Striking the Right Culture Fit in Placing Gig Workers

Business is more complicated than ever. There are numerous issues stressing your client’s HR team, including technology changes, the need to align the organization’s values with those of their workforce and customers, and the imperative to deliver culturally sensitive, cost-effective, and high-quality products and services. It’s a little daunting, to say the least, and the current environment can be utterly unforgiving of any mistake. So how do you help your clients create a flexible workforce model that can consume the largest growing talent channel – the gig workforce – in a way that is consistent with their company’s culture?

Striking the right culture fit when placing gig workers is easier said than done. You’re placing a gig worker in a role a permanent employee might have previously filled, and their mindset and what they value may not be the same. Your client needs to understand the nature of gig work—and gig workers—and have the systems in place to make them successful.

A gig-friendly culture? When you are working with an organization to place people to work there, you are in a unique position that has positives and negatives. You need to understand the organization well enough to know whether what they say about their culture is accurate and applicable to a flexible, “gig” work style. Many companies that are assessing their use of an on-demand work model need to evaluate their ability to consume work delivered on-demand. What does that mean? These examples illustrate the point very well:

  • First, what is the informal flow of information in the organization? Through hallway conversations where people are on-site? If so, how would a distributed workforce find out information that is shared? Is there a mechanism for ensuring that someone who isn’t in the building gets the latest news about the project that they are working on?
  • Another example relates to background screening. Does the business understand that just because a worker is not permanent or full-time does not mean that they can skimp on screening, and put their workforce at risk? A gig worker can have as much impact — positive or negative — on an organization as a full-time employee.

These adjustments can make the consumption of an on-demand workforce more challenging. They can make engagement managers uncomfortable, but that’s the point. Business is fighting against a lack of agility and inability to adapt. Embodying these behaviors is more critical than ever.

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Aligned values. In the current job market, candidates act like your customers — and candidates, particularly those working as freelancers, want to know that an organization aligns with their values. They know that a company and the worker’s affiliation with that company affect the worker’s “brand.” On-demand workers make choices about whom they want to work with based on the company’s reputation. While many times this is thought to be a millennial issue, it’s not. These issues are generation-neutral because of the many ways to share your opinion and the ease of doing so. Businesses need to be clear about what they stand for (or against) and how they communicate it. An organization’s stance on various social issues can determine how attractive projects will be to gig workers. Are the values represented in the business’s actions? For instance, does a company use the latest social media screening technologies to check for red flags such as sexism, bigotry, or violence when hiring? Organizations need to understand that the value they bring to the people who chose to work for and with them is as essential as the value they bring to their customers.

As businesses begin to understand the gig economy and the added dynamics this talent channel brings to their workforce, leaders also need to be clear on their business culture—and if it is the culture they want. Understanding their culture can lead them to attract gig workers who will advance not just their business strategy and goals, but their business culture as well.

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Amy Anger

Amy Anger
Amy Anger is a client partner with Fulcrum Workforce Solutions where she guides Fortune 1000 companies to compliantly integrate on-demand workers into their workforce. Amy speaks often on the topics of company culture and the gig economy.

Amy Anger

David Bloom

David Bloom
David Bloom is general manager of the gig, volunteer, and consumer groups at Sterling, an employment background screening solutions provider.

Amy Anger

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