Twisted gig


Something is happening… the length of time people stay at organisations is contracting. Lifelong employees used to be common, but nowadays, people with lengthy tenures are becoming remarkable. Others historically had a series of long periods within just a few companies, holding a wide range of roles in each company, but latterly, people who gain experience at  a company and move on after a few short years, taking their experience with them, have become more common.

A recent survey shows that the  average tenure in some of the top tech companies is now only 21 months. It seems like the blink of an eye to many, but I think it is a precursor to something even more flexible.

So, to the new entrants, those who have who have grown up with the rise of the gig economy, giggers gain extreme flexibility in exchange for an element of uncertainty. Today, the gig economy works mainly to the  advantage of the employer, however I think we are going to see this twist soon, and the employee will be able to turn this to his or her advantage.

Centennials are looking for a different way to work and the gig economy suits them well. Why spend just 25% of your week doing something you love in one job when you can spend 75% of the week doing so in four focussed roles in four different companies and blend that with your own projects? Digitisation promises to allow this: you can have maximum flexibility, with maximum satisfaction and optimal personal productivity.

The giggers will transform business as we know it, but there will be challenges, especially for  traditional businesses with staid operating models. There’s huge pressure on the  UK jobs market, with a swathe of talented people looking to pursue their future elsewhere. For an organisation, people are harder to attract and harder to keep. The lack of patience in the recent entrants to the job market is often spoken about and it is likely that they will become less tolerant. Couple this with the new adaptable way of working and you have the perfect storm.

As an organisation looking to secure the time of these people you are going to have to work hard.

  1. You are going to have to make it really simple for people to collaborate from wherever and whenever they want.
  2. You will need to find different ways to build trust and rapport, and to manage and lead.
  3. You must demonstrate that you treat your people well, be measured on it and be known for it.
  4. You are going to have to look at security in a different way, you won’t have a nice discrete ‘perimeter’ any more.

What does this mean?

  1. Your organisation is going to have to embrace flexible and open working practices, providing a toolset that encourages collaboration, but maintains control, and your senior people need to be your most visible advocates.
  2. You will need to embrace video to build and maintain relationships – as your teams become truly distributed, you will need that regular personal touch even more.
  3. Wellbeing and engagement will become critical, and your approach will need to be independently verified. The environment you create and your culture are the body language of your business and job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed will form a critical part of an employee’s assessment of your company. Platitudes on a wall are no longer enough: you need to demonstrate that you want you people to thrive.
  4. Security needs to be baked-in to consider how individuals’ activities change, as well as device applications and networks.

Some of these challenges are technology based, but most of them rely on an evolution or revolution of your businesses culture that needs to be embraced from the top down.

Alasdair Ford

Alasdair Ford

Culture and wellbeing lead. Ensuring that Adoptt not only practises what it preaches but also imagining, guiding and delivering digital workplace solutions to our partners and customers to transform the way they work.

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