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What’s the best approach for gigifying your work?

01 Mar 2017
Ben Decker

In my previous post, I discussed how the rising numbers of contingent workers are driving change in the workplace. A growing portion of Millennials and Baby Boomers—the two largest generations currently in the workforce—are opting for free agency. Consequently, employers in the financial services and insurance industry that want to attract top talent should not only adapt their talent strategies, but also recognize that work is no longer always a linear process performed by permanent teams in a siloed environment.

Of course, changing work processes is a challenge for any organization even in the best, most stable of circumstances. When it comes to finance and insurance, it’s undeniable that in the rebound from the Great Recession, there’s been so much upheaval and uncertainty ranging from restructuring to digital transformation that even incumbents are finding themselves in uncharted territory.

However, this shouldn’t hold employers back from pursuing their critical business objectives. And since providing project-based work is key to attracting and retaining top talent, it’s becoming increasingly clear that gigifying work is one of those critical objectives.

Unfortunately, many companies are stuck in a build vs. buy impasse when it comes to gigification. What I mean by this is that while employers recognize they don’t have the expertise in-house to gigify their work, they’re undecided as to how best approach this challenge. In general, employers consider the following three options:

  1. Study their peers to see how they’ve resolved similar issues and use that information to create their own solutions. While this “build” mentality would seem like a good solution, the reality is that it’s time consuming and companies could be missing out on critical information without knowing it. Moreover, it often involves reassigning resources they can’t afford to reallocate—and that can create operational problems elsewhere in the organization.
  2. Hire a permanent employee with expertise in restructuring tactics to oversee change. At first glance, this also appears to be a viable option. However, anyone who’s brought in from outside the organization needs to get to know the various stakeholders and understand the company culture. This requires a certain time investment and results in a longer runway to action.
  3. Purchase external expertise to effect gigification. This can be an effective solution—however, it has two distinct drawbacks. First, to combat silos and promote a matrixed system, it involves outsourcing an enormous amount of responsibility, often at a high price point. And second, without any expertise in-house, it’s virtually impossible for employers to have oversight into the process and control its efficacy.   

While all three of these options have their merits, none offer a complete solution. The reality is that to effectively gigify their work, companies need a course of action that combines knowledge of the mechanics of the gig culture with knowledge of the company to implement change across all levels of the organization. This can involve assigning two (or more) project managers; one for the internal expertise and one for the knowledge of gigification. Consequently, the various stakeholders and departments in an organization need to pool their resources in order to provide the project manager(s) with the knowledge, budget, and people to effectively make the switch to gigification.

As more and more companies are beginning to recognize, the effort to gigify work is a critical investment in attracting and retaining the high quality talent they need to be competitive—today, tomorrow, and into the future.


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