Rahul Sethi
Leadership Coach and Trainer

The gig economy is here, and radically changing the way we work and how businesses organize themselves. It is the result of social and technological changes that the world is witnessing. Figures from PwC suggest that 80% of the workforce will comprise of gig workers by 2030.

When it comes to the integration of gigs to the workforce, organisations are concerned about cultural impacts, workforce productivity, and the financial bottom line. As with every strategic shift, some will flourish, and some will perish. The one who thrives will be the leaders who are flexible to take a dynamic view on business. The one racing ahead will see the real opportunities, embrace the gig workforce and create a shared sense of identity & purpose.

This changing business environment calls for leadership that can maximize the benefits of temporary working relationships, distributed talent resources, and complex career paths. We will witness a new style of leadership in the gig economy that will have the following traits

1. Let go successful paradigms

Leaders need to be more willing to let go of previously successful models that have run over the years. Open-mindedness to embrace significant shifts in terms of thinking collectively about factors contributing to business success.

2. Balancing secured and gig friendly systems

The right technology, structures, and processes that are easy for remote plug into their organisation. Applications that work across screens and operating systems. 100% data management on the cloud to ensure employees have the technological equipment they need to do their job remotely. Video meetings to be a way of life and one may never meet the fellow employee/s. All this has to happen along with the highest level of data security and protecting intellectual property.

3. Work on new Competencies for gig hiring

Gigs will be an essential part of your talent pool, with equal consideration given to assessing their capabilities and outputs. Hiring gig workers might not be difficult, but making sure that the right selection is going to be crucial. As most of the gig workforce will not be physically present in the offices, several factors related to accountability, long term association and commitment to results is to be considered. Lenders will come up with a unique competency framework aligned with business objectives for hiring the gig workforce.

4. The decision to gig/no-gig

Leaders will need to be better skilled at making strategic decisions around which areas and tasks in the organisation need to be done by gigs and also be flexible to shift this over time as circumstances change. It will involve evaluating the extent to which their business will benefit from moving to a less rigid operating model. Key considerations here will include competitive differentiation, degree of industry disruption and investor expectations.

5. Redefining skills development
Skills are the only selling point for Gigs, and like everyone else, they want to grow professionally. Irrespective of the employment takes of Gigs, the company’s commitment to staff development will make a business more attractive place to work. The future corporate world for its business success will have to collectively ensure the future workforce (contingent or not) has the requisite skills. Leaders must invest in an active learning management system that could propagate organisations objectives clearly for remote and transient gig workers. More use of gamification to resonates with gig workers and significantly boosts the ability to learn.

6. Engaging to enhance Brand image

Unlike the current situation where employees and leadership of the organisation represent the strength of a brand. Successful leaders of the future will be one that sees the advantages of positively involving gigs and part-time employees as the face of a brand. If they will feel part of the organisation and bought into its mission and purpose, they are more likely to stretch when interacting with customers, and more likely to be loyal to the company.

7. Inclusive approach

Leaders need to take an inclusive approach to run businesses as more dimensions for diversity will have to be addressed apart from just with cross border workforce. Connect with a varied set of audiences to build a cohesive working culture that supports the new operating models. The key to this is will be an authentic leadership style that can adjust the communication to fit a particular audience.

8. Business continuity models with Transferable accountability

With gig workers will come with the necessary skills and knowledge but can’t stay past a certain period of a contractor, business continuity models will have to be thought accordingly, specifically for long drawn projects. Leaders will have to drop sole accountability and create models that allow transferable accountability.

9. Engagement 2.0

Leaders will decide on the degree of differentiation in the treatment of employees versus gigs. Gig workers have a higher chance of leaving until they are appropriately engaged. Organisations will have to make gigs understand business revenue drivers and provide them visibility into how their work impacts the overall business growth.

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