March 3, 2020

How The New Gig Economy Is Highlighting The Need of Efficient Onboarding


Est. Reading: 5 minutes

It was once expected that you would stay working along one career path for most of your life.

People were more likely to stay at a company or even in a position for 5+ years without fail or much trepidation. However, times are changing.

With the influx of new innovative opportunities and a rise in more comfort with career changes, employees are leaving salaried jobs at a record rate, and long-term employee retention has become more difficult than ever. What has been birthed from shifts is a newly coined, ‘job-hopping generation’.

The ‘Job-Hopping Generation’

According to Gallup  more than 29% of employees are looking for jobs on a regular basis, even when they are already employed. In a recent Harris Poll, it was reported that 78% of employees would be comfortable jumping into a new opportunity they found, even if they weren’t actively looking for a new job. So, what is making employees so contented with uprooting their work and hopping into another position?

Millennials have been given a whole host of nicknames and descriptors, most often in an effort to describe their novel approaches to business and life in general. One new term that has been coined to describe their actions in the career sector is  ‘the job-hopping generation’. Though it can be easy to chock up this generation’s comfort with shifting jobs to the influx of opportunities available, there are many other factors that have contributed to this rapid movement within the job force.

It’s been reported that this is the least engaged generation to date. But it’s not only a lack of engagement in one’s work that will send them back on the job hunt. With technological developments and higher interest in maintaining a strong work/life balance, this generation has become part of the emerging ‘gig economy’.

“Projections show that by 2020 43% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers”

–  Nasdaq

The term ‘gig economy’ represents the influx and abundance of short-term, freelance and single project work opportunities for flexible professionals. It is easy to see why this type of work has been growing in popularity. For workers, they are offered more freedom in schedule and creativity by being able to work when, where and with who they want for a limited period. And for businesses, they are able to outsource more projects to talented professionals worldwide, without having to front hardy insurance costs or even make room for them in the office.

However, with this more streamlined way of working, difficulties with appropriate onboarding of contract and freelance workers have surfaced, and the old 60-day employee training process is no longer applicable for employees brought on for say, 30-day projects.

Staying Up to Speed with Fast Moving Employees

The intent of onboarding has always been to introduce new employees to the company, their structure and the role they will be playing within it. The onboarding process is meant to get new hires “up-to-speed” on their roles and allow them to find their footing in the new climate and company culture. However, with the recent increase of job-shifting and shorter contract positions, onboarding processes are becoming more instrumental in the training of employees that might only be with a company for two weeks.

That is, it is more pertinent for companies to make the most necessary organizational information available to new employees in the quickest, most transparent format possible. Companies can first do this by educating on-demand workers about the benefits, policies and innerworkings of the company before starting their work contract, putting more effort on the staffing and hiring managers to relay this information via job postings. This will ensure that once a freelancer hops on a project, the basic company information is known and agreed upon – also helping to retain this employee and start the project on solid footing.

But still, companies who are regularly bringing in short-term employees are at more risks for things such as security breaches, unaligned project results and disengaged workers when there is no streamlined onboarding process in place. So how do successful companies ensure their talented on-demand workers get the information, engagement and support they need throughout their whole contract? They automate the onboarding process.

Effective Onboarding Made Easy

We’ve spoken before about the emerging importance of  digital workplace, and how having resources available to employees when and where they need it allows for more easy reception and digestion of important company information. When it comes to creating and integrating a successful, streamlined onboarding program, our advice still stands. Making it easy for new freelancers and short-term employees to access and interact with important onboarding information is imperative to the overall effectiveness of your onboarding and your employees moving forward.

By utilizing a Learning Management System (LMS), like LMS365, to automate and streamline your onboarding program, employees are able to engage with the material that will help them grow into agile, effective, and long-lasting employees.

  • Keep Data Secure.  Firstly, companies operating within the gig economy can severely lower their security risks by incorporating an LMS which allows them to grant specific security access to particular workers. In this way, freelancers only receive the information they need and are kept clear of any more sensitive company information. This type of guarded security can be set up with the click of a button and automation ensures that the freelancer’s access will be revoked once the contract is complete.
  • Align with Your Talent.  An automated onboarding system can also allow organizations to monitor the progress of the freelance worker from day one, making it less likely that any one day is wasted on a shorter-term project.  This ability to have checkpoints, training modules and communication channels for the employee allows for any hiccups in the project to be caught early, which maximizes the probability of an aligned and successful project completion.
  • Enhance Engagement and Collaboration.  Additionally, a cloud-based system or LMS can also grant on-demand employee’s easy access to communicate with the full-time members of your team that are necessary for a given project. Offering freelancers access to online chat and file sharing systems – like those available through Microsoft Teams – ensures that not only do employees have the information where, and when they need it, but they can also feel a part of the overall organization, boosting engagement and collaboration.
  • Upgrade Your Off-Boarding.  A step further, companies can build in off-boarding processes to prepare freelancers for the closing of their contract and even open them up to providing helpful feedback regarding the project and organization all within the LMS. With this more automated, integrated process made possible with an automated LMS, your onboarding program becomes a catalyst for effective employee engaging, retaining and training within the gig economy.

The current climate has created a shift and the job-hopping generation has become a leading force in the emerging gig economy. This change has truly created a win-win situation for employees who seek more flexibility and employers who are looking for more varied aptitudes.

By putting more focused attention on building a robust, streamlined onboarding process – and automating it with the power of an LMS – companies can enhance their digital workplaces while welcoming more diverse talent for short-term projects and further embracing the abundance of opportunities available through the widening international workforce.

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