Why on-demand training in gig economy is important?


Preview: In this post, we are going to discuss in the booming gig economy, organizations need to become proactive in leveraging learning technology. They should start encourage on-demand training skills to support and retain the gig workers.

The gig economy has been proclaimed to be both as an answer to job-seekers’ prayers, and as a repulsive way of working, where the rights of workers are exploited. To worsen it, they’re constantly unsecured about their job sustainability.

Rise of gig economy influencing millennials

As per an article published by Forbes, in 2019 the millennial unemployment rate is 12.8% as compared to the national average of 4.9%.

Millennial employees are struggling to get a decent job, due to which the skills gap is increasing. This learning gap further leads to a noticeable change in their working styles. On-demand training skills and sharing economies are changing the nature of work. 

What is gig economy? Here’s a snippet – 

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term “gig” is a slang word meaning “a job for a specified period of time” and is typically used in referring to musicians. Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers, and temporary or part-time hires.

Intuit has predicted that by 2020, 40% of American workers would be independent contractors.

The growth of the gig economy speaks for a paradigm shift in the way millennials perceive work today across the globe. Instead of going the old school way, where an employee works full-time for only one employer, young workers are now entering the gig economy for the flexibility, freedom and personal fulfillment that it provides them. Workers are seeing these contract jobs or freelance positions as viable alternatives to the traditional full-time position.

Barack Obama’s “train and pray” learning-centric theory

Did you know that $160 billion USD is estimated to be the cost of the learning gap to US companies every year?

Identifying these knowledge gaps is now the call of the hour. Organizations should start developing and honing their employees’ skills. It is important because their skills determine your ability to execute your plans with success. 

For highly skilled workers, the gig economy is a practical approach to “train and pray” learning-centric approaches. This is so because employee experience itself is the best form of job training. Former US President Mr. Barack Obama often referred to the “train and pray” decoys of workforce education, in which employees exhaustively bury themselves in skill development books and hope that there’s a job waiting for them on the other side of a credential.

Today the method of working is undergoing a paradigm shift due to the rapidly growing “gig economy.” Thanks to the advancement of digital transformation, the practice of freelance jobs has grown exponentially in recent years. Specific technologies are now largely available to connect freelancers with their employers and consumers directly. Both the worker and his employer can discuss the requirements and specifications in detail. Some of the brilliant examples of short-term contracts include Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit and Upwork to name a few. The extensive ramifications of this new way of sharing economy demand a whole new world of learning and development (L&D)

Gig economy by numbers

In this section, we walk you through some of the mind-boggling facts related to the short-term contracts.

  1. 36% of U.S. workers prefer temporary jobs as compared to full-time jobs
  2. 63% of full-time executives prefer to become independent employers, given the opportunity
  3. 40% of the American workforce now earn via short-terms contracts
  4. 75% of gig workers say they would not leave their freelance jobs for a full-time job
  5. 55% of contingent workers in the US also have a regular or full-time job
  6. 52% of the U.S. adult workforce will be working as an independent contributor in the next 5 yers
  7. 90% of Americans are open to the idea of freelancing or short-term based jobs
  8. 68% of the gig workers have opted for freelancing jobs to earn extra money and 42% prefer part-time to have flexibility in their working schedule
  9. 29% of all workers in the United States are involved in freelancing jobs apart from their primary jobs
  10. 37% of part-time workers are millennials and fall in the age group between 21 and 38

L&D for the gig workforce

Considering the above facts, it seems gig economy is quite ‘the thing’ now and it works exceedingly for both the workers and contractors. Contractors prefer freelancers as they get flexible talent at much-reduced cost as compared to hiring full-time employees.

According to the leading job portal site Indeed, employers are now encouraging remote work programs, thanks to the onset of digital workplace technologies.  7.7% of companies in India are posting openings for remote-based jobs. 2.8% of the job postings from India are for part-time or contractual roles. Freelancers, especially the millennials love it because of the flexibility of working anywhere, they are working longer, learning more, and seeking a better balance between work and home. It’s a win-win for both!

Challenges faced by gig workers

Gig working comes with its share of challenges as well. One of the major challenges is that freelancers still have to be motivated, engaged and trained in the necessary skills. This is where the inception of L&D programs become imperative for on-demand companies. None of these ‘employees’ work together in one office, which means there is a risk of communication gap getting created that may affect the work delivery.

Organizations promoting remote working should also ensure they have integrated powerful eLearning platforms flanked by avant garde digital workplace technologies.  Their HR and the L&D teams have to put in more efforts to develop employee training strategies that support their blended workforce including both full-time staff and freelancers. The online training also boosts employee retention.

A survey conducted by BetterBuys has revealed that 75% of employees, whose employers offered eLearning programs reported being likely to stay with the company another five years, as compared to 56% of workforce at companies without those opportunities. So, even gig workers, who receive learning opportunities through a custom-made LMS platform, would want to stick to it rather than jumping to other projects.

This is because gig workers too want to have their skills up-to-date that are most in-demand to increase their prospects of finding their next assignment against a high premium. As freelancing continues to grow, there will also be more workers with updated skills that companies need.

Bottomline: Learning & development teams have to become proactive in determining a proven eLearning strategy for freelance workers. eLearning not only helps workers hone their skills but it also motivates them in enhancing their on-demand work efficiency. 

| Uber is often celebrated as the bastion of the gig economy – an interesting example given that the company was recently in hot water over driver contract classification. Amazon has also recently got into the act, alongside other high-profile businesses such as Fiver and Lyft. In fact, according to Deloitte, almost half of executives expect to increase or significantly increase the use of gig economy workers in the next three to five years.

Challenges companies face when training gig economy employees

  • Finding the right balance and knowing how much to invest in an online learning strategy
  • Making the content relevant and compelling enough to ensure that freelancers and remote workers are engaged
  • Training gig workers on softer skills and on company brand and values
  • How to leverage LXP tools and multimedia in L&D channels to ensure trainee engagement. 
  • Demand for tailor-made refresher courses to ensure a seamless experience across devices
  • Introducing peer-based learning to understand learning’s impact on the gig worker’s productivity and quality.
  • Compliance issue. Designing training programs to meet regulatory requirements

These above-mentioned challenges have expedited new gig worker learning approaches tailored to the specific needs in the .on-demand skills. One proven approach by Sparkwork is to offer training on-demand that is broken down into smaller sections and accessible across the globe.

Invest in an LXP

One way that gig companies can offer eLearning to different segments of temporary workers is through mobile devices. Since the smartphone is commonplace now and almost every worker having access to the Internet, employers should introduce eLearning apps. They can elevate their training program to the next level by upgrading their eLearning platform to the futuristic Learning Experience Platform. This can help deliver training – to both full time and contractors or freelancers – in a more efficient and cost-effective way, negating the issue of investing resources in training employees that may not stick around.

By doing so, the gig economy workers will be engaged remotely. L&D for temporary workers must be designed within an LXP framework that makes the learning all the more engaging, fun, relatable, and flexible.

Since gig workers are often juggling multiple projects simultaneously, micro-learning or bite-sized learning is the best solution to make the online learning program a success. Workers will be more likely to make their way through bite-sized learning chunks when they’re switching between projects. Think in terms of making everything quick and concise – just enough and just in time.

To conclude…

Support your employees through learning opportunities, and give them feedback and performance support. By doing so, your organization can reap the benefits of a blended workforce of engaged full-time and contract employees even in the gig economy. If you are still anxious on where to start, you can contact us today for proper guidance.

Reach out to us today if you’re struggling with your employees’ performance-related issues.