Someone who works in the gig economy – a 'gigger' – is an independent worker who takes on short-term engagements on a non-permanent basis including highly skilled professionals.
South African businesses have undergone massive change over the last year, especially in how they interact with their clients and employees. Virtual meetings and work from home are no longer novelties, rather they’ve become “how we do things around here”.
The Gig Economy is a concept that’s recently gained traction in the freelancer and consulting community and has seen slower uptake from medium to large businesses. The concept is great for individuals looking to do what they love and are good at, and to be able to choose when and where their skills are used, and how much they get paid. The Gig Economy is a way of working and engaging with clients that allows companies to “shop” for the skills they need, when they need them, and for freelancers to provide services on a short-term basis. The term 'gig' is derived from the slang word used by musicians for an engagement.
The Gig Economy is a way of working and engaging with clients that allows companies to “shop” for the skills they need, when they need them.
It's easy to imagine the positive benefit that Gigging would have for individuals or small companies – besides the flexibility, there is variety, specialisation, exposure to different industries and cultures, being able to set your own prices and the ability to choose the work that gives you the biggest kick. Those who choose to work this way will tell you that these benefits far outweigh the downside of keeping your project pipeline flowing and making sure you’re earning enough to pay the bills at the end of the month.
The big question here is how could South African businesses benefit from becoming part of the Gig Economy? The first way that springs to mind is that we could hire people to do gigs where we need short-term specialists – and the possibilities and payoff of this are only limited by our imagination. The other way is embracing some of the principles of successful gigging to bring value to our clients and customers.
1. Why plant a veggie patch when all you need is a tomato?
Engaging Giggers is a great way to get specialised input and the associated work done. If you have something that needs doing and you will only need those skills for a fixed period of time – hire a Gigger. This is different from outsourcing your IT function or getting a firm to maintain your office plants. A good example of this would be to hire a small team of giggers to update your digital brand and revamp your online presence. You may end up hiring one person to maintain the product and interact with your online communities, but you won’t need a full-time UI/UX developer, Brand Strategist and Designers on staff in perpetuity (unless that’s your core business). This way you get to leverage the best skills out there and to work with people who have experience across industries.
2. Fresh perspectives and fresh ideas
Giggers often work across industries and have a wealth of experience in their area of specialization. Bringing in someone from the outside will help you to see new possibilities and to find new ways to solve the issue you are grappling with. As Giggers are constantly exposed to new environments and are generally people who keep their skills updated, they will be able to apply their creativity more readily.
3. Growing the new economy
A lot of Giggers start out on their journey as people just needing work to put food on the table, or to gain experience after graduation.
With unemployment rates soaring, and companies downsizing, any way that South African firms can create economic opportunities will make difference.
A lot of Giggers start out on their journey as people just needing work to put food on the table, or to gain experience after graduation. They soon realise that there are many non-monetary benefits to gigging and come to value flexibility and variety. Bringing in a specialist Gigger to manage a project, write an app or decorate your offices will create work for these individuals and keep them economically active. At the same time, your company will benefit from a professional service, done by a specialist, and only paying for the agreed delivery.
Giggers constantly expand their skills to keep up with the latest trends in their space, and are likely to be more innovative and receptive to change
The challenge of finding and hiring people with high-demand, scarce and specialized skill sets is one that keeps recruiters up at night. Not only is it near impossible to find these people, it's almost as difficult to retain them. Giggers constantly expand their skills to keep up with the latest trends in their space, and are likely to be more innovative and receptive to change. If you’re looking for a specialist with current skills and a wealth of experience, the best way to get your project done would be to hire a Gigger. They come armed with their own knowledge, skills and experience as well as their own contacts, tools and equipment.
5. Flexibility, reliability, and agility
Hiring giggers will help your business to be more flexible and responsive to your clients and create an internal culture of “getting it done”.
Flexibility and agility are key tenets of how Giggers operate. They are people who value being able to determine their own hours and work patterns. They are also highly self-accountable, getting their next gig is dependent on positive references and a strong track record for previous gigs. Hiring giggers will help your business to be more flexible and responsive to your clients and create an internal culture of “getting it done”. Managing and maintaining performance levels of Giggers is a lot simpler than the traditional Manager / Employee model. Outputs can be measured on a Client / Service Provider basis to ensure the outcomes you expect.
Join the Gig Economy with DLK Group
At DLK group we understand how the 4th Industrial Revolution is changing the way people work, and how companies engage with their employees. We assist our clients to find people who can add value to their projects from day 1 and who are specialists and professionals in their fields. Our extended team of Giggers are people who have highly sought-after skills and are specialists in their fields. Talk to us today about how your business can benefit from the Gig Economy.
Written by Belinda Kovachi