When you think of the gig economy, you’re most likely not thinking about the role company culture plays in it. After all, by definition, the gig economy is a system in which temporary positions are common and where organizations contract with independent workers and/or staffing firms for short-term engagements. In other words, the gig economy is akin to temporary work. However, brand perception and relationships matter to job seekers. So, for employers who are looking to staff their open positions with the best talent, it’s imperative that they invest in a positive, rewarding environment for contractors – despite the length of time they may be in that position.
In this blog post, we’ll address the aspects of company culture that gig workers value in a company. But first, let’s take a closer look at why company culture matters to gig workers.
Why Company Culture Matters to Gig Workers
As has already been stressed, yes, company culture still matters to gig workers. But why is it so important if they’re only seeking temporary work, you may ask. It’s simple. Just because a gig worker/job seeker is seeking a temporary/contract position, it doesn’t mean they don’t place value in the company they’re working for. In this current technical climate, which features an ever-growing IT skills gap, the most sought after IT talent comes at a premium. That means, when deciding between multiple offers, talent will take more than just compensation into account (though that does play a factor). They’ll also be looking for an organization whose values align with their own.
It also shouldn’t be overlooked that many workers who embrace the gig economy are doing so because they’re looking to break into a new career and/or industry. They take this route because the hiring parameters for temporary workers are usually much less stringent than they are for full-time employees. For one, employing gig workers means low overhead, which translates to lower risk for the employer. And two, employers who are looking to hire temporary workers may have longer term positions for such workers in mind. Hiring them as gig/contract/temporary workers first gives them the opportunity to “try before they buy.”
So, what is it about company culture that attracts gig workers?
What Gig Workers Look for in Company Culture
When speaking of company culture, there are no guidelines set in stone – what may work for one company/industry, such as casual work attire for a tech startup, may be seen as unprofessional for others (any government agency or financial institution). However, just about all company cultures that are viewed as good have one thing in common – they value their employees.
With that being said, there are certain aspects of company culture that gig workers may place value in over others. They are:
- Positive Work/Life Balance – Many workers who embrace the gig economy do so in order to gain better control over their lives. That means they’ll place more value in the balance they need between time allocated for work and other aspects of their life – such as family, personal interests, social or leisure activities. An organization that values and places respect in a positive work/life balance will surely position themselves better in attracting top talent.
- Culture of Learning – Another reason workers may embrace the gig economy is because it gives them a greater chance to pick up and be introduced to new skills/technologies. An organization that invests in learning opportunities and training programs for their employees showcases that knowledge. Therefore, increasing their value to the prospective employee.
- Career Opportunity – Organizations who place value in their employees will provide them with career advancement opportunities. While a gig worker may only be at an organization for a short time, they will take heed of career advancement opportunities presented to them. Gig workers are, after all, on the lookout for their next opportunity. If they’re top notch, might as well keep them in-house.
- Flexibility – An organization that gives its employees the freedom to think outside the box in order to solve problems is highly valued – especially within the tech community. Having the freedom to explore one’s own hypotheses and ideas promotes more creative and innovative thinking. An organization that promotes this belief will surely appeal towards those workers in the tech community looking to embrace gig work.
So, if you’re looking to augment your staff with gig workers, don’t neglect the importance company culture plays in attracting them.
For other articles from PSCI on the importance of company culture, consult these previous blog posts: