gig economy and employee benefits

3 min read

The world of work is changing, and as HR and People specialists, we also need to think differently about how we attract, retain and engage the people who keep our businesses moving.

With more people than ever working with businesses as part of the “gig economy,” the traditional employee benefits model, which mainly focussed on permanent or part-time employees, doesn’t feel quite right anymore.

In 2017, an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK were working in the so called “gig economy.” This is where people take on short contracts and do a number of different jobs (or gigs), rather than work solely for one employer. You’ll most likely have heard of it because of companies like Uber and Deliveroo, but in reality, many businesses “employ” gig workers as part of their workforce model.

According to a Wired article from earlier this year: “Last year, landmark rulings against Uber and CitySprint found that people previously categorised as self-employed were, in fact, not. Uber is appealing and its case will likely be heard by the Supreme Court in 2019.”

And just a few weeks ago, Pimlico Plumbers was told that a plumber who was on its books as self-employed was entitled to benefits such as holiday and sick pay. These court rulings could have massive implications for businesses and gig economy workers.  

But whether we have a legal obligation or not to treat all the people who work for us the same, we should think about the advantages and opportunities of giving everyone we work with the same great tools and benefits that help them to think our brand is pretty great.

The competition to find the right talent is getting harder every year. We all want to find the best people for our businesses, and once we’ve found them we’d really like to hang on to them – even if they freelance for us or work on specific jobs from time to time.

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attracting great employees

Are employee benefits the key to attracting and retaining employees?

Selecting the right employee benefits to improve your Employee Value Proposition has the power to set you apart from the competition. Giving all the people who work for you access to your benefits is a great way to attract, retain and engage those people. Remember, those working as part of the gig economy are often the people who are picking up the phone or face-to-face with your customers every single day. It’s really important for your employer brand that they feel connected and engaged, even if they only work for you three, two or even one day a week.

With a great employee engagement platform that allows you to communicate and connect with your people wherever they are, you have an opportunity to help them to feel part of your mission and to understand and display your company values.

And with benefits like corporate discounts, you can help those people make their salaries go further and they'll know that they’re treated the same as everyone else who works for your business – which is really important for engagement, collaboration and customer service.


Another way you can reach and engage these workers is through strategic employee recognition. While this is important for all workforces, tapping into recognising your people can make them feel appreciated no matter where they are or how often they’ve seen your office headquarters. A quick “thank you” or a “job well done” eCard can help people to feel connected to the business and, of course, appreciated for their hard work and skills. In fact, 87% of employees wished their manager thanked them more.  

As the race for talent continues and our workforces adapt and evolve to a changing world of work, can we really afford not to extend our benefits out to all of our people?

Author

Pippa Arthur-Van Praagh

Pippa Arthur-Van Praagh
Reward Gateway

Pippa is our Global Employee Communications Evangelist. Along with over a decade of expertise in creating engaging employee communications, Pippa tried her hand out at professional roller skating as a child. She decided on the comms path instead.

The making of an agile working office and its effect on employee engagement Watch Video »
The making of an agile working office and its effect on employee engagement Watch Video »
The making of an agile working office and its effect on employee engagement Watch Video »
The making of an agile working office and its effect on employee engagement Watch Video »

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