Human Resources: How to benefit from the gig economy

By Karyn Rhodes
A recent poll by NPR/ Marist revealed that 20 percent of jobs in this country are held by contract workers – and that number is only expected to rise over the next decade as more companies seek to reap the benefits: greater flexibility, lower labor costs, and immediate access to skilled workers. But there are also challenges to hiring temporary workers. To maximize the benefits and minimize risk, here are five things you need to know to optimize the role of contract workers in your organization. • Ensure Clarity: While an alternative work arrangement gives companies access to talented professionals they may not have been able to afford previously, it is important to be clear about how you plan to use the workers for projects. Share the full scope of work as well as specific guidelines so the contractor can be successful. Also, be sure to utilize technology that makes the arrangement’s administrative tasks simpler, such as how workers will track time or receive payments. • Beware Benefits: According to the NPR/ Marist survey, just over half of contract workers go without benefits like health insurance and employer-sponsored retirement plans. Instead, these professionals must handle coverage on their own, which can be financially challenging for some. To address the issue, a handful of states have introduced bills to create portable benefits that employers contribute to but workers own and can transfer so pay attention to legislative trends that may impact your worker relationships. • Transfer Knowledge: While contract workers can bring much-needed skills to an organization without the time and investment of training, when they leave to move on to their next gig, their knowledge goes out the door with them. To ensure that critical knowledge doesn’t leave, make passing it on a priority before the work arrangement ends. Talk with the contract worker about documentation or consider pairing the worker your local source for….. Office Equipment Office Supplies Call for Free Delivery Office Commercial Furniture Printing Services Available We can beat anyone’s prices! 800-273-6012 | August 2018 | Cape & Plymouth Business 45 OLD WAYS WON’T OPEN NEW DOORS… DIRECT TO ONE can help you signifi cantly increase your donor support from day one. Contact us today for a free DIRECT TO ONE consultation. Hyannis, MA · Norton, MA 508.285.2800 Business Toolbox with their successor or others who will be handling the tasks going forward. • Classify Correctly: As independent workers, companies are not required to provide contractors with protections afforded regular employees, such as minimum wage and overtime. But that is only if the workers are correctly classified as independent contractors and not employees. With stepped-up enforcement over misclassification, it is critical that organizations make sure contract workers are properly classified by applying government tests to assess each one. • Extend the Culture: Even though contract workers are only part of a team for a short time, it is important to integrate them into the company culture. Be sure to include them on group emails about their project and invite them to staff meetings or any social activities. And just like employees, ask for their ideas and share feedback as well, including recognizing their accomplishments. Rounding out your team with talented contractors can be a great way to strengthen your workforce. Just be sure to pay attention to key issues to make the relationships work for you – and your contractors. Karyn Rhodes is VP/Director of Complete HR Solutions, a division of Complete Payroll Solutions. She can be reached at or (401) 332-9325.