For many workers, the gig economy is a great thing. So why do some employers struggle to find the contractors they need?
In some circles, the gig economy gets a bad rap. Many critics’ concerns are legitimate: Isolation can take a toll on health, and gigs like transcribing audio files aren’t exactly fulfilling.
In other cases, gig economy misconceptions get in the way. In fact, there are plenty of high-paying gigs out there. Many gig workers are satisfied with their role and financial situation.
If your company can’t seem to bring in gig workers, you have your work cut out for you. Not only do you need to get the word out, but you also have to fight stigmas — deserved or not — around the new economy.
Here’s how to do it:
Develop a Good Job Description
Your first chance to set expectations around a role is in the job description. If the duties or benefits are unclear, don’t expect to get a lot of applications. Make it clear that you’ve thought it through.
Start with tasks: How long will they take? What equipment will workers themselves need to provide? How frequently will they be available?
Do the same for compensation: How much will gig workers be paid, and at what cadence? Will there be opportunities for raises and bonuses?
To show that you’re serious, develop blog content about the gig economy. Tips about how to thrive in the gig economy can draw the attention of contractors looking to expand their workload to other companies.
Pay a Fair Wage
Workers won’t make the jump to gigging if they don’t believe they’ll be paid enough for doing so. To entice new workers, your compensation has to compete with not only other gigs, but also with traditional jobs.
Remember, gig workers are responsible for paying their own self-employment taxes. That means they need to make an additional third of what they would in a similar employee role.
That might sound expensive, but you can still save up to 30 percent by hiring a gig worker in place of a regular employee. The key is to share the savings with the gig workers themselves.
One of the best selling points associated with gig work is flexibility. Stay-at-home parents can bring in income while getting out of the house or during nap time. Retirees can stay busy and supplement their Social Security benefits.
Most workers want the freedom to work as much or as little as they need. They like being able to take a long weekend one month, while picking up some extra tasks when funds run short the next.
Play that up, but be ready to shift work schedules around on a dime. You can’t advertise flexibility, then get frustrated when workers take you up on it.
Extend Your Company Culture
One of the best ways to combat the downsides of gig work — isolation, in particular — is to make gig workers feel like part of the team. Everyone wants to feel included.
Look for ways to bring gig workers into the fold. Why not invite them to your company picnic? If you provide in-office employees with free coffee, why not send a bag to each gig worker?
A positive culture not only attracts talent, but it also boosts retention. Retaining talent can create a flywheel effect: When people considering doing gig work for your company see existing workers sticking around, they’ll take it as proof that the position is desirable.
One of the biggest worries people have about gig work is precarity. They don’t want to be flush with work one week and unable to pay their bills the next.
As an employer, it’s up to you to provide gig workers with peace of mind. Building stability into your structure can make hesitant workers more likely to take the leap.
The best way to provide stability is by promising a minimum number of jobs per month to your gig workers. This allows them to calculate their minimum income to ensure they can pay their expenses. Many will be happy to take work beyond that minimum, but they want a baseline number for the sake of budgeting.
Another legitimate reason some people avoid contract work is that many gigs offer no benefits. Most traditional full-time jobs come with perks, such as 401(k)s and health insurance, which represent thousands of dollars in additional compensation.
True, attaching these benefits to gig roles adds to your labor costs. But think of it this way: If you’re trying to compete for gig workers, it’s one of the best differentiators out there.
Even if benefits like health insurance won’t fit in the budget, think through lower-cost options. What about a free gym membership or on-site daycare services? Even free snacks or company swag are better than nothing.
The gig economy may be the future, but that doesn’t mean companies won’t need to compete for workers. Think about what’s holding people back, and remove those barriers as best you can.