Although the concept of “gig work” is nothing new, it’s impossible to deny that the way people work has fundamentally changed.
Thanks to social media and digital technology, workers have access to an ever-expanding network of clients and projects, making it easier to secure temporary work, rather than full-time projects. More people are working for themselves or employing small teams of gig workers to complete tasks. It’s a significant departure from the working world we’ve come to know over the last few decades.
Such a significant shift in the professional sphere has naturally prompted concerns for company culture – specifically, what does it mean in the gig economy? Is the gig economy, in fact, severely lacking a connection to company culture that only full-time employees can enjoy?
The Importance of Company Culture
While corporate culture has always been important, it’s really only become a significant discussion over the last 20 years or so. Many companies invest a great deal of time and money in cultivating a strong organizational culture, as its been linked to a number of essential benefits, including:
• Identity – by making it easier for a company to identify, set and meet organizational goals, individual employees are more likely to meet their own goals.
• Retention – it’s easier to retain top talent when they feel connected to the organization and are invested in its future.
• Image – treating employees well helps customers see a company as fun loving and generous, enhancing brand identity.
It’s worth noting that there is no absolute rubric for a “correct” corporate culture – all businesses are naturally different. However, the rise of the gig economy has prompted many companies to re-evaluate their corporate culture to account for the expanding network of freelancers and contractors.
Company Culture in the Gig Economy
Unlike traditional companies that co-locate all their workers in one space, gig economy workers are spread across the globe and are generally more isolated when working remotely from a home or office. That does not mean, however, that they need to be isolated from the company they are working with.
In fact, companies today are taking new steps to help ensure that gig workers can benefit from their company culture, even if the working relationship only spans a short period of time. Additionally, gig workers can ensure that they are securing benefits to a winning corporate culture by:
• Making sure it’s a fit. It’s important to take the time and pay attention to whether or not your work style is suitable to the company’s culture.
• Communicating. All workers, even in the gig economy, want to feel like their voice is heard. It’s important to create and maintain open, effective communication channels.
• Using time effectively. Working in the gig economy means working on a part-time basis, so it’s important to be efficient with time, starting with the onboarding process.
While the gig economy as a whole may lack a strong connection to company culture now, trends in the workplace indicate this won’t be the case for long. Even large corporations are coming to understand the gig economy and the many ways that contractors can contribute to their success.
Here at Kerry Finch Writing, I work on a gig basis – though most of my clients hire me on a monthly recurring basis. Likewise the members of my team work on gigs for me. The flexibility for us all: clients, me, my team, is immeasurable