The Gig Economy, Interim Management, and How Your Business Can Use Both
There is an increasing trend in the United States over the past ten years in the business world and many people seem to know or have heard about it but are not familiar with the terminology. This development is the concept of hiring temporary executives to fill talent gaps. But who knew that it had a name? That name is the ‘Gig Economy’.
The gig economy as a concept is simple: the word gig is borrowed from music bands that have “gigs” to perform. One can interchange the term with “assignment” but the freelancers prefer to call it “gig” as it’s a quick job without a long-term commitment.
Gigs are temporary assignments that freelancers take up based on their talent and preference. They are short-term assignment, paid by the hour, with a definitive start and end time. This makes it a great method to fill talent gaps, especially for mid-sized businesses, which may not be able to afford to hire full-time executives. Therefore, talented executives can be hired for short periods, targeting a specific assignment, which is best suited to them. Thus avoiding heavy executive costs and saving time looking for the right hire.
Gig hires are a solo workforce that exists on any dropdowns. According to statistics, 82% of mid-sized businesses hire freelancers. They are about 38% of the workforce. This percentage may increase slightly, however, it isn’t expected to go up to 50% as yet.
So why hire full-time executives?
Simply because you can get top talent for a short time for specialized jobs. One doesn’t have to own the executive or a team of executives. It is much like owning a car versus leasing a car. You lease a car for a short period and maybe even afford an expensive one. Similarly, you lease an executive whom you cannot afford on a full-time basis. This way mistakes on wrong hires can be avoided. It is a myth that the gig economy utilizes executives who are in between jobs or are not top rated. In fact, “A” players are available in the gig economy, who can get the business of their choice and are also able to keep their business too, by selling their skill rather than join a company.
Alex Stewart, the founder of RightLeft Agency, started her career as a freelancer, picking up jobs of interest. Now her business helps smaller companies grow through her marketing effort.
Alex only hires freelancers as her core team and no employees. She says that her freelancers work on their schedule and this allows them the freedom to focus on other issues rather than stick to a 9 to 5 schedule. She has the freedom to spend time as she pleases because her work was not tied to an office routine. Millennials, according to her, value freedom rather than money and have a life outside work. Her core team is not restricted to an office, rather, they use a network to communicate and complete benchmarks. If work finishes early then that’s ok. She holds her team accountable for the end product rather than goals listed on a piece of paper. In effect, disagreeing with the concept of job descriptions, which limit efficiencies. The more freedom towards the end goal the more effectively creativity is used.
Some advice for anyone doing something different is to take that first step. Start with yourself and then outsource what can be done systematically. Communication is important. Look at job posting sites and get applying.