The gig economy revolves around a temporary workforce that’s utilized for short-term engagements, and it’s creating lots of buzz. Recent stats show 53 million Americans were working as freelancers as of 2015, and studies predict that 40 percent of Americans will be independent contractors by 2020. According to reports, these freelance workers and independent contractors are earning 17 percent more per hour than conventional full-time employees. For employers contemplating the incorporation of gig workers, there are two essentials to understand and consider: Millennials and mobile.

While the gig economy is a hot topic, and will undoubtedly remain one into the future, today’s conversation is so often dominated by consumer-focused service offerings like Uber and Airbnb. Most people think of the gig economy as being strictly B2C (business-to-consumer), with workers who focus on quick task fulfillment like offering car rides. But principles of the gig economy that have turned companies like Uber and Lyft into household names are now moving into the B2B (business-to-business) space.

Now is the time for employers to analyze the benefits the gig economy can provide to varying industries, including manufacturing, IT and healthcare, to name a few. Because the desires of the workforce are changing, the right application of gig economy principles can lead to a talented, on-demand workforce that allows both sides to win: the employee and the business.

Millennials in the Workforce

In 2015, Millennials became the largest demographic age group in the workforce, with more than one-third of Millennials employed as independent workers. To properly develop effective strategies for managing millennial gig workers, an employer should consider the viewpoints and culture of Generation Y.

Millennials tend to embrace both life and work equally. To them, developing and nurturing hobbies is just as important to individual success as earning promotions or raises at work. Contrary to the self-absorbed stereotype, they are also driven by purpose and motivated when working for something that is bigger than themselves. As a company, ensure that your mission and ideals are clearly defined. In addition, provide opportunities for Millennials to participate in philanthropic or volunteer activities that are important to them.  Though an employer might personally relate more to a "Baby Boomer," it is important to invite Millennials into the equation.

To successfully integrate Millennials into a multi-generational workforce, employers should consider creating teams that consist of a variety of ages and experience levels. People have a natural tendency to gravitate toward others like them, so it’s important not to let your workforce become divided into generational cliques. When possible, and never to the detriment of projects, these teams should be varied so employees can learn to work together and build each other up by working on a project with one goal in mind. Management may have little time to devote to bridging this gap for employees, meaning it’s important to set them up to do it themselves by encouraging a collaborative work environment.

Mobile Engagement

Business, and the technology that comes along with it, are evolving faster than ever before, and ignoring their important relationship is no longer an option. One of the newer developments in technology is the integration of talent management on mobile devices, which is critical when managing and assessing gig workers.

Mobile devices are utilized for practically everything, from appointments and news to social networking and job searching. This makes it essential for businesses to reach out to both current and potential employees on a mobile platform. Mobile technology can be an excellent tool for communicating with and managing your current workforce. Likewise, mobile technology enables you to reach a wider talent pool to recruit from. In addition to things like mobile-friendly websites, mobile advertisements, and even custom mobile applications, businesses should be looking for ways to integrate mobile technology into their daily workflow.

Employers can achieve a heightened level of connectedness and engagement with employees and job candidates when utilizing a multi-channel approach that includes texting, email campaigns and social media. Each contact supports a fresh flow of data that boosts the effectiveness of recruiting and retention. Mobile-friendly technology is essential to streamlining job-specific updates which have the dual utility of encouraging employees to stay on schedule, while also providing the opportunity for real-time data updates for efficient project planning. Last minute job or schedule changes should also be communicated via mobile technology to ensure increased productivity and reduced staffing challenges.

Pete Butler is the founder and CEO of Indianapolis-headquartered MS Companies.

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