In the past, many companies haven’t needed to worry all that much about gig or temporary employees. Often associated with industries that have wide swings in demand – such as transportation and delivery – gig (also known as short-term freelance) employees were once a rare and niche segment of the workforce.
However, especially in the COVID era of remote jobs, temp and gig work is expanding to many different industries. A recent study by EMSI predicts that by 2025 temp and gig work will account for more than 3.2 million jobs in the U.S. economy. This growth is led by the “production” sector and cites jobs related to customer-focused services, like customer care, as leading the charge in new gig and temp employment opportunities.
The era of the temp and gig agent working with the customer is already a reality for an increasing number of companies and isn’t far off in the future for many more. Here are a few strategies for how companies can prepare for future workforce with gig and temp employees.
Hire the type of gig worker that fits your business model – Not all temp and gig agents are created equal. Some of the workforce is retired or semi-retired and are just looking to pick up an hour or two a day from their home as demand spikes. Other agents may pursue temporary work as a way to get their foot in the door for a full-time opportunity with the company. Or some potential agents can be a stay-at-home parent looking for a part-time split shift before and after they home school their kids. A gig or temp employee may have the skills needed on paper, but ensuring their motivations and needs match the requirements of the job is a key initial step.
Leverage workforce management (WFM) software to match skills to gig – Once you’ve found one or several gig agents that are the right need for your business, it’s time to take a step back and properly add them to your WFM software solution. Add all of their skills in detail to their agent profile so when they are fully trained and it’s time for them to start working, you’ll be able to get them started immediately with shifts that meet their skills. The detail component is vital to success. Having a skill called “additional language” in your software may be great for identifying multi-lingual agents, but you won’t know if they speak Spanish, Mandarin, or a different language. Go the extra mile with properly organizing relevant skills and keeping them up to date. If you don’t, you may experience frustration from temp and gig agents about being contacted for work that doesn’t actually match their skill set, and they may mistakenly ignore requests for hours that actually do require their skills.
Utilize automated schedule adjustment plans (ASAP) to book hours – Naturally, you’ll only want to book a gig or temp employee when you need them in your workforce schedule. This is where ASAP comes into play, making it easy for a WFM professional to get the right agent at the right time. For example, if there’s an issue with a product sold in Latin America and Spanish-speaking contact volume is higher than normal, a WFM analyst (assuming skills were properly configured in the WFM software) can push out an urgent shift alert. When this happens, all Spanish-speaking agents not currently working will receive a text or mobile notification that a shift is available due to high volume.
Keep an eye on performance in different ways – Sometimes temp or gig employees may require more attention out of the gate to ensure they are meeting your needs. Adherence monitoring through your WFM software is essential for making sure agents are punctual and stay on task, especially for remote workforce teams, but quality monitoring of their interactions with customers also remains important.
Provide recognition for gig and temp workers – Lastly, depending on the corporate culture, a gig or temp worker can sometimes feel like they aren’t a part of the team. Don’t unknowingly create an internal divide between gig and full-time employees. Instead, ensure gig and temp workers get the same level of recognition and opportunities from leadership. If it makes sense for your business, offer a gig employee overtime or an added bonus in pay if they are willing to be flexible with their shifts.
Gig and temp agents can be a great addition to any team. Leverage their unique skills and schedule flexibility to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers.