Real Research: Devising An Equitable Future For Work
by Vivienne Liu
Research & Development Specialist
Enabled by the connectivity of new technologies, the on-demand or gig economy saw tremendous growth in recent years. Predicted to make up 40 or 50 percent of the workforce within the next decade, these “networks of people who make a living working without any formal employment agreement” (Schwartz, Bohdal-Spiegelhoff, Gretczko, & Sloan, 2016, p. 1) have prompted many leaders to rethink their contingent workforce management strategies.
To remain attractive to the best talents in the market, organisations need to work towards creating an equitable workplace for the changing workforce. Below are two key areas for leaders to consider as they embark on the journey to devise an equitable future for work:
Learning and Development Opportunities
Despite the growing investments in learning and development over the recent years, the privilege to attend these programmes are rarely extended to the contingent workforce. Most on-demand workers are still fully responsible for their own development and growth to stay competitive in the gig market. As organisations continue to demand for the best and latest skills from their contingent workforce, leaders should start considering how they can support and invest in these individuals.
As a start, leaders can ask themselves:
- Are any of our current learning programmes relevant to our contingent workforce? How can we engage them in these programmes?
- How are our contingent workers keeping themselves up-to-date in their fields? What tools (e.g. MOOCs, online community, etc.) are they leveraging on? How might we support them?
- How might we leverage on the diversity of our workforce to create better learning experiences for everyone? Can we engage peer-to-peer learning across our full-timers and contingent workforce?
Unlike full-time employees who look forward to promotion opportunities and all the benefits that come with them, contingent workers rarely enjoy the same advancement opportunities. Instead of a task-focused, transactional relationship most organisations have with their contingent workforce, leaders should rethink their compensation increment schemes and career progression opportunities to engage these workers.
Leaders can start by asking themselves:
- How might we develop a fulfilling, long-term relationship with our contingent workforce? Are we satisfying their need for achievement? How might we do so through advancement opportunities?
- Do we have career progression plans for our contingent workforce? How might we better help them plan their career?
- How can we ensure that our contingent workers are being valued and compensated fairly? Does our compensation scheme account for the increased value they add as they continue to upgrade their skills? Are we rewarding them accordingly?
While these questions will get leaders started on their journey towards an equitable workplace, it is only the beginning. Ultimately, leaders should take a holistic view at how they can deliver a great contingent workforce experience.
What other trends have you noticed, or are already experiencing yourself? We would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Schwartz, J., Bohdal-Spiegelhoff, U., Gretczko, M., and Sloan, N. (2016). The gig economy: Distraction or disruption? In Deloitte University Press (2016), Global Human Capital Trends 2016.
- Institute for the Future. (2016). Voices of workable futures: People transforming work in the platform economy.
- Institute for the Future. (2016). 10 strategies for a workable future.
- Rigoni, B. and Adkins, A. (2016). What millennials want from a new job. Harvard Business Review.