Leveraging The Gig Economy The Right Way

from Forbes

The rapid rise of the gig economy has been stunning. Companies like Lyft and Uber have achieved enormous valuations – and the growth continues to be robust.

Of course, none of this would be possible without smartphones, cloud computing and even AI (Artificial Intelligence). All of these technologies have converged – leading to disruptive changes.

To put things in perspective, about 35% of the US workforce and 16% of the entire population is a part of the gig economy.  Yet this should be no surprise as gig economy workers have the benefits of earning money on their own terms, being their own bosses.

So what does this mean for companies?  What are some strategies to consider?

“When the values of millions of bright, talented, driven, and entrepreneurial workers have evolved, so too should your hiring process,” said Woody Klemmer, who is the co-founder and COO of Laborocity.  The company helps hire contract workers on-demand.

More here.

Posted in Business, Careers and tagged , .


  1. I found this article to be very interesting and enjoyable to read. I always knew that companies like Lyft and Uber were on the rise and starting to take over but I never knew what they were called. Not only did I learn that it was a gig economy, but also that gig economies are starting to take over in many businesses, “to put things in perspective, about 35% of the US workforce and 16% of the entire population is a part of the gig economy”. I completely agree with the author when he says that it is smart for companies to get involved with the gig economy because it will save them money over time, “As opposed to hiring full-time employees during that period, businesses no longer need to lay off employees and carry the accompanying financial burden”. There is no need for companies to hire people to normal positions during peak times in the year when they could just bring them on for a little bit and then eventually they will leave and move onto the next job. I find this way of doing business to be extremely smart and proficient. Being involved in the gig economy does not sound like the worst thing in the world because it appears that there may always be a job available to you when you need it.
    I was able to experience the gig economy firsthand right before school started at my job. I work at Sesame Place and near the end of the summer a lot of the workers start to go back to school and that leaves Sesame shorthanded for a certain period of time. For the first time ever instead of going out and trying to hire a bunch of kids to work for them before they went back to school the park president decided to hire workers that would strictly work for a few weeks and then leave to go to their next job. This turned out to be a huge success and really helped out Sesame in the long run. Granted, Sesame did have to pay extra for these workers to come and help them, but it saved the company from having to hire a bunch of new workers to eventually just have to fire people come next year. After reading this article I learned that this type of work is pretty legitimate and one where I might look into for the future. If it was not for the gig economy then Sesame Place would have been in trouble and would defiantly have to get rid of people come next year when everyone came back from school.

  2. I think that this article was very eye opening. We live in this age where new technology happens around us as if its second nature that we take for granted, and never really think twice about. I use Uber so frequently on my iPhone that I never even thought about what kind of company it is. I had never heard of the term “gig economy” until I read this article. The gig economy is rapidly increasing all around us. Just like John noticed in his comment above, the quote, “about 35% of the US workforce and 16% of the entire population is a part of the gig economy”, from this article really put it into perspective for me. Our world is all about technology and simplifying communication and services through smartphones, so seeing the gig economy growing is actually pretty amazing. This allows for workers to choose when they want to work and being hired on demand. Someone can choose to drive for Uber in the morning and then later in the day drive for Lyft. There is no set schedule for an Uber/Lyft employee, so many might think “how does this work, what if nobody wants to work at that time?” which is a great question. I think that the reason this works so well is because people are always trying to make money, and if they know that rates go up at certain times, they will definitely be more willing to drive at two in the morning on a Friday night. It lets people go do one job and then move on to the next, with no binding decision to stick with one job. I really like the quote, “The new generations of workers, who will soon be a majority of the workforce, value freedom, experience, technology, and having a job that is impactful.” One of my professors made a point about how big corporations basically own people once they hire them. They do not care if you are tired, or about your family reunion, etc. With the gig economy, there are definitely higher values for more personal time, while still making money and benefiting both the company you are working for, and yourself… especially in companies where the demand for employees fluctuates during the year depending on the season. I also liked how they mentioned incorporating Slack into companies adapting to the new generation of workers… since it is helpful and we use it in our class.
    At my best friend’s school, they have a program called “quick jobs”, where students can go help out at events and make cash fast. It’s easy for students to find jobs, as well as helpful to the companies in need of extra hands. I feel like a lot of schools, and other companies will start shifting towards such opportunities in the next few years with the rise of the gig economy. It is definitely beneficial for college kids looking to make extra cash, as well as people that do not want to settle down with one job the rest of their lives. I will definitely be paying more attention to the gig economy after reading this article.

  3. Without even always being aware of it, technology is a part of everyone’s world more than they might have anticipated or realized. For instance, before reading this article, I had never heard of a gig economy before. From reading this and looking into the definition of a gig economy, it is basically a temporary job where an individual will get paid for one specific job at a time instead of having a contract of employment. The “Leveraging the Gig Economy the Right Way” article uses Lyft and Uber as examples for explaining this so-called gig economy. The gig economy roots back to the development of technology and where it has led us so far. If we take Lyft and Uber, for instance, it has enabled the public to call a ride in a matter of minutes to get themselves to their desired location. Uber and Lyft employees are able to start working on their own terms and have a say in deciding when they want to become active or not. A fascinating statistic that this article used states, “About 35% of the US workforce and 16% of the entire population is a part of the gig economy” (Taulli). This data is extremely interesting because that is a high percentage which means that as the years continue it will increase even more. Technology appears to have no end at the moment which also means that a new way of going about life in the business world and in general will have to adapt. In some ways, it might be difficult because it is not always easy for a society to change their ways, especially if the outcome and consequences of doing so are unknown.
    With this new innovative way of stimulating businesses and their revenue, it will most likely be more adaptive in the recent future. As discussed in the article during the holiday seasons, instead of employers trying to find full-time employees it will be more beneficial for everyone if it is temporary because then there is always an influx of people getting work experience. This will also allow the workers to have a variety of job opportunities and widening their personal skills. Mr. Taulli’s article also delves into the reality that there needs to be a new strategy when it comes to hiring workers. He uses a company called Puls to demonstrate how this company is using the gig economy to their advantage.
    After reading this article, I have learned various new terms and have a different perspective of the business world. Since this gig economy is increasing in popularity and being implemented into companies I am looking forward to doing more research on the topic. This past summer when I was looking into internships and finding work I was exposed to the phrase temporary jobs which are more directed for college students because employers know that students only have a few months off before school returns. This is a smart way for businesses to acquire and maintain work without being shorthanded during busy times. Also, taking into consideration that I am still in college, when I go for a job in the future it will be interesting to see what other companies have adopted this idea. Technology will always be changing at a faster pace then what the world might like, so it is crucial to stay on top of how business are expected to hire their workers for later in life.

  4. Whenever the question of whether or not technology helps humanity comes up, most people nod their heads immediately. However, there comes a time when too much of anything is damaging, including technology. In today’s world, technology has helped the human race to adapt in unimaginable ways, allowing things such as flexibility and innovation to enter the office space. This is done on a global scale, where people and companies can communicate effectively and in real-time whenever necessary. But, with more communication comes more competition. While technology is proving to be efficient in the workplace, this also proves that fewer people are needed in businesses. This not only reduces the number of people per workspace but also cuts down on companies’ labor force, which creates a higher appetite for competition. In Woody Klemmer’s words, “When the values of millions of bright, talented, driven, and entrepreneurial workers have evolved, so too should your hiring process”. Today’s future labor force is unbeknownst to the fact that companies’ requirements and skills needed for employment are increasingly demanding. As technology continues to grow, people are starting to uphold future generations at higher expectations because technology is also upheld at higher expectations. On top of that, the size of the competition grew as well. Just a couple of decades ago, people were able to hunt for jobs within a limited geographic region. In today’s world, we are tasked with competing with people of varying sizes, cultures, work ethics, abilities, and technological skills. When you really step back and think about it, it is terrifying as to how many people my age are fighting for positions that are dwindling. Technology is both a scary and amazing thing, and because of it, we are able to experience things for the better and for the worse. This idea is also shown in the practice of the gig economy. Because of technology, a gig economy allows companies to include many temporary workers in their time of need. Companies such as Uber and Lyft hire these workers because if most of your labor force is part-time, you never have to pay for health benefits or other costly things per employee. This situation is a win-win: where the part-time employee is able to openly go in and out of jobs (and make a quick buck as well) while the employer reduces cost and maximizes efficiency. However, the negative side of a gig economy is that everything is temporary. The idea of many temporary jobs sounds exciting to the eager teen, but as you get older, people become more accustomed to a stable job. Additionally, if you were working many part-time jobs, you would have no benefits from those jobs other than gross cash. If you try to find a long-term job then, you would be struck down due to the competition of getting that job. Overall, technology is both a good and bad thing. While it can be extremely beneficial and innovative, we should be cautious of it in practice because we don’t know which doors we can open and fail to close.

  5. Although the gig economy has proven its value with companies such as Uber and Lyft being very successful for the past few years, it has also been proven that this type of industry’s success has not been capitalized on in a way that utilizes labor resources to its full potential. The gig economy is now a an aspect of the economy that needs to start being taken seriously especially since it now makes up approximately thirty-five percent of the workforce. Within the gig industry, the focus should be on maintaining that burst of success that many businesses are experiencing within this field. Focus should also still be put on how already successful companies can continue to improve and develop their strategies since it add to the stimulation of growth in the gig economy even more. The hiring process can be the main aspect that is evaluated in terms of hiring these specially skilled laborers who are “self-managed” even though they work under a company as a whole. However, this process should truly be examined as an opportunity for businesses that have no traditional involvement with companies such as Target or Amazon.
    The idea to hire gig workers during typical temporary work periods that later remove in massive layoffs is a good one in my opinion. It comes with built in benefits of the gig worker’s work cycle. For the holiday season between Black Friday and Christmas, companies can hire large amount of gig workers instead of full-time employees. The main reason this is beneficial for a company is that when they have to let the gig workers go after the holiday season, those workers will not be unemployed for a long period of time like the typical full-time holiday employee might be. This is because gig workers consciously participate in a cycle of temporary jobs, meaning when one job ends they simply go on to the next one. I feel that this is a practice that companies need to start acquiring because it benefits the economy from reducing unemployment levels even as turnover levels increase. Target and Amazon are really doing this so it will be very interesting to pay attention to what other companies participate in this during this coming holiday season.

  6. The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, and it is pulling the job market along with it. This change, driven by the desire for constant innovation and technological advancement, has led to the formation of the gig economy. Made up of independent contract and freelance workers, the gig economy differs from a traditional economy in that it employs workers for temporary positions, or “gigs”. According to Forbes, close to 35% of the American population operates within the gig economy, amounting to nearly 60 million individuals in total. While the future remains uncertain, it is clear the gig economy, already making its presence known, will play an important role.

    The gig economy, facilitated in large part through the services offered by the internet, is composed of three main elements, according to the National Association of Counties. The first of these components is the fact that workers in this type of economy do not receive a salary, but rather receive payment for an individual job, or “gig”. Next, the gig economy satisfies the needs of a consumer. And finally, it connects its employees to its consumers through online platforms. There are numerous companies that have succeeded in the gig economy; however, arguably the most successful is Uber. For those unfamiliar with the company, its mission statement makes it clear that it is a company that seeks to provide transportation to everyone. Recognizing the growing need of rides for consumers, Uber took advantage of the technology that exists and completely transformed the transportation business, especially that of existing taxi services. It employs independent contractors to fulfill its services, and according to Uber’s records, that has been more than 3 million drivers through 2017. What is so unique about this is that Uber does not need to supply its workers with tools or products, nor does it need to allocate funds to traditional employment benefits. The drivers are already equipped with the component necessary to complete their task, a car, and employers, by law, are not required to provide all benefits to their employees due to the fact they are ‘contractors’.

    This is where one of the biggest questions about the future of the gig economy emerges – how to keep employees motivated, especially with limited benefits. Workers in the gig economy serve as the primary representatives of their respective companies. It is best put by the Forbes article itself: “Gig economy workers are your brand ambassadors…Keeping them motivated, appropriately leveraged and feeling valued ensures they treat your customers as you would.” The gig economy is truly a phenomenon and something that will continue to grow immensely in the years to come. However, it does not stress loyalty, something companies in the past have sought after. It will be quite interesting to see how the growing gig economy addresses this is the near future.
    It is not difficult to see how immensely the gig economy is growing. Although, for some, especially those who do not keep up with trends and the emergence of new technology, it is equally as easy to fall behind in a job market that is become increasingly more digitized. It is necessary that one keeps up with latest advancements in technology not only for personal benefit, but also to remain a versatile prospect in the eyes of an employer. The way the world works is changing, and it is only logical that we start adapting along with it. Salary jobs are coming to an end, and it is only a matter of time before the large majority of us are working on a per gig basis.

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