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Leveraging the Gig Economy to Enhance Employee Engagement

As the gig economy continues to grow, some employers may become accustomed to creating external job postings for short-term and freelance projects. However, in doing so employers could be ignoring a more obvious talent pool: their own employees. By creating an internal gig economy platform to notify employees of short-term and freelance projects, employers can create the opportunity for employees to apply for side-projects that they find interesting and that will also allow the employee to enhance the organization. In doing so, businesses can also avoid the unknowns of hiring an unfamiliar freelance worker and can quickly meet the staffing demands for short-term but important projects. Additionally, employees may be able to refer other skilled freelancers to their employer.

By creating an internal website to notify employees of freelance projects, employers can utilize the appeal of the gig economy to maximize their own employees’ talents, promote innovation and assist their own employees with finding work that they find subjectively appealing and significant. Employers may also benefit from creating a culture that feels more entrepreneurial and allows employees to perform work outside of their defined role within the organization. By taking on a freelance project employees will also have the opportunity to recognize their potential in an area of interest and provide them an interesting alternative their typical day-to-day tasks. Employees will also have the opportunity to build relationships with different colleagues and customers by performing work outside of their own department or defined role.

Employers are constantly developing strategies to enhance employee engagement and numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of maintaining an engaged workforce. It is also likely that some employees are actively participating in the gig economy and performing skilled freelance work for other businesses. By allowing their employees to work on freelance projects, employers can tap into this otherwise unused talent pool and allow their employees to witness the impact of their own contributions via the completion of short-term projects. Other benefits for the employee could also include a greater sense of belonging within the organization, and the ability to demonstrate a versatile skillset to their employer and their peers.  

 Employers will also assist their employees in developing new talents and gaining experience by allowing employees to work on short-term projects outside of the scope of their job descriptions. However, employers should be ever mindful of carefully defining and documenting freelance projects that are accepted by employees in order to stay in compliance with wage and hour regulations for all hours the employees are engaged. 

In short, the competition for talented and engaged employees continues to increase as technology allows for the gig economy to grow. By creating an internal gig economy platform, employers can create more opportunities for their own employees and enhance their workplace culture in an effort to increase employee engagement. 

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