Should you have an onboarding programme for ‘gig workers’?

Traditionally just for employees, induction programmes can be useful for freelancers as well

Should you have an onboarding programme for ‘gig workers’?
With freelancing on the rise, HR departments should consider whether ‘gig workers’ should be part of formal induction programmes. 

According to Minister of Manpower Lim Swee Say, there are more than 100,000 primary freelancers in Singapore, making up 10% of the country’s working residents. 

Lim told parliament that he expects that number to rise in the transportation, food and beverage industries, with many Singaporeans taking on freelancing as a secondary source of income.

“As competition stiffens and efficiencies and productivity come in to focus, business are unable to ignore the talent in the liquid workforce,” commented Rebecca Chiu, CEO of tech start-up firm MyWork Global. 

“Transitioning to this new resourcing model comes with its teething problems, such as redesigning tasks to allow it to be done possibly remotely or by different people on different shifts,” she added.

MyWork Global specialises in connecting freelancers with businesses that require on-demand workers and Chiu said the current employment landscape is veering away from “the model of one employer to many employers, to a more democratic where there are many gig workers who may divide their time among many employers”.

She said this new model also means that businesses should consider introducing onboarding programmes for gig workers to integrate them more effectively and more efficiently into the company. “Gig workers must feel that this resourcing model is beneficial for them and part of that is ensuring they understand how their role fits into the goals of the business,” she said.

Rachael Chiu, COO of MyWork Global, said that since the focus of gig workers is to add value to a business by performing a specific task, onboarding programmes should be “tailored to suit the relevant outcome that the business requires”.

“Instead of doing a full initiation and teaching the worker the entire company's processes, as you would do with a full time employee, the company should focus on teaching the worker what is relevant for [their] specific role,” she said.

“Proper communication in the onboarding process is vital in ensuring that gig workers do not feel inferior to the full time workforce and remain very committed to their relevant tasks as they enjoy the flexibility of being able to plug in to a constant stream of a variety of opportunities that may suit their needs,” added Rebecca Chiu.

Related stories:

Top five talent management predictions for 2017 

How should HR handle onboarding a boomerang employee?

How technology is changing the onboarding experience

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