Relations

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