America was well on its way to establishing a gig economy and the pandemic is expected to throw it into overdrive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2017 that 55 million people in the U.S. are gig workers—those that do not have an implicit or explicit contract for long-term employment. This includes independent contractors (freelancers or independent consultants), on-call workers, temp employees and contract firms. Prior to Covid-19, the BLS already anticipated the gig workforce to grow from 34% in 2017 to 43% in 2020. Post-pandemic, the projections are expected to be even higher.
What does this mean for your business and your workforce? Experts expect this working number to continue rising, as gig positions facilitate freelancers working independently and remotely.
There is so much to think about when redesigning your workforce but your main goal is not to overwhelm your team. Let’s focus on four factors you need to consider if you feel the ground shifting at your office.
- Compliance–It is critical that you have processes in place that address working with gig positions. Here are some questions to consider when outlining expectations:
- What proprietary information will they have access to and how do you need to protect your business through non-compete and non-disclosure agreements?
- What technology will they have access to within your business (shared drives, CRMs, back end of your website) and are login credentials protected?
- As a representative to your business, what codes of ethics will apply to your gig employees?[Make sure you’re staying current with employment law.]
- Productivity–If you anticipate a full-time employee moving to a gig position, it’s imperative that productivity expectations are in place so that everyone is treated fairly. Be prepared with the following:
- Subscribe to a shared project management system that allows for remote team collaboration and keeps track of the status of projects and tasks.
- Build time into your gig contract for weekly status update calls.
- Depending on the length of your gig contract, set realistic goals and expectations on what you want to accomplish and the time frame in which goals should be met.
- Profitability–From a profit standpoint, the gig economy can be a win-win for both the business and the contractor.
- Do your homework ahead of time to understand a fair rate for each particular service and know that if an employee is shifting from full-time to a contractor position, they now have to pay self-employment taxes, medical and additional expenses. This should be reflected in their hourly rate.
- As with any vendor, check your invoices and be aware of “scope creep,” where a project grows beyond its original expectations
- Be sure to have an agreement with terms and conditions
- Turnover–In a perfect world, there would be no turnover! Finding the right independent contractor and retaining them is golden. Consider the following:
- Not everyone is cut out for a gig role. If the three conditions mentioned above are not being met, you must address the situation and be prepared to end the agreement, regardless of whether they were a former employee or not.
- Some folks thrive in an independent contracting role, and that’s when the relationship is working and expectations are being met. Be sure to acknowledge your successful gig workers’ contributions to your business and show your appreciation.
We’re here to help businesses successfully adjust to a new workforce.