The Rise of The Gig Economy: Picking Your Tech for Success

As part of our blog series on the growing popularity of the gig economy, VectorVMS’ Product Manager, Taylor Ramchandani, looks at the technologies you can add to better manage your growing gig economy workforce.

Gone are the days where one technology fits all. As we mentioned in our previous blog post, ‘The Rise of the Gig Economy: What Is It and Why Should I Care?’, the gig economy is becoming increasingly common. This is in terms of both the number of people now working this way and organizations relying on contingent labor.

So naturally, the technology has been created to manage this. The way we see it, the best way to manage talent is through a technology ecosystem with a vendor management system (VMS) at the center. This system then facilitates the distribution, management, and sourcing of all non-employee labor.

There are big differences between traditional and gig economy contingent labor. The freelancers, consultants, and some short-term additions to your team are independent contractors, so you need to source and manage them in a different way to your traditional workforce.

The key changes and technologies to consider include:

  • Direct sourcing
  • Freelance management
  • Shift management
  • Crowdsourcing

Now let’s dive a little deeper into each technology type.

Related reading: ‘4 Steps to Building a Talent Ecosystem

Direct Sourcing of Contingent Labor

“Direct sourcing” is an industry buzzword lately. For good reason. We believe that having a direct sourcing technology is vital to attract talent outside of the traditional staffing agency.

Direct sourcing allows you to post roles and positions to various sites, including job boards and aggregators like Indeed.com and your organization’s career site. On top of this, it allows you to manage potential candidates and resource in talent pools for later usage.

So here’s a question: What’s the first thing you do when you apply for a job? The answer is probably: Search online. Google and Indeed dominate the job-hunting market. Which means that using direct sourcing technology to advertise your contingent and gig positions allows you to meet the people where they already are. This will help you reach more applicants, improve the application experience (and therefore the application rate), and leverage the employee branding you’ve worked so hard to build.

Here’s more on direct sourcing: ‘VectorVMS and WillHire Team up to Launch Direct Sourcing Offering

Where Do Freelance Management Systems Fit In?

At VectorVMS, we’ve seen a lot of debate in the industry about the difference between freelance management systems (FMSs) and direct sourcing. For us, the key difference is that an FMS is used more specifically for building pools of talent. You can also add pre-identified or vetted talent into different pools for use at a later date. This differs from direct sourcing, which focuses more on distributing vacancies and opportunities to a larger talent network.

There are variations between systems as well. Some FMSs have pre-built networks of talent, like Toptal which has carefully curated networks of top tech talent. Whereas others like Shortlist allow you to create your own network of talent. So, if you plan to use an FMS, ensure that the features of the system match up to your organization’s needs.

Related reading: ‘4 Steps to Building a Talent Ecosystem

Shift Scheduling for Gig Economy Workers

This type of technology has become increasingly popular in the retail, food, entertainment, and hospitality industries where workers truly work in shifts or “gigs”. Trying to manage the schedules of your employees as well as temporary or gig economy workers can be cumbersome. This is why shift management technologies have started to pop up to reduce admin and logistical headaches.

Shift management software allows you to post out the different openings in any given week for gig workers to pick up at their convenience. This allows you to communicate requirements for the position, pay for the shift, and outline location specifics. This creates greater flexibility in and visibility of the work which ultimately benefits both worker and employer.

You might also like: ‘Temp vs SOW: Why Contingent Workforce Classifications Are Essential

Crowdsourcing for Multiple Gig Economy Workers

Crowdsourcing is the final piece of tech that deserves a mention in the vendor and gig economy management process. This is probably the least talked about of the gig economy technologies but can be very useful for organizations looking to outsource specific sections or requirements of a project to a talent network.

In this model, pieces of a project are divided out and worked on by a collection of individuals, rather than having a single project completed by one individual as you may see with a services procurement model.

Think about Waze, a navigation app that relies on its users to give real-time traffic and road accident updates. Many Americans have used the popular GPS at some point in our lives and it’s a prime example of crowdsourcing in action. The users are all reporting traffic jams, debris in the road, and speed traps to create the larger picture of our journey to get where we’re going. Now imagine you do the same with your next project, sending out smaller pieces to allow individual workers to build your “map”.

Handpicked for you: ‘How COVID-19 Is Changing the Rules for the Gig Economy

Making the Most of Gig Economy Technology

Just like the traditional contingent workforce that needs a vendor management system to operate efficiently, the gig economy also needs its tech. When looking at how to best manage this segment of the workforce, it’s good to start by thinking about what your VMS can do today. Even better, consider how you wish to integrate new technologies with your VMS to create a central record of all things contingent labor.

Now that we’ve talked about the tech that you need to manage and source gig workers, don’t miss our final post in this series which will discuss best practices in compliance and program management. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about the topic, take a look at our whitepaper below.

For more on this subject, check out our eBook ‘Talent Without Borders: Using Technology To Build a Talent Ecosystem’. Download your copy today.