How Energizing the Gig Worker Can Help Retailers Succeed
Although the gig economy isn’t new, it has come of age in the past few years as employees look to gain greater control of their time and job choices. Gartner estimates gig workers account for about 20 percent of the global workforce, with that number increasing to 37 percent by 2025.
In some instances, the gig economy is a plus for employers as they may be able to cut traditional costs associated with hiring W-2 employees.
In today’s economy, retail jobs are hard to fill, and gig workers may help bridge this gap. However, it’s crucial to understand what’s important to gig workers, where to find them, and how to attract and retain them.
Show Them Flexibility
So, what incentivizes the gig economy? How can employers tap into this workforce to help them succeed during this particularly competitive peak season? Gig workers want the freedom to pick and choose the jobs that meet their respective needs and interests. They often want greater flexibility as many have multiple jobs, a side hustle, or passion projects.
Looking for Talent in All the Right Places
Gig work equals freelance work, and it goes beyond manual labor, quick-service food preparation, and cleaning hotel rooms. It applies to a variety of industries and disciplines, such as IT, delivery, consulting, writing, marketing, and yes, manual labor. For example, maybe you’re running a small office and you require a local IT resource or perhaps you’re a startup that needs some marketing and PR assistance but don't have an unlimited budget.
When looking to staff, you can’t treat gig workers like your standard hires — they don’t look for the same arrangements as full-time employees — so don’t expect to find them in the same places. There are apps and platforms, such as Bacon.Work, TaskRabbit, and GigTrack that enable workers to find employers offering shorter shifts and fixed-rate payment by task instead of by the hour.
Get Retention Right
To access these gig workers consider the following:
- Forget what you thought you knew about the ‘“regular” employee. Employers unwilling to hire for one-off shifts or jobs will be unable to fully tap into the gig segment of the workforce. Embrace this mentality shift and you’ll find many more prospects to fill those gaps in your workforce.
- Gig workers want freedom of choice, so why shouldn’t this apply to their payment options too? Enable workers by providing them with earned wage access (EWA) solutions and pay cards. This allows them to tap into their earnings quickly, without a bank account, and manage and budget their various income sources.
- What if some of your existing employees request more control and flexibility over their schedules? Let them. If you’re offering a gig-style work arrangement for new workers, why not for your current ones?
- Keep expectations and rules of the road simple. Remember that some of these employees might only work one shift with your company while others might stick around longer. This will encourage loyalty and increase the chances that gig workers will spread positive reviews.
- Ask the newbies. After you bring an employee on board, ask about how the process went and what can be improved. You’ll gain valuable insights by getting inside the head of your people.
Stay Competitive — Get Your Gig On
Perhaps you have trouble keeping certain positions filled, or maybe you’re losing employees because they want more freedom. Whatever the case, the gig economy is alive and well — and growing. Maybe it’s time you welcomed gig workers into your world. Doing so just might be the ticket needed to fill your hiring requirements while differentiating your brand from the competition.
Brian Radin is the president of Fintwist, part of one of the world's largest payments companies.
Related story: How Retailers Can Adjust to the ‘Gig Economy’