Often times when we think of the “gig economy” or “on-demand labor” we think of its effect on our day-to-day lives - finding a car service, someone to walk your dog, or even pick up your dry cleaning. The simplicity of using services like Uber and Airbnb is certainly appealing for your everyday consumer, but what does it really mean for corporate America and its traditional workforce model?
I came across an article recently in The Observer that likened the gig economy to spurring the creation of thousands - if not soon-to-be millions - of “one-person businesses.” The article argued that larger corporations should and will embrace these individuals and the benefits they afford them, including combatting the skills gap by hiring niche talent, being able to scale up or down quickly, and even reducing the administrative burden of employee development on management.
Earlier in my career, I was one of these “one-person businesses.” These benefits mentioned above are true for employers, but this flexible work arrangement had a number of benefits for the worker themselves as well. I was able to create my own schedule around other commitments while gaining valuable and varied work experience that made me more attractive to future employers. That experience serves me well today at Shiftgig.
Will there always be a place for full-time employees? We believe that answer is yes. Every company needs a dedicated, focused group of individuals who drive a company’s mission, represent its values, and serve as true innovators in their respective fields. For some roles, you cannot replace tenure and experience.
However, for other functions, a variety of “gig” roles absolutely makes sense. Contracting an IT resource to build your website allows you to embrace their niche skills. For those filling orders in your warehouse or working your store floors, bringing in on-demand workers for short-term engagements enables scalability. Using experienced servers at your facility’s next wedding lets your managers focusing on delighting their bride and groom versus teaching new staff how to correctly hold a tray. And the list goes on.
No matter what you business does, there are some essential core functions that do not require tribal knowledge of your processes and programs. For these roles, embracing an on-demand workforce model in tandem with your full-time staff will help you realize talent as a true differentiator, in whatever form that may be.