The Gig Economy is Your Secret to Winning (or Losing) Your War for Talent

If 50% (at least) of your work force isn’t comprised of freelance, remote and contract workers by 2025, you will lose the War for Talent[1].

The Gig Economy is the job Economy

The Future of Work is no longer in the future and your best employees no longer intend to be tethered to a cubicle desk, attending regular meetings and climbing the job-ego ladder. The Gig Economy[2] is irreversible:

  • Of the 157 million employed people in the US, over 71 million are Gig-ists[3],
  • Globally, 3 billion people have jobs and 167 million of those Gig it[4],
  • Between 2016 and 2021 Gig working is increasing 135.9% worldwide[5].

In the Gig Economy, the best talent (your best talent) now demands both hard and soft benefits such as the freedom to work remotely and the luxury of choosing or refusing projects based on personal fulfillment without penalty. Here’s what you need to know and/or practice to get your workforce Gigged and your War for Talent won.

The Side Hustle Influence

These Gig Economy statistics also don’t include the potential impact to your company by the competition of the Side Hustle[6]. Almost 50 million Americans are side hustlers working (on average) 11 hours a week creating future-thinking business strategies and brands that will compete vigorously with yours. You want them on the inside with you not competing against you; to attract them, you’ll have to recognize why they love their side hustle and enable them to buy into yours.

The Work-Life Balance Priority

These hard statistics don’t take into account that Work-Life Balance is a non-negotiable employment condition of Millennials and retired Baby Boomers who will make up half of your workforce talent—virtually, remotely, on contract, seasonally—whether Gig is or is not your business structure preference.

Fifty percent of Boomers (75 million of them) want to work past retirement and 59% of them want to work freelance[7], citing flexibility, physical engagement in activity, mental challenge and social involvement as work-related priorities. Similarly, Millennials, numbering 73 million, don’t want to spend their time in an office (over 53% have indicated) and 79% want flexibility and the social benefit of good people and culture (80%)[8].

Evolution of the Self-starter Mentality

Long a favorite keyword of posters on the dreaded job-ad mega-aggregators like Monster and Indeed, “self-starter” has taken on a new character. The desirable independent and aggressive thinking and doing employee types are now defining what they want in return for their self-starterdom. Economic advancement hasn’t left the table but quality of life requirements have been put upon it. These ideal employee candidates are available to you if you embrace each individual’s vision of self-fulfilling version of self-starter which include exercising qualities such as:

  • Own each project,
  • Think like an entrepreneur (add value),
  • Communicate like a leader,
  • Compensation is essential but not necessarily financial,
  • Be picky for personal reasons,
  • Practice magnanimity and compassion,
  • Share what you know and learn, and
  • Move on when what can be done is done.

Independent Thinking 2020 and Beyond

The independent thinking of everyone who works gig in the Gig Economy is predicated on all the individual characteristics most valued by you, the employer:

  • Ambition,
  • Confidence,
  • Passion,
  • Positivity,
  • Self-motivation,
  • Enthusiasm,
  • Creativity,
  • Innovation,
  • Proactiveness,
  • Autonomy,
  • Communicative,
  • Leader-like,
  • Adaptable,
  • Optimistic,
  • Trendy,
  • Techy,
  • Culturally-cool.

Self-practitioners of the Gig place big-time values on their own personal and professional qualities, recognize they are strongly entrepreneurial, and now demand what can be called “soft benefits” for them. Read on.

Self-actualization as a Must-have

In the Gig Economy, everyone from Millennials-and-earlier to Boomers-and-later wants, even needs, to reach their potential and bring skills and talent to bear with every project they take on. While you, as an employer, may prefer to set all project objectives and pathways to achievement–and you have that right–doing so usually stifles the value each employee can bring and deliver. Self-actualization and the Gig Economy come hand-in-hand, make room for your freelance, virtual/remote, contract workers of all ages to:

  • Have some space and solitude built into their work environment,
  • Share and enjoy humor and laughter while working,
  • Indulge in spontaneity,
  • Enjoy the process not just the results,
  • Have transformative experiences while on-the-clock,
  • Practice and foster democratic work relationships, and
  • Be realistic while problem-centric.

Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle

The greatest soft benefits of the Gig Economy are the personal lifestyle choices Gig-ers can define and provide for themselves when you employ them:

  • Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility,
  • Location, location, location,
  • Diverse work,
  • Use of skills,
  • Ongoing learning,
  • Choice of projects, and
  • Growth of personal and professional network,

to name a few. Bottom line? Boomers and Millennials, and everyone in between put as much, if not more store in lifestyle than climbing corporate ladders and making big money.

In Conclusion

Economists and trend analysts expect the Gig Economy to grow[9] relentlessly, eventually overtaking traditional work models entirely. As it does, the level of professional sophistication in the new model will increase both with employees and employers. Companies that establish themselves as being frontrunners in Gig-Ec will have access to and loyalty from the best talent and Gig experience, subsequently leading your industry with the best delivery of product and service quality, value and fulfillment.



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