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Side Effect of the Gig Economy: Creating a New Kind of Manager

In part two of our blog series on the “side effects” of the gig economy, we’re turning our attention to how the new, more flexible state of the workforce is affecting managers in the workplace. (Last week we covered the gig economy’s impact on HR executives.)

While many media outlets are covering the gig economy’s impact on businesses and workers, most neglect to share the challenges it can create for managers. In truth, the gig economy is starting to rewrite the manager’s job description. Here’s how:

Juggling Managerial Responsibilities

Managers are responsible for driving their own performance, as well as that of their team members and collective department. They help set individual, team, and department goals and are judged on their ability to reach them. On a daily basis, we equate the role of a manager with several common responsibilities, including developing employees, serving as a career coach, and determining pay raises and promotions. These activities all aid in achieving business success and worker happiness.

Now, let’s consider a few ways that these tasks become difficult when utilizing a flexible workforce.

  • Gig workers are managed through a different tool than full-time employees, so their performance isn’t tracked or measured in the same way.
  • Many gig workers are specialists with niche skills, which is why they are brought on for specific work or projects. Their careers are often self-guided versus shaped by a full-time manager.
  • Gig workers aren’t always on the same career trajectory as traditional  employees who are working toward pay raises, bonuses and promotions. When a gig economy worker takes on a shift, they do so with the understanding that their expertise is needed for a certain time, and then they move on to the next one.

Building a Better Workforce

With a mixed workforce of full-time, contingent, and on-demand labor, how can managers be effective? Here are a few traits of successful managers who manage a blended workforce of full-time and temporary employees.

They focus on the work that needs to get done. Managers are ultimately responsible for getting work done, regardless of who is on their team, and how they are engaged. Keeping productivity high, and maintaining the connection between supply and demand will keep the team meeting its goals -- whether the team is comprised of full or part time members.

They mind the gaps. Great managers today are able to keep their team’s overall goals in sight, and identify where flexible workers might be able to make an impact. This requires managers to have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their individual team members, and use gig workers to fill in any gaps.

They understand the big picture. Managers must be able to understand how their team functions now, and into the future. Can an employee be trained to eventually take on the work of a flexible worker? Or is that type of work only needed for a short time and the employee should focus on other core capabilities? Great managers can actually improve their team’s abilities over time by staying one step ahead of needs.

Start taking advantage of the gig economy today!



June 13, 2017 | Shelby Eversole