July 24th, 2019 | Amy A. Anger, Independent Worker Advocate and Principal of Atrip Consulting
Team Culture in the Age of Gig: How to Build a Happy Workforce, Near and Far
Business is more complicated and faster paced than ever. The pressure to compete globally, keep up with technology innovation, and stay in-tune with the values of customers and candidates can be daunting for today’s business leaders.
It’s more important than ever to be clear about your organisation’s culture, particularly when determining what to do about the emerging gig economy as a workstyle choice and the individuals you want to attract and retain.
Ask yourself: are we truly living out the values we say we subscribe to? Do we genuinely exhibit the behaviors that are consistent with our company’s stated mission, values, and purpose statement? Is that value and meaning authentic or just words in a mission statement? How do we treat our customers? Are the people we hire or engage finding value and meaning in their work? Do our people love what they do and who they are doing it with? How honest are we, as an organisation, about our culture, our values, and what behaviors we reward and promote?
It’s impossible to rely on a well-worded mission statement and your executive team to create a positive, thriving culture. The culture must be something that is integrated into everything your organisation does. It’s a simple concept but difficult to execute. A company’s culture is created by who is promoted, what behaviors are tolerated or rewarded, and how everyone acts while going about their day. Culture is a living thing that needs to be nurtured and cared for. It’s creating corporate self-awareness in your organisation.
Ask yourself: what do we need to deliver on our strategic plan? Do we have the right people, with the right skills, doing the right work that will achieve our desired results? How are we positioned in the talent market? Do we know who wants to come work for us and how they want to work?
If you are concerned that the way you have always done things isn’t going to continue to deliver the results you want, you’re right. Many organisations wait until they experience a competitive setback before changing how they do things. In today’s market, you cannot wait… particularly when it comes to changing your strategy around the people you hire or engage. The role you fill in your organisation today might be different in 6 months or less. So, the person you hire or engage needs to be able to adapt to your changing needs. But as an organisation, you need to adapt to the changing needs of the people doing the work. The value you bring to the people who choose to work for and with you is as important as the value you bring to your customer.
Ask yourself: how can we do things differently? Are we being innovative in our use of technology? What if we embraced diversity in workstyles?
Wanting flexible work environments isn’t new. In fact, the concept of working in a “gig” fashion has been around for a long time. Musicians are probably the most well-established gig workers, but substitute teachers, part-time nurses and skilled tradespeople have been working as “gig workers” for years. More and more people are now enabled and empowered to choose freelance-style work because today’s devices are portable and connectivity is easily accessible. People no longer need to sit at a specific desk in a particular building in a particular city to get their work done. Understanding the capabilities that you have or need to develop in order to deploy tools that enable remote work is the first step to engaging people working in as part of the gig economy.
Things to do: First, be honest about your organisation’s culture and values. Second, prioritize the strategy you have for attracting and retaining the people you need to achieve your corporate strategy. Finally, understand what technology you need to empower remote and gig workers. Don’t overthink it.
It’s important to break these issues down into smaller projects, tasks, and initiatives so your organisation can make progress. Making progress, even “baby steps”, will make all the difference to either maintaining or achieving your competitive edge and developing a culture that attracts and retains the people you want and need.
About the Author: Amy Anger, Principal of Atrip Consulting, Independent Worker Advocate, and former Chief Culture Officer at Kelly Services, has always believed that adaptability is her most valuable trait. Whether as an in-house lawyer, life-long learner, daughter, wife, or mother, in anything and everything she has ever done, she needed to adapt. In her final corporate role, she focused on the freelance economy and the business need to create fluid workforce models. That work ignited her passion for coaching and helping people and companies adapt to our more fluid and mobile lives.
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