Simply surviving is not enough; how to thrive in the gig economy


The so called ‘gig economy’ has arisen in recent years, following an increase in political and economic uncertainties in the UK and further afield over the last 30 years. Coupled with fast technology advancements, this has created a culture uncertainty in the business world which has led to short-term contracts or holding multiple jobs to become the norm. This culture is creating a number of issues for both employers and employees meaning factors such as employee engagement and motivation are more important than ever, whilst also being harder than ever to maintain, with people constantly entering and leaving the workplace. For this reason, I suggest two, easy and simple changes that employers can make to help improve such business factors and thus avoid unnecessary recruitment costs.


  1. Dish out the empowerment

With the rise of the gig economy, it is no longer acceptable to simply concentrate on the members of staff in full time employment, who are in the office from nine to five, five days a week. It is now essential to take part time employees and out-sourced workers and others who would otherwise have slipped through the cracks, when making important company decisions.


In today’s society, people need more from their jobs than simply earning a living. Every employee and job role has different requirements and employers need to be aware of this. Each member of staff needs to feel valued and appreciated. This can easily be achieved through honest and open relationships with peers and managers. If an employee feels wanted, they are more likely to stay loyal to the business.


  1. Change the behaviours in the spotlight

With an increasing workforce who are working different hours, it can be extremely hard to match people with the specific roles that are being created, however I believe there are three behaviours that are crucial to any role within a company.


Members of staff need to have a clear focus on building honest, open relationships with peers and managers. An effective way to achieve this is through having conversations on their long term goals, purpose and what behaviours managers see as unhelpful all contribute towards this and help employees feel comfortable in discussing any issues that may arise.


Any successful employee will have a love for learning. Truly engaged and motivated employees will never stop learning and developing their skills to better themselves. Everything from attending courses, researching the industry and showing curiosity all contribute towards this and allow for personal development and growth. Not only do these actions make the member of staff more employable, but it will also bring self-satisfaction and pride in what they are doing. If someone feels satisfied with their work, they are more likely to be productive and efficient.


Lastly, members of staff from employers down to managers and executives should all show a will to go the extra mile. This involves employees being willing, if the situation arises, to put in the extra hours when others perhaps wouldn’t. Someone who is keen to go the extra mile will demonstrate support and assist their managers when possible. Not only does this improve the relationship, it makes the working environment more comfortable for everyone, leading to an array of benefits for everyone.


Everyone from the employers and managers to those directly providing the service to customers need to adopt these three behaviours. If the people at the top adopt these, other staff members are likely to subconsciously follow and thus improve the overall running and performance of the company.  Providing members of staff with responsibilities and empowerment who would normally be brushed over helps them feel included, valued and supported. Improving these aspects of employee engagement will lead to a happier, more productive and efficient workforce, allowing them to prosper when competitors may fall by the wayside.


Author: Nigel Purse, Director at The Oxford Group