In 1926, Henry Ford popularised the 40-hour work week after he discovered through his research that working more yielded a small increase in productivity, which lasted a short period of time (Culture Amp). That was almost 100 years ago.

If you’re one to believe that this work model is outdated, you wouldn’t be alone. Nearly 60% of UK workers view the traditional 9-5 as an outdated concept (Insight), with many even saying the pandemic caused a “New Workweek Revolution”. As a result, organisations are less likely to demand a full-time workforce. In recent years, they’ve become increasingly invested in adding contractors, freelancers, and other contingent workers to the mix. In fact, according to Gitnux, the gig economy already accounts for one third of the world’s working population as of 2023. 

Given the current surge in the popularity of gig workers, it is crucial for businesses to approach it correctly. Traditionally, organisations have been narrowly focused on ensuring contentment among their permanent staff members. Now, these new opportunities for quality contract hires have posed a number of unforeseen challenges. How can I retain a loyal gig workforce? What best practices are there to nurture my gig workers successfully? 

This blog will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how companies can effectively sustain a powerful gig workforce for the future.

Prioritise Strong Onboarding

Curiously, a thorough onboarding process for gig workers is often overlooked by organisations looking to diversify their workforce. The philosophy that contract workers and freelancers don’t require onboarding is much more common than it should be. All workers benefit from getting to know the company they’ll be working with. Onboarding sets the scene for how you operate as a business, as well as what they can expect in terms of company culture. This alone can build trust, confidence, and loyalty for your organisation.

Enforce Payroll Transparency

Did you know that 45% of freelancers who rely on gig work as their primary source of income are anxious about their finances (Brodmin)? Just one issue with their paycheck could be the downfall of their loyalty to you as a business, yet struggles with efficient and flexible payroll persists. Giving your gig workforce the pay reliability and transparency they need is the backbone of their satisfaction and motivation. It’s more important than ever that organisations invest in robust payroll software that not only ensures timely and accurate payments, but gives their workforce complete payroll data visibility they need.

Enhance Recognition

As human beings, we thrive off of praise. It’s in our nature to be recognised for providing value and contributing to success. Acknowledging and appreciating the achievements of your gig workers is crucial to maintaining motivation. Make sure to publicly highlight their work or share positive feedback from clients or colleagues to further boost recognition, including them when showcasing your team’s “wins”. 

Regular Check-Ins

Finally, nurturing your gig workforce effectively requires regular check-ins. Encountering challenges in your work can be truly disheartening, especially when it feels as if nobody is willing to take the time to ask about your well-being.  Implementing effective communication practices allows you to proactively address your contingent workforce’s challenges or queries. It’s essential for employers to actively listen during these check-ins, allowing contingent workers to share their experiences, provide feedback, and seek clarification on expectations.

The Importance of Trust & Autonomy

Today’s workforce requires assurance that employer can trust them to work from anywhere. This is especially true when it comes to the contingent workforce. HR News found that 65% of Brits worry about being micromanaged at work. More often than not, micromanaging your workforce can raise stress levels, as well as resentment towards managers. This strained relationship could lead to decreased loyalty and a higher likelihood of turnover. When employees feel trusted and respected, they are more likely to be committed to the success of the organisation.

We’re seeing the gig economy grow by the day. By prioritising strong onboarding, enhancing recognition of your workforce’s successes, optimising payroll, and implementing effective communication channels for regular check-ins while maintaining trust and autonomy, you’re on the road to nurturing a happy, motivated, and more productive gig workforce for the future.