The roots of the term ‘gig economy’ can be traced back to the American jazz music scene of the 1920s. A ‘gig’ was an agreement a musician made to perform at a particular venue - it could be for one night or for many.
Now the term is used to describe a general shift in working habits as more people operate independently on flexible, short term contracts. A 2016 study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that around 30 percent of the US and European workforce are now independent workers.
The gig economy is generally linked to specific services such as Uber and Deliveroo which use technology to contract workers on a job-to-job basis. But it also includes a more general ‘mix and match’ world of freelancers and contractors.
It’s a move away from traditional employment contracts and the ‘9 to 5’ approach that poses some significant challenges for HR managers. As companies start to explore these new employment strategies, HR teams will need to respond.
Evolving onboarding challenge
This will mean finding better ways to manage employee onboarding - the HR process of bringing new hires into a business. For more than two-thirds of companies (68%), said this is something that’s still handled via traditional methods - emails, spreadsheets and phone calls.
It creates a rigid and inefficient system that’s not designed to cope with the changing employment trends driven by the gig economy. HR teams can expect to handle increasing volumes of new hires with a greater mix of contractual setups.
But while technology is enabling the growth of the gig economy, it’s also providing the tools that are needed to effectively handle today’s onboarding challenge. More companies are now switching over to a new generation of cloud-based onboarding software.
A system such as webonboarding removes any reliance on manual methods of communication when handling new hires - whether they’re full-time employees or contractors. Everything is handled in real-time with cloud-based management allowing HR processes to be automated.
Smart digital HR systems
All of the information that’s required for a new hire is provided via an online portal with each stage of the onboarding process being tracked. It handles everything from employment contracts and payroll details to company welcome videos.
Document templates can be created for each type of role and position that’s available within an organization, allowing HR to create accurate contracts and offer letters in an instant.
The switch from manual to digital management provides a fully scalable solution that’s future-proofed to handle any of the demands brought about by the gig economy. Webonboarding is just as efficient when handling five or five thousand onboardees.
By drastically reducing the administrative time and resources required, it allows HR teams to provide contractors with the same quality of onboarding experience as a full-time employee.
So as the nature of our workforces continues to evolve, so will the demands placed on HR. The companies best able to handle the increasingly flexible way people are working stand to gain the most from the growing influence of the gig economy.