We’re living in the gig economy - short term contracts and freelance work are becoming more prevalent than permanent jobs in many industries. The internet has ushered in with it a greater capability for remote work, while new apps (like Uber and Deliveroo) have given more power to independent contractors and opened up new opportunities for gig-based work.
The growing need for agility in how companies do business means an ‘on demand’ workforce allows organizations to staff up and down as required. EY predicts that by 2020 gig workers will comprise up to 30% of an organization’s workforce. Keeping these individuals engaged is critical to your business success.
Here we provide an overview of how you can provide a culture first experience for the gig workers in your organization.
Collect feedback before taking action
A lot of existing advice on engaging gig workers focuses on providing tactical solutions at different parts of the employee lifecycle. This ranges from including them in onboarding, creating customized communications, and for some, assessing their culture fit.
While this is important, it misses a key component - understanding how gig workers actually feel about working at your organization. Before jumping into solution mode, take a step back and diagnose first by collecting feedback.
Giving gig workers a voice in your organization is the first step in really understanding how they feel, what drives their engagement, and their experience of working in your organization. Some ways of doing this include a simple conversation, including gig workers in your engagement survey, and gathering feedback on the wider employee experience.
1. Build inclusion by starting with a simple conversation
Whether someone is with your organization for three months or three years, their experience at work matters. Gig workers are not robots, they are people just the same as your salaried employees. When working at your organization they need to feel included and heard.
A simple way to include people is through informal catch-ups with HR and their managers. Check in on how they’re doing in their role or dedicated project or what they’re struggling with in their role. See our guide to employee feedback examples for more discussion topics.
Our research at Culture Amp has shown that belonging is a driver of engagement and ultimately an individual’s motivation - gig workers are no different. With any conversation, remember to close the feedback loop by following up on any challenges that have been highlighted with next steps.
2. Include gig workers in your engagement survey
The next step to understanding what drives gig workers’ engagement and motivation is to include them in your employee engagement survey.
In addition to asking general employee engagement survey questions, we recommend that you review results and take action by:
- Addressing any potential differences in the survey results between gig and salaried employees
- Identifying an area of focus to improve the overall employee experience. This includes improving your gig worker experience as well as that of salaried employees.
3. Gather gig worker feedback on the employee experience
Finally, broaden your understanding of the gig worker experience by looking at other points in the employee lifecycle like recruiting and onboarding.
Gig workers are no different to permanent employees when it comes to building perceptions of your employer brand. Understanding their experience throughout the employee lifecycle is crucial to ensuring your organization is providing a culture first experience.
There are a number of touch points to do this beyond an engagement survey:
- Candidate survey - If there is a selection process in picking the right candidate for a temporary role ask for their feedback about the process. This type of information highlights not just strengths, but opportunities where you can improve the experience and ultimately keeping the ideal candidates for the job engaged.
- Onboarding and Exit surveys - These are also great tools to gather feedback on experience and perceptions of your brand. How an employee enters and leaves an organization is as important as how you engage with them during their stay. A great experience is a positive reflection of your culture and brand.
Remember, it is not enough to just gather feedback on experiences of the different points of the employee lifecycle, you must also act on it. Choose one area of focus and do it well when it comes to making a positive employer brand experience for your organization.
Why gig worker engagement matters
A gig worker’s employee lifecycle is shorter compared to permanent employees and they will work at multiple companies in a year. Gig workers can be a great platform to leverage your employer brand. Therefore, collecting their feedback to help cultivate a positive experience will ultimately create strong brand advocates for your organization as an employer.
Engaging gig workers is critical because:
- Strong brand advocacy builds awareness of your brand and ultimately your reputation as an employer people want to work for.
- Gig workers advocating your brand in the market will build your reputation and help you in attracting other potential talent (including gig workers themselves!).
- Creating an ‘alumni’ of gig workers can be fantastic for business as they will hopefully return with more skills and knowledge to share and add value at your organization.
If you can gather the feedback to build an engaged workforce of gig workers now, then your organization will be well positioned to remain relevant and agile in the ever changing world of work.
Fiona is a Senior People Scientist at Culture Amp, where she guides clients throughout their journey on obtaining employee feedback from survey design to drawing actionable insights. She works with our mid tier to larger enterprise customers across APAC. With a background in Organizational Psychology, Fiona's experience spans 12 years providing insight and strategic planning in the areas of Employee Engagement, Employer Branding and Cultural Transformation.