Today many websites (such as TaskRabbit, UpWork, and Fiverr) enable businesses to connect directly with freelancers. Business post descriptions of their jobs (or “gigs”), and freelancers bid on them. Although more and more work is being done this way, not all employers are comfortable in hiring freelance labor, especially if the work involved is the basic work of the company. (In fact the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S.Department of Labor have rules that specifically prohibit companies from using contractors to perform that type of work.) But what if there was a way to apply the gig model to a company’s current workforce?
At most businesses, workers are assigned to particular tasks and responsibilities that are outlined in their job descriptions. After doing certain aspects of their jobs day after day, employees get good at them (which is an advantage for the company), but they also get bored with them—and that eventually weakens their performance and can even causing lead to turnover. What about shaking up this system and offering work to internal employees on a “gig” basis?
Rather than assign work, a boss could announce that a certain job needs to be performed by a stated deadline and invite employees to “bid” on it. Bidders might be interested in jobs that build out their resumes. Or they might welcome the opportunity to challenge themselves by trying something new.
This arrangement would be advantageous to the company because of the cross-training that would occur. At the same time, it would be advantageous to employees because it offers them a chance to learn new skills and have more variety in their daily work. Companies could even link this arrangement to a bonus program in order to appeal to employees who want to enhance their income.
Lastly, the gig model could potentially decrease turnover by addressing the lack of variety, challenge, and skill improvement that makes it difficult to keep workers (especially younger ones) longer than the three years spent, on average, in a job. Adopting the gig model has the added benefit of creating more hypergeneralists who are able to take on a wide variety of tasks.
Michael Haberman is cofounder and senior HR consultant of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. (www.omegahrsolutions.com), which offers compliance reviews, wage and hour guidance, supervisory and managerial training, strategic guidance, executive advisement, and more. He also contributes articles to the Workology website. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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