Business Leaders Must Partner with HR on Gig Economy Strategy


With so many members of the American workforce migrating from the ranks of traditional W2 wage-earning positions toward the flexibility and autonomy of gig economy jobs, business leaders are responding to increasing calls from their HR management for approval to leverage gig economy labor in certain critical roles. The savvy business leader understands that contemporary organizations have much to lose by failing to harness the benefits of gig workers while their competition does. Here’s some of the steps needed to make an HR-driven gig economy practice come to life in your organization.

First and foremost, business leaders should make clear and unambiguous statements of support to their HR operations signaling support for embarking on a strategy to leverage gig economy workers in any areas where these types of contingent laborers are likely to be the best option. Providing a clear mandate in this regard removes some of the perceived impediments to executing a strategy for the engagement of gig workers.

This mandate matters when it comes to authorizing work arrangements that, while normal for gig economy workers, may run counter to existing, traditional HR policies. A good example of this potential conflict is the notion of remote work. To provide the clear mandate to HR, business leaders should authorize remote work arrangements for job roles where ICs, project/SOW workers and human cloud resources represent the best, most rapid and cost-effective means for addressing particular business challenges. With their hands untied by antiquated business rules that prohibit remote work, business organizations are able to access a broader array of worker types – often in roles that are in very high demand.

The most common pushback against the above strategy most often voiced by business leaders is significant (and valid) concern over the compliance risks associated with non-traditional labor types. Stories of costly IC misclassification lawsuits and other benefits administration-related claims against businesses are in the news with increasing frequency as the use of contingent labor increases. This is why another important step to take involves the focus on ensuring HR operations are equipped with all the tools and expertise needed to field a compliance team.

Whether it is an internal group comprised of HR team members assigned to manage compliance activities, or an external service provider with compliance as a core expertise, compliance is a critical component of effective, risk-mitigated utilization of gig economy worker types. With the rapid evolution of laws governing ICs, human cloud offerings and other non-traditional labor roles, it can be a full-time pursuit to stay abreast of the current state of regulation at both the state and federal level.

Whether to outsource the entirety of a contingent workforce management initiative to a solution provider or to seek consultative assistance in designing and deploying an effective program is a decision business leaders must address in a timely manner in concert with their HR departments. nextSource can provide clarity, perspective and best practices for engaging gig economy resources as part of a modern, effective overall workforce strategy.

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