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Your Business Should Be In The Gig Economy

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In an increasingly global and competitive economic landscape, the success of your business ultimately depends on both the talent and engagement of your people.

This should make the gig economy an increasingly important component of your company's management and growth strategy.

In the groundbreaking study, The War For Talent, McKinsey & Co. looked at 77 companies and over 6,000 manager and executives to explore where the competitive advantage points for the future of business would be.

The conclusion: the most important corporate resource that a business has are people -- more specifically, smart, creative and operationally agile individuals who bring new perspectives and entrepreneurial ideas to the organization are gold.

The study found that talent is ultimately more pivotal to the success and outcomes of a business than capital, strategy or R&D.

And so, the organizations that can steadily source, interest and engage this group are the ones who will dominate and have disproportionate impact to their size.

Since that study was first published, the rapid rise of the "gig economy" has added a completely new dimension to the discussion.

Here are the top five reasons why your organization needs to engage with the gig economy if it not doing so already. If it is, consider ramping up this outreach - especially through the most senior ranks or mission critical projects.

1. Affordability:

Research by the Center For American Progress found that the cost of losing and replacing a senior executive is astronomical -- up to 213 per cent of the employee's salary.

However, via increasingly sophisticated online platforms that actually match individuals to corporate cultures and technical needs, the cost of recruiting executive talent is steadily decreasing.

Simultaneously, the gig economy offers the ability to negotiate more flexible compensation arrangements, making the cost of accessing and working with high talent individuals significantly more affordable and accessible for organizations of all sizes.

2. Speed to Market:

Conventional full time recruitment is inherently a long process given the impact of the decision on both the employee and employer.

A survey of 50 of the Fortune 500 companies found that on average search completion took between 3.5 to 5.0 months, with company's interviewing an average of five candidates.

In contrast, the gig economy functions to nimbly engage and on-board talent -- by matching projects or required solutions to individuals with the ability to hit the ground running.

3. Capacity:

For start ups and SME's the gig economy is the means to level the playing field.

Talent and expertise that would not have been within their reach in the past can now come on as advisors on in an interim capacity to ramp up the horsepower or the expertise of a team as needed.

4. A Fresh Lens:

Engaging a freelance executive is also one of the easiest and more efficient way to break up group think and bring a fresh perspective to a project or internal initiative.

Research in The Harvard Business Review has found a direct correlation between diversity and unlocking innovation - which in turn leads to increased market share.

5. The High Talent Cluster:

Finally, companies that haven't yet seriously considered their own gig economy strategy either because they aren't immediately hiring, see themselves as too large to need this kind of support or just aren't quite sure how to integrate senior talent in this way need to make this priority since ultimately, this is where top talent is headed.

The Harvard Business Review describes this shift as the "rise of the super-temp." These individuals, who are top managers and professionals from lawyers to CFO's or consultants - have been trained at top schools and companies and who are increasingly choosing to pursue project based careers independent of any major firm.

Research regularly shows that the millennial generation (who are more numerous than any generation since the soon to retire Baby Boomers) are actively looking to work differently and are increasingly drawn to the type of careers the gig economy offers.

As the gig economy grows, so do the opportunities for organizations of all sizes to increase their impact and profits in a way that is cost effective and creative.

Michael Carter & Caleb Rubin are the co-founders of Kahuso, an online platform they built to help accomplished executives find part-time, interim, advisory and board opportunities.

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