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The Gig Economy is Here. Your SMB Can Benefit.

April 14, 2022

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Chances are you’ve seen a few headlines promoting the “rise of the gig economy.” But seriously — what’s up with all the hype?

Well, per MBO Partners (an independent talent agency), the number of U.S. gig workers went up 13M from 2020 to 2021 — a whopping 34% increase. Today, the most recent data shows that the U.S. has reached a grand total of 59M gig workers (and counting). And yes — that’s over a third of the American workforce.

Believe it or not, 52% of workers who plan to quit their jobs admit they’re considering the big switch to gig work. And (brace yourself), the Statista Research Department predicts that by 2027, the U.S. will have more “giggers” than non-gig workers.

Now more than ever, small businesses need to understand when and how to employ independent workers. Let’s break down everything you need to know about the monumental rise of the gig economy and how to capitalize on it.

What’s the gig economy?

This phrase is all the rage right now, but it’s not exactly new. The gig economy is a system where people work independently and take part-time work or projects rather than (or in addition to) full-time work. 

Gig workers might have a full-time job, but take a couple of side gigs in their spare time. Or, they might have a bunch of different gigs that ultimately create a 40+ hour workweek (or less, if they’d rather).

So, who’s out there looking for gigs? There are a few different kinds of independent workers on the hunt:

  • Freelancers. These workers take on short contracts like single projects, or maybe one-day assignments. Some examples are freelance bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, or translators.
  • Contractors. Think of contractors as temporary employees who are specialized and experienced in a particular area. They usually take on longer-term, larger projects for a company. Let’s say you want to update your company’s legal documentation or find yourself in a lawsuit. You don’t need a full-time attorney, but you’ll hire one to stick around until your issue is resolved.
  • Consultants. These are temporary employees who are experts in the industry of each business they’re hired to help. Their goal is to help companies achieve their objectives and key results. To do this, a consultant will research and analyze the company’s inner workings and recommend changes. Their suggestions will turn into tasks that fall on the plates of full-time workers.

So, why all the gig economy hype?

Good news: small businesses stand to reap some of the biggest benefits from the gig economy. Why? When you choose to hire project-based workers, the opportunity to get the exact help you need is within an arm’s reach. 

Think of it this way. You can hire an independent worker from any country, with any level of expertise, for any amount of time. And just in the U.S. alone, over one-third of workers participate in the gig economy. 

Talk about a huge candidate pool. So, what’s enticing people to take gig opportunities, anyway?

Why full-timers are going “giggy”

There are a bunch of advantages of gig work, and the workforce is eating it up. Per a survey conducted by MBO Partners (an independent workforce management company), 82% of full-time independent workers say they are happier working on their own and 69% say it’s better for their health.

Oftentimes, freelancers, consultants, and consultants make their own schedules and hop aboard the work-from-home train. And sometimes, they set their own rates (or negotiate their rate), to ultimately control their earnings.

Put more glamorously, they get to “be their own boss.” And, come on — who doesn’t like the sound of that? It’s a major selling point for those wanting or needing a flexible schedule —  especially stay-at-home parents and caregivers.

How SMBs can reel in gig economy benefits

Small businesses have a lot of pain points larger enterprises don’t face. Like seeing detrimental effects after an employee resigns, having insufficient funds and resources, and employee burnout, just to name a few. Luckily, the gig economy can help fill in some of those gaps. 

Here are some key results you can expect to see when you hire independent workers:

1. Cut full-time hiring and retention costs

When you need a lot of help, you run through the whole hiring process — posting the job, conducting a bunch of interviews, and completing all the paperwork to bring on a full-time new hire. So you’re usually paying your new hire a salary, benefits, and retirement. Not to mention the financial investment of paid time off, sick days, office space, and equipment.

But if you don’t have the need for a full-time hire just yet, don’t throw your money at a salaried position. When you’re desperate for just a little bit of help or expertise, hire a freelancer, contractor, or consultant (depending on your need). And wait until you have the right amount of work before you invest in the associated costs that come with a full-time hire.

2. Give full-time workers more bandwidth

We know you care about the emotional health of your team members. And your team equally cares about growing your business and making it successful. As a result, they might experience the over-exhaustion that comes with wearing a bunch of hats and maybe even taking on more work than they can handle.

Hiring extra help gives your full-time peeps a little more room to breathe. In a 2021 survey by Asana (a small business task management system), 82% of small business employees report being overworked and almost half have left their company because they felt overwhelmed by the amount of work. Ultimately, putting a couple more sets of hands in the mix for a project or two could keep you from losing good people.

3. Get the expertise you’re looking for right when you need it.

When you own a small business, you have an (also) small, but mighty team. In turn, you can find yourself in need of a worker with a specific set of skills, but with no existing team member to turn to. 

When you leverage the opportunity to hire an independent worker, you get to pick the perfect person (out of millions of options) to temporarily help you out. When people are seeking gigs around the globe, the chances of finding someone quickly are pretty solid. 

And the best part: there’s little commitment from you when hiring an independent worker. If you’re obsessed with their work, you can opt to use them for more work down the road. If you didn’t love it, you can move on to someone else. There are plenty of  experienced contract workers you can choose from for future projects. 

How small businesses thrive in the gig economy

Small businesses can undoubtedly benefit from hiring independent workers in the gig economy. But in order for it to be a rewarding step, small business owners have to implement a useful training process for gig workers and share just the right amount of info with them.

Ramp gig workers up fast

Every time you hire someone, your company spends an average of $3k and a hundred hours on the onboarding process. Don’t waste that kind of time and money getting a gig worker up to speed. Especially since they’re likely to only stick around for one project. Remember, hiring independent workers should save you money — not blow it.

But a lot of gig workers need to know as much as your full-timers about your industry, business, and vision to effectively get their job done. So how do you onboard someone like this without breaking the bank?

Before you even look for your next freelancer, contractor, or consultant, establish a cost-effective training program. Specifically, an online platform to document all your company info, policies, applicable how-to’s, and independent worker need-to-knows. (Psst — Trainual is perfect for all this… wink.)

That way, you can re-use the training for any future gig workers who come along. And, you can easily go back and edit any info while giving your independent workers the ability to reference what’s up-to-date whenever they have a question.

Share just the right amount of info

You’re probably wondering how much info you should be sharing with your gig workers. Well, independent workers should definitely have access to less company documentation than your devoted full-timers. 

Here’s a guideline for what documentation small businesses should share with freelancers, contractors, and consultants:

  • Company info.
    It’s a good idea to give everyone (both full-time team members and gig workers) insight into your business — your story, vision, mission, and so on. This is especially important for consultants who need to know the roots of your company to gain insight and provide direction.

    Plus, imagine hiring a freelance journalist to write a piece on one of your products, without giving them the why behind the product. You’re definitely not going to be wowed by their work — even if they’re an amazing writer. It’s up to you to provide them with company material to reference so they can give you quality and relevant work in return.
  • Policies.
    It’s equally important to give your gig workers policies that they need to be aware of. This might include content like your communication, substance use, or anti-discrimination and harassment policies.

    But don’t waste their time with irrelevant policies. If you have a set of policies you give all your full-time workers, leave out the ones that don’t apply to your independent workers. That might be office, travel, or dress code (if they’re working remotely); non-compete; or attendance policies.
  • Relevant need-to-knows.
    You’re not going to be sharing your secret-sauce subjects with independent workers. After all, nothing is keeping them from taking what they learn from your training and applying it to their work for other companies — even your competition.

So when sharing processes with gig workers, be sure to exclude anything that you want to keep internal. Remember, even though independent workers might be working with your team members to create quality work for your company, they’re not really “on the team” like your loyal full-timers.

When onboarding a regular employee, you should track their training progress. The same goes for when you establish a new policy or process for existing team members — you need to track who’s seen what so you can hold everyone accountable and make sure they’re all up-to-date. 

But when you get an independent worker up to speed, you don’t need to track their progress for completing every single resource you provide them. A lot of the material is mainly for them to reference when need be. That way, they can go to your training and knowledge base — rather than to you — for questions.

Want to ramp up gig workers twice as fast?

When you use Trainual to document company info, policies, and need-to-knows, you can publicly share any training with those outside your org to get them up to speed — fast. Check out the video below for more information on how you can apply Trainual's public share to your business.

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Article

The Gig Economy is Here. Your SMB Can Benefit.

April 14, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Chances are you’ve seen a few headlines promoting the “rise of the gig economy.” But seriously — what’s up with all the hype?

Well, per MBO Partners (an independent talent agency), the number of U.S. gig workers went up 13M from 2020 to 2021 — a whopping 34% increase. Today, the most recent data shows that the U.S. has reached a grand total of 59M gig workers (and counting). And yes — that’s over a third of the American workforce.

Believe it or not, 52% of workers who plan to quit their jobs admit they’re considering the big switch to gig work. And (brace yourself), the Statista Research Department predicts that by 2027, the U.S. will have more “giggers” than non-gig workers.

Now more than ever, small businesses need to understand when and how to employ independent workers. Let’s break down everything you need to know about the monumental rise of the gig economy and how to capitalize on it.

What’s the gig economy?

This phrase is all the rage right now, but it’s not exactly new. The gig economy is a system where people work independently and take part-time work or projects rather than (or in addition to) full-time work. 

Gig workers might have a full-time job, but take a couple of side gigs in their spare time. Or, they might have a bunch of different gigs that ultimately create a 40+ hour workweek (or less, if they’d rather).

So, who’s out there looking for gigs? There are a few different kinds of independent workers on the hunt:

  • Freelancers. These workers take on short contracts like single projects, or maybe one-day assignments. Some examples are freelance bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, or translators.
  • Contractors. Think of contractors as temporary employees who are specialized and experienced in a particular area. They usually take on longer-term, larger projects for a company. Let’s say you want to update your company’s legal documentation or find yourself in a lawsuit. You don’t need a full-time attorney, but you’ll hire one to stick around until your issue is resolved.
  • Consultants. These are temporary employees who are experts in the industry of each business they’re hired to help. Their goal is to help companies achieve their objectives and key results. To do this, a consultant will research and analyze the company’s inner workings and recommend changes. Their suggestions will turn into tasks that fall on the plates of full-time workers.

So, why all the gig economy hype?

Good news: small businesses stand to reap some of the biggest benefits from the gig economy. Why? When you choose to hire project-based workers, the opportunity to get the exact help you need is within an arm’s reach. 

Think of it this way. You can hire an independent worker from any country, with any level of expertise, for any amount of time. And just in the U.S. alone, over one-third of workers participate in the gig economy. 

Talk about a huge candidate pool. So, what’s enticing people to take gig opportunities, anyway?

Why full-timers are going “giggy”

There are a bunch of advantages of gig work, and the workforce is eating it up. Per a survey conducted by MBO Partners (an independent workforce management company), 82% of full-time independent workers say they are happier working on their own and 69% say it’s better for their health.

Oftentimes, freelancers, consultants, and consultants make their own schedules and hop aboard the work-from-home train. And sometimes, they set their own rates (or negotiate their rate), to ultimately control their earnings.

Put more glamorously, they get to “be their own boss.” And, come on — who doesn’t like the sound of that? It’s a major selling point for those wanting or needing a flexible schedule —  especially stay-at-home parents and caregivers.

How SMBs can reel in gig economy benefits

Small businesses have a lot of pain points larger enterprises don’t face. Like seeing detrimental effects after an employee resigns, having insufficient funds and resources, and employee burnout, just to name a few. Luckily, the gig economy can help fill in some of those gaps. 

Here are some key results you can expect to see when you hire independent workers:

1. Cut full-time hiring and retention costs

When you need a lot of help, you run through the whole hiring process — posting the job, conducting a bunch of interviews, and completing all the paperwork to bring on a full-time new hire. So you’re usually paying your new hire a salary, benefits, and retirement. Not to mention the financial investment of paid time off, sick days, office space, and equipment.

But if you don’t have the need for a full-time hire just yet, don’t throw your money at a salaried position. When you’re desperate for just a little bit of help or expertise, hire a freelancer, contractor, or consultant (depending on your need). And wait until you have the right amount of work before you invest in the associated costs that come with a full-time hire.

2. Give full-time workers more bandwidth

We know you care about the emotional health of your team members. And your team equally cares about growing your business and making it successful. As a result, they might experience the over-exhaustion that comes with wearing a bunch of hats and maybe even taking on more work than they can handle.

Hiring extra help gives your full-time peeps a little more room to breathe. In a 2021 survey by Asana (a small business task management system), 82% of small business employees report being overworked and almost half have left their company because they felt overwhelmed by the amount of work. Ultimately, putting a couple more sets of hands in the mix for a project or two could keep you from losing good people.

3. Get the expertise you’re looking for right when you need it.

When you own a small business, you have an (also) small, but mighty team. In turn, you can find yourself in need of a worker with a specific set of skills, but with no existing team member to turn to. 

When you leverage the opportunity to hire an independent worker, you get to pick the perfect person (out of millions of options) to temporarily help you out. When people are seeking gigs around the globe, the chances of finding someone quickly are pretty solid. 

And the best part: there’s little commitment from you when hiring an independent worker. If you’re obsessed with their work, you can opt to use them for more work down the road. If you didn’t love it, you can move on to someone else. There are plenty of  experienced contract workers you can choose from for future projects. 

How small businesses thrive in the gig economy

Small businesses can undoubtedly benefit from hiring independent workers in the gig economy. But in order for it to be a rewarding step, small business owners have to implement a useful training process for gig workers and share just the right amount of info with them.

Ramp gig workers up fast

Every time you hire someone, your company spends an average of $3k and a hundred hours on the onboarding process. Don’t waste that kind of time and money getting a gig worker up to speed. Especially since they’re likely to only stick around for one project. Remember, hiring independent workers should save you money — not blow it.

But a lot of gig workers need to know as much as your full-timers about your industry, business, and vision to effectively get their job done. So how do you onboard someone like this without breaking the bank?

Before you even look for your next freelancer, contractor, or consultant, establish a cost-effective training program. Specifically, an online platform to document all your company info, policies, applicable how-to’s, and independent worker need-to-knows. (Psst — Trainual is perfect for all this… wink.)

That way, you can re-use the training for any future gig workers who come along. And, you can easily go back and edit any info while giving your independent workers the ability to reference what’s up-to-date whenever they have a question.

Share just the right amount of info

You’re probably wondering how much info you should be sharing with your gig workers. Well, independent workers should definitely have access to less company documentation than your devoted full-timers. 

Here’s a guideline for what documentation small businesses should share with freelancers, contractors, and consultants:

  • Company info.
    It’s a good idea to give everyone (both full-time team members and gig workers) insight into your business — your story, vision, mission, and so on. This is especially important for consultants who need to know the roots of your company to gain insight and provide direction.

    Plus, imagine hiring a freelance journalist to write a piece on one of your products, without giving them the why behind the product. You’re definitely not going to be wowed by their work — even if they’re an amazing writer. It’s up to you to provide them with company material to reference so they can give you quality and relevant work in return.
  • Policies.
    It’s equally important to give your gig workers policies that they need to be aware of. This might include content like your communication, substance use, or anti-discrimination and harassment policies.

    But don’t waste their time with irrelevant policies. If you have a set of policies you give all your full-time workers, leave out the ones that don’t apply to your independent workers. That might be office, travel, or dress code (if they’re working remotely); non-compete; or attendance policies.
  • Relevant need-to-knows.
    You’re not going to be sharing your secret-sauce subjects with independent workers. After all, nothing is keeping them from taking what they learn from your training and applying it to their work for other companies — even your competition.

So when sharing processes with gig workers, be sure to exclude anything that you want to keep internal. Remember, even though independent workers might be working with your team members to create quality work for your company, they’re not really “on the team” like your loyal full-timers.

When onboarding a regular employee, you should track their training progress. The same goes for when you establish a new policy or process for existing team members — you need to track who’s seen what so you can hold everyone accountable and make sure they’re all up-to-date. 

But when you get an independent worker up to speed, you don’t need to track their progress for completing every single resource you provide them. A lot of the material is mainly for them to reference when need be. That way, they can go to your training and knowledge base — rather than to you — for questions.

Want to ramp up gig workers twice as fast?

When you use Trainual to document company info, policies, and need-to-knows, you can publicly share any training with those outside your org to get them up to speed — fast. Check out the video below for more information on how you can apply Trainual's public share to your business.

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The Gig Economy is Here. Your SMB Can Benefit.

April 14, 2022

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