How to rethink your rewards strategy for gig workers


Muhammed Goolab | Executive Committee Member | South African Reward Association (SARA) | mail me |

The proliferation of freelancing and gig work has seen employers witness a massive shift from traditional nine-to-five jobs to part-time work and independent contracting, known as the gig economy.

Employers will need to rethink their reward programmes to align with the digital economy and the disruption it has brought to the employment landscape.

92% of millennials want to work remotely, and millennials make up 40% of the workforce. Many companies now employ gig workers, but few of them have thought of what it means to include giggers in their overall ‘people strategies’.

If companies want to appeal to millennial and Gen-Z talent, they will need to evolve how they include giggers in their company’s ‘people offering’.

Why include giggers in your company’s reward strategy?

Very often, giggers provide experienced and qualified skills on-demand and, according to Forbes, 42% of both large and mid-size companies use contingent workers to meet seasonal demands or project-specific goals.

Not only will a reward strategy geared towards giggers make an employer more appealing, but it will boost the employer’s bottom line.

A reward strategy that includes tailored benefits for gig workers can form an important part of an employer’s value proposition for the talent they’re looking to recruit.

In turn, gig workers at their organisations will feel an increased sense of belonging and mutual achievement, which in turn boosts productivity.

How to create a reward strategy for giggers

Before benefits can be defined, a performance management system needs to be put in place.

Performance management is just as important for giggers as it is for permanent employees. An example of a performance management system that a major gig economy employer uses is Uber’s rating system for their drivers.

To establish a performance management system for giggers at your company, companies would need to establish performance metrics based on the usual criteria of productivity, quality, customer satisfaction or financial metrics.

The reward team would then need to review the non-perm benefits offerings in line with the flexible nature of the gig economy, as the usual benefits of medical aid, life cover and pension contributions would be inappropriate.

Benefits to giggers would need to be well defined and clearly articulated as a value proposition that is different to that of a permanent employee and attractive to a gigger.

A project completion bonus

An example of a financial reward geared towards giggers is a project completion bonus that could be offered if a gigger completes a project on time, within budget, and per a defined quality standard.

One of the gig worker’s most valuable commodities is the skills they bring to the table, making learning opportunities another great incentive.

An even more innovative approach would be to develop technology that connects gig workers with available work within the business or even the wider industry.

The companies who connect with giggers and reward them in smart ways will be the ones benefiting the most from the gig economy in 2020 and beyond.



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