February 14, 2017

What are the challenges of the gig economy?


Instinctif Partners’ Nic Pearce was a panelist at the BritishAmerican Business (BABinc) Talent Brand event in New York last month. Nic was joined on the panel by Patsy Doerr, Global Head of Corporate Responsiblity, Thomson Reuters; Whitney Cacase, Global Director of Human Resources, General Atlantic and Joe Ghory, Data & Analytics, Digital Transformation and Technology Officer, Russell Reynolds.

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The panel discussed the ‘gig economy’ and its impact on people, businesses, and brands. There were several key points raised. The gig economy is here to stay: for businesses it can provide a flexible resource and cost base that enables speed and efficiencies. Great for companies that are focused on quick fixes and short term results. However, the negative impact on a company’s culture and brand can easily outweigh the short term gains of speed and efficiency.

Businesses are still driven by human endeavor, which means that strategy, planning, process, and logic are not the only forces at work. Emotion plays an enormous part in building performance driven companies. So the central question still remains: how can we manage the complexities of motivating the gig worker and the full-time employee in the work place? Both have different desire and objectives from work. For some, a gig is desired way of working. For others, it is a necessary evil to make a living. For a FTE, the gigger can be seen as a threat to their security. This complex mix of desires and motivators in a today’s work force has a single unifying outcome. The gig economy can work for you but you have to work at making it work. It cannot be left to chance. It won’t conform easily to any Darwinian theories of evolution: it will need to be engineered and infused with the driving forces of emotion to make it work.