According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management article, to maintain a healthy relationship with gig workers, employers need to offer more than good pay. But that presents a challenge: How do you offer gig workers benefits while avoiding traps that could lead to their being classified as full-time employees?
Experts say there are two central elements to fashioning a benefits package that will attract the best gig workers with minimal risk to the company:
- First, understand that independents consider more than money when deciding whether or not to take an assignment.
- Second, make sure whatever you offer is portable, something the worker can access even after his or her assignment has ended.
Some of the perks that attract gig workers are surprisingly simple. “They might not be what we think of as traditional benefits,” said Penny Queller, senior vice president of sales solutions at Alexander Mann Solutions in St. Louis. Instead, they involve efforts built around “engagement and processes.”
To start, gig workers are attracted to well-run businesses that treat them as respected professionals. “When we ask our customers why they liked or didn’t like a particular client, the No. 1 thing they talk about isn’t money—it’s about the client recognizing their value and treating them with respect,” said Zaino, whose company provides back-office support to independent workers. “Independents want to feel as if their work is making a difference.”
With that in mind, you can build stronger relationships with gig workers by:
- Making engagements as frictionless as possible. Gig workers want to do work, not paperwork.
- Paying on time. “It’s sad to think of that as a ‘benefit,’ ” Queller said, “but a smooth and timely payment process goes a long way toward winning an independent worker’s loyalty.”
- Awarding bonuses for hitting key milestones and contributing to overall team goals.
- Including gig workers in your company’s community through things like social and alumni networks, happy hours or invitations to hear guest speakers along with full-time employees. Through such activities, “the company becomes more valuable to the worker and helps both develop closer ties,” Cameron said.
- Offering discounted prices to your company’s products during the life of your contract with the gig worker.
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