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    September 19, 2023

    Your Gig Workers and Consultants – Part of Your Team

    Creating meaningful work is key to keeping employees engaged and productive. Most leadership is aware of the positive impact that can have on employees. However, there is often not as much thought about 1099 employees and supply chain partners that are part of a company’s extended team. It is important to recognize that everyone that is contributing to the mission of the company has an impact on how successful a company will be.

    Your organization may have a number of gig workers, a person who does temporary or freelance work, or an independent contractor engaged on an informal or on-demand basis. They aren’t participating in your total rewards program and yet are an integral part of your team. If they are not as engaged as you need them to be, if they are impacted by their own poor health and wellbeing, this impacts your company and your employees they work with daily.

    There are differences between gig workers and independent contractors. Gig workers usually work on short-term projects and are hired for specific tasks. They do not have any long-term contracts or commitments and may work on various projects. On the other hand, independent contractors have longer-term contracts and are hired to do specific tasks or provide services for an extended period. In either case, they are contributing to your company. This difference is something to keep in mind so that there are more meaningful interactions between them with your workforce.

    Keeping all of these contributing non-employees connected to your company is something that deserves focus. It also makes a difference if they are integrated into a team or if they are working outside the normal workflow on a particular project.  

    For those that work directly with your team, potentially onsite, making them feel included is key. No one wants to be treated as a second-class citizen. Your company is probably saving money by utilizing 1099s. But if they are not engaged, they may not stay as long, contributing to additional costs to find their replacement. This puts additional stress on team members that have to pick up the workload until a replacement is found.


    What You Can Do

    • Review how a 1099 gig employee or consultant is onboarded and introduced to their team and/or supervisor. It is important that they are aware of the mission and vision of the organization at the same level as your full-time employees. It is also equally important that the team, particularly the person leading the team, makes them feel that they are an integral contributor.
    • Include them in team building activities whenever you can, including health and wellbeing programs. Realistically, everything has a cost. As an example, the additional cost of a meal for a team lunch outing may seem like an unnecessary expense, However, leaving out someone that works regularly with a team is clear message around how the company views their contribution.  When creating a budget for a team with 1099s, consider the costs and benefits of including them in key team building activities.
    • From a health and wellbeing lens, look at where, throughout the year, they can be included. Forwarding general information about any wellness resources and wellness education can help support their productivity. Though they may not have access to your EAP, as an example, including them in general information about protecting mental health has value.  
    • Have a plan for 1099s that get hired as full-time employees. Some companies end up hiring 1099s to fill select full-time positions. If that person has already felt included, as a 1099, and is clear about the mission of the company, they will already be engaged. That can increase the value of how they contribute.

    Your supply chain may also be an opportunity to create more goodwill within your organization. Here is a statement that Levi Strauss has about how they work with supply chain vendors: “Through regular factory assessments, supplier training and our Worker Well-being initiative, we collaborate with suppliers to drive improvement on the key social and environmental issues common to the apparel supply chain.”  It’s beneficial for HR to be aware of any supply chain focus so it can be communicated to employees and potential hires.

    The gig economy will only grow and present challenges for organizations, whether these are local or virtual gig employees and/or contract workers. They contribute to the strength of your bottom line. Including them in your overall engagement strategy can be a game changer for your company.  

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