Regardless of the reason, the gig economy is here to stay. Individuals are opting to have a side hustle in addition to their regular full-time jobs. Some people are choosing to leave the daily grind and freelance full-time. An article in Forbes put the number of freelancers in the U.S. at 53 million and predicts that number will increase to about 50% of the workforce by 2020.
If you’re trying to decide if being full-time employee or freelancing is right for you, check out this post I wrote on Unum’s WorkWell blog with the six advantages to consider for each.
I know one of the biggest challenges for freelancers is healthcare. My friends at The Devon Group told me about a partnership between Work Market, the leading on-demand marketplace for independent professionals, and Stride Health to offer its entire network of independent professionals across the United States access to affordable healthcare. Work Market’s partnership with Stride Health allows the company to connect its growing network of independent talent with more than 200 insurance carriers, as well as Stride’s recommendation platform, which compares 38 factors across thousands of health plans to find which plan will save a freelancer the most money, giving freelancers and their families more options.
But the gig economy isn’t something human resources should ignore. Organizations that want to take advantage of freelancer talent, need to consider how they are going to recruit and retain that talent. HR People + Strategy posted a good read titled, “HR in the Age of Gig.”
It also raises the question about training and professional development. Freelancing isn’t an excuse to stop learning. David Creelman penned an interesting post on Medium titled, “The problem of the ‘average Joe’ in the gig economy.”
Freelancers, consultants, contractors, whatever you want to call them, are a vital part of today’s economy and modern workplaces. There are tremendous advantages for organizations to have on-demand talent options. But, like everything, it means having a strategy, planning and executing that strategy well.
Images taken by Sharlyn Lauby while consulting around the globe for her clients0