The term “gig economy” has quickly become a part of the business lexicon. As defined by Investopedia, “in a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies trend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees.” This alternative or “contingent” workforce approach has gained significant traction in recent years and is particularly appealing to millennials looking for more personal fulfillment and a better work/life balance.
“I left my full-time role because I craved flexibility in my daily schedule and the freedom to work where I felt most comfortable and productive.”
Platform Approach Driving Innovation in Financial Services
There’s no doubt that the rise of the gig economy has impacted the financial services industry. The speed of business innovation has increased dramatically, and so has the impact of that innovation on the workplace. API-based development platforms have led to the faster delivery of products and services, resulting in a need for more agile talent acquisition, and the gig economy approach is a flexible and scalable way to address this need.
Today, financial services organizations are leaner than ever before when it comes to full-time staffing. But the need to quickly adopt new skill sets to meet the demands of new products and services while also reducing costs has resulted in more and more insurance and banking firms moving employees off their balance sheets in favor of new contingent workforces:
Many experts are talking about the global demand for contingent workers, and research conducted on this topic is revealing some very compelling data points, such as:
- 30% - Insurers using talent marketplaces on a broad scale (48% in some areas)
- 62% - Insurers who plan to increase the use of contingent workers over the next year
- 16% - Banking workforce that is already independent freelancers
- 29% - Bankers expecting independent freelancers to increase more than 51% over the next year
But as the use of contingent workers has increased, so have the risks and challenges. Here are seven issues that should be top-of-mind when working with a contingent workforce, and advice on how to address them:
1) Information access
A contingent workforce needs to have access to all the necessary information required to do their jobs. Yet, few of these workers have the knowledge needed to search and locate information scattered across the organization in multiple repositories, databases, and file shares. This can lead to poor business decisions being made with less than optimal information.
Organizations need a solution that can provide a single point of access to information regardless of where it resides across the enterprise, taking the guesswork out of locating and retrieving critical business information needed to do the job.
Because of the temporary nature of a contingent workforce, it is important that organizations be able to account for the actions of these employees, even after they have moved on to other endeavors. Being able to defend business decisions and explain why those decisions are made, is critical to any regulatory compliance.
Organizations need a solution that can create an audit trail of all the activities of a contingent workforce, such as capturing an employee identifier, date and time stamp, and the action taken by that employee. The solution should also be able to create that audit record automatically; associate it with the particular piece of information that has been accessed by that employee, and maintain that audit record for as long as necessary.
3) Virtual Training
Contingent employees are not going to have the years of training possessed by experienced full-time staff members, and knowledgeable workers may not always be present or available to assist in answering questions. This could result in workers simply guessing about the correct policy or procedure to perform a task.
Organizations need a solution capable of storing and managing not only traditional documents but also videos and other rich content that can be leveraged for training by a contingent workforce as needed.
4) Structured Work Processes
A contingent workforce may lack the detailed knowledge of internal business process and procedures possessed by experienced full-time employees. Individual tasks can fall through cracks or processing steps can be missed leading to less than optimal business outcomes.
Organizations need a solution that can provide structured automated workflows to ensure that critical processing steps are not missed;** that all relevant documentation is collected and filed appropriately; that deadlines are adhered to; and that appropriate supervision or peer reviews are incorporated into day-to-day assignments.
Despite best efforts to qualify contingent workers and prevent accidental breaches, there is always a risk to valuable corporate and customer information from the ill intentions of an individual intent on damaging the brand, or simply an honest (and preventable) mistake that can be equally as damaging.
Organizations need a solution that can protect corporate digital assets from accidental or malicious activities, and that can ensure the actions of employees are congruent with corporate and regulatory guidelines.
6) AI/Machine Learning
Contingent employees aren’t cheap, and the last thing companies want is for them to waste their time working on mundane tasks. Furthermore, contingent workers often do not have the benefit of hindsight and historical context, which is certainly important when it comes to making key decisions.
Forward-thinking companies are leveraging platforms with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities that automate and streamline processes, ensure greater accuracy, and better support real-time decisions. Anticipating the next action and making the correct decision immediately, can be the difference between failure and success of an organization.
7) Need portability
When contingent employees leave an organization, others are often called upon to take up their assignments. If information collected during the course of employment is scattered across various systems and devices, this transition can be difficult to accomplish.
Organizations need a solution that allows discrete information to be quickly moved or reassigned to other individual or even organizations, or to be accessed in its native location via a centralized information hub. Speed, accuracy, and completeness are necessary to ensure that no delays are introduced to business transactions already in-flight.
The Nuxeo Content Services Platform: Built for the Gig Economy
Nuxeo is a platform designed to allow financial services organizations to quickly develop and deploy business applications that rely on data, content, and rich media. Let us show you how you can address the challenges of managing a contingent workforce with the most modern and scalable platform on the market. Contact us for a demo today!