Training Gig Economy Workers Requires a New Perspective on Engagement

Training Gig Economy Workers Requires a New Perspective on Engagement


Jasmine Henry


In today's workforce, gig workers make up an increasingly critical part of organizations, yet many still treat them as if they're disposable. It's time to rethink training gig economy workers as a path to satisfaction and engagement. Learning management system experiences designed for contingent employees can meet gig workers' need to feel challenged, connected and rewarded at work. Employers can benefit from greater gig worker satisfaction, engagement and organizational knowledge.

Engaging by training

Gig workers and full-time employees have different tax statuses, but they value the same things. Everyone needs positive relationships with leadership and a sense of challenge in the workday, according to a TINYpulse study. Ideally, an LMS experience creates greater transparency and connection in a blended workforce. Microsoft's move toward a "gig mindset" involved launching a platform for all stakeholders to upskill, Mercer reported. Microsoft engaged gig workers with an "internal marketplace," where contingent workforce members are encouraged to engage with opportunities to learn, apply expertise and gain new experiences. A commitment to training gig workers has an enormous impact on engagement and satisfaction. Robust learning and development offerings for gig workers can be a competitive advantage. Education is a low-cost option for employers to provide in lieu of traditional benefits. When compared to full-time employees, members of the gig economy place a particular value on workplace experiences that support their passion and ability to innovate, according to a Gallup report. Education can support employers' initiatives to turn contingent workers into a community of talent. "This improves reliability, engagement, commitment, and a sense of belonging without being trapped," writes Harvard psychiatrist Srini Pallay, M.D. Gig worker engagement benefits employers by building a community and decreasing search time for contingent talent. Even low-cost L&D investments designed to support gig workers can elevate gig worker retention and minimize knowledge loss when workers move on. Creating a stable pool of reliable talent will ensure uninterrupted productivity and will allow you to scale as business needs change.

Support upskilling

Eighty-three percent of today's workforce primarily sees keeping skills up to date as a personal responsibility, according to the Mercer study. The LMS experience should provide opportunities for gig workers to create and pursue personalized learning pathways. LMS data can provide opportunities for your organization to reward upskilling or apply newly developed capabilities in the workforce.

Foster teamwork

Gig workers need community, but they don't always find it. Nontraditional workers have fewer interpersonal relationships in the organization, Gallup noted. An LMS can foster teamwork and community among the blended workforce with shared learning assignments, including clear goals, shared calendars and social pathways for collaboration. While building community is relevant for all workers, it can be a clear differentiator for your business among gig workers and make you an employer of choice.

Measure what matters

Just one in five gig workers feels their performance metrics are within their control, Gallup calculated. An LMS should be used to provide clear visibility into performance and two-way communication between contingent workers and leadership. Monitor contingent worker engagement actively with frequent surveying on satisfaction and experience with your business. Measurement also provides visibility into performance and fit. Clear, objective standards make it easy for stakeholders to assess gig worker performance and identify talent worth retaining.

Engagement through L&D

Gig workers have the same needs as full-time employees. However, these needs aren't always met by an LMS experience designed for full-time employees. A modest investment in well-designed LMS offerings for training gig economy workers can represent huge gains in those employees feeling a greater sense of ownership and engagement. Education benefits are a low-cost way for employers to engage contingent workers and build a thriving community of skilled gig workers for future reengagement. Use L&D to foster teamwork and communication, and your organization will reap the rewards of your development efforts.

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