Is Gig Economy Providing Training Ground for Self-Directed Employees / Self-Developing Organizations?

Wed 20 September 2017


The Great Gig in the Cloud

The freelance labor market is no longer predominantly driven by employers checking regulatory laws and using consultants where it makes business sense. In the past, a sad, often-cited joke was you called yourself a “consultant” when you got laid off by an employer and had to take work wherever you could, without healthcare benefits provided through the “gig.” Much of this 1980s/1990s “consultant” stigma has dissipated.

Millennials, who soon will make up half of the workforce, have in many studies relished the flexibility of the gig economy role, as they further enhance their education, gain experience and monitor for most-cherished full-time opportunities. But the gig economy is not all Millennial-driven. Seasoned Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers have also been able to adapt to the flexible and fluid hours, choosing the clients and projects they feel comfortable with, and the ability to drive their own price. Perhaps this is why The Gig Economy also goes by nickname of The Flex Economy, or even The Freedom Economy, according to one source.

The Internet, a critical resource for finding work, offers online freelance marketplaces where consultants can build profiles, view opportunities, “bid for” jobs, track hours, and receive payment and references for future work.

Employers still value long-time tenure as criterion for full-time positions, but self-employment has lost some of its stigma in the eyes of employers as well. Corporations have always harnessed renowned think tanks, consultant/contractor teams and high-priced, high-powered experts who come in and share their experience with us or others in our organization. There’s also recently out-of-work executives who can contribute as consultants and mentors, or, conversely, recent college grads (Millennials and Gen Z) looking to build a list of gigs. Nowadays, “consultant” can mean motivated professional who comes in and does a job while full-time staff members are unavailable. It’s a gig, right?

Why Consultants?

Our everyday jobs prove how difficult it is to complete projects when hampered by disruptive events such as market quakes, reorganizations/layoffs, leaves of absence, siloed behavior and routine vacation schedules. We are not always equipped with the reserves, aka plug-in team members or transferable skills, we need in order to fluidly meet every objective. It’s vital to remember that serving customers is continuous and we cannot allow long service delivery turnarounds where the all-mighty customer is concerned. This is why ensuring business continuity through seasoned consultants is a sensible strategy, and in a gig economy we can tap into the community of people with the skills we need to achieve an outcome.

Online talent marketplaces, i.e., portals for freelancers that are increasingly offloading aspects of the employment burden from employers, offer a platform on which any motivated consultant can find and perform work, build awareness of services rendered, learn new things, and manage finances, expenses and tax payments. For the employer, this removes a lot of the back-end burden / corporate overhead, particularly for HR departments.

Meanwhile, as hiring teams search for self-starting, easily onboarded individuals to contribute missing functions immediately, self-employed people can offer value by picking up the pieces at critical points in time. With experience in being their own bosses, they run the gamut in the value they can contribute from business stakeholder, project owner, tax payer, project manager, self-directed learner and more, all of which remove pressure from your front- and back-office staffs.

In essence, by recruiting a gig worker, whether empowered by a digital marketplace or not, you are bringing aboard someone who has a reasonable level of self-starter skills, which is a strong head-start in the transformation to a self-developing organization, in which motivated and recognized individuals drive your progress toward corporate objectives.

Total Workforce Acquisition

However, what happens when your organization wants to get more creative and efficient in terms of viewing part-time and full-time candidates simultaneously? Volume recruiting can be a best practice when you are easily able to winnow the best from the rest. Maybe, you are looking for a full-time engineer and a part-timer at the same time, and want to save some steps and money.

Lumesse offers a talent acquisition platform that enables organizations to source independent contractors while providing an inside/outside 360 degree view of internal and external resources to help accelerate the search for best-fit freelancers. This consolidated visibility includes the consultants in your internal talent pool, contract workers uncovered on job sites, and agency contractors and other online talent marketplace members.

Once this information is collected and optimized according to matching skills, relevance and other criteria, hiring teams can compare the total set of sourcing opportunities, side by side, before they make a choice toward consultant and employee needs. This provides the efficiency of looking at contingent workers the same time you look at external candidates for a permanent role.

The Lumesse platform then allows you to rank the candidate consultants by criteria such as availability, key skills, experience, cost and others. You would also simultaneously be able to see if somebody internally is available to do the job.

For more information, download the Lumesse white paper, “How to Meet Skills Shortages by Plumbing the Gig Economy.”