The temporary or contract employee has been around since before we could say, “There’s an app for that,” yet there’s no doubting the impact digital technology has made on the world of on-demand labour. Yet, while the so-called “gig economy” goes by many names—sharing, freelance, agile, or contingent—many employers and HR professionals know that whatever you call it, short-term contract employment provides both benefits and challenges in today’s market.
Many of us are familiar with the main drivers of the gig economy, such as peer-to-peer and app-based services like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, but a range of websites and applications are providing organizations with on-demand and low-cost services across a range of industries, from copywriting to coding and dog walking to creative design. A 2017 report from Statistics Canada notes that 9.5% of Canadian adults have participated in this emerging economic sector, spending more than a billion dollars in the process. Yet these services are just the latest incarnation of temporary labour, and while such workers may be highly skilled yet relatively inexpensive and convenient, such employment solutions also come with their own HR concerns.
With many contract employees operating at a distance from the workplace, and often only for a short period of time, how do you help ensure they are productive and connected members of the organization?
Statistics Canada, “The sharing economy in Canada”: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170228/dq170228b-eng.htm
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “‘Sharing economy’ or on-demand service economy?” https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sharingeconomy
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