Recruiting Hourly Workers in a Gig Economy

July 24, 2018 By Julie Kramer - Leave a comment

shutterstock_302035829These days, employers are hustling to adapt their recruiting and HR practices to fit the exploding gig economy. After all, the gig-oriented workforce—i.e., temporary workers, staffing employees, contingent workers, contract employees—has grown by 50% in the last decade, according to one Harvard University study. But, in many respects, companies that manage a churning hourly workforce are already well-acquainted with the gig worker mindset and its accompanying challenges and opportunities.

By definition, most gig economy workers seek flexibility and freedom over stability and permanence. Similarly, a portion of hourly workers in blue, gray and pink collar industries may be characterized as chronic job jumpers. Now wonder industries like building services, hospitality and construction typically see at least half their workforce turn over each year.

So, what’s the smartest way to recruit workers with a gig economy mindset? How do you efficiently hire and manage a fast-moving workforce—not to mention retain your best performers? Whether you’re managing a high-churn hourly workforce or one composed by intent of contingent employees, these recruiting strategies may serve you well.  

Streamline Your Online Application Process

Do you know how long it takes for a candidate to complete your online job application? The faster and simpler your job application process, the more attractive it will be to hourly and contingent workers. Speed and simplicity matters.  

Furthermore, is it mobile friendly? A growing number of job seekers are using mobile devices to find work. According to, 86% of candidates begin their job search by smartphone—and more than 60% of job seekers will abandon an online application if it’s too long or complex in their eyes.

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Use State-of-the-Art Recruiting Software

It goes without saying: if you’re screening a high volume of job applicants, you need HR technology that makes it easy to source, screen and catalog candidates. If your recruiting and applicant tracking software doesn’t automate the deployment of want ads to multiple job boards…make it easy to review and tag resumes…and seamlessly convert applicant data into a new hire record, how can you keep up with the gig economy?  

Burnish Your Brand as an Employer

These days, HR pros need to be able to think like marketers. What is it about your company that will appeal to hourly workers with a gig economy mindset? Flexible schedules? An informal corporate culture? Whatever it may be, polish your website career page accordingly—and check out your competitors’, too. If you haven’t updated your want ads and job descriptions lately, now is the time. In short, make sure the word is out that you’re a great employer to work for.

Simplify Your Onboarding and Training Process

It’s in your interest to get your new hires up and running as quickly as possible—especially if there is a good chance they won’t stick around, so make sure your onboarding and training process is seamless and streamlined.

Keep in mind, HR software that automates the onboarding process is ideal for employers navigating the fast-moving gig economy. Automated onboarding reduces paperwork, as well as the need for duplicate data entry. It’s a smart way to optimize a new hire’s experience in those first crucial weeks of employment.

When the Gig Economy Works Against You

Unless you’re hiring true contract employees expressly on your terms, turnover remains a huge expense for employers with an hourly workforce. According to one survey, service industry employers spend just short of $5,000 for every employee they must replace.  

For this reason, proactive employers are monitoring turnover rates and working to reduce them, using HR software analytics to track turnover by worksite, shift, manager, etc., so they can identify patterns and the reasons behind them.

Of course, there are many ways employers can work to retain hourly employees beyond offering fatter paychecks. Research shows, for example, that employees crave recognition and are motivated by strength-based feedback. Simply training field managers to provide more positive performance guidance can make a difference to whether someone stays or goes. So can improving employee engagement, offering meaningful training opportunities and providing hourly workers with a path for career advancement. The possibilities are endless for creative employers.

The Right HR Software Makes a Difference

Whether your business model relies on a steady hourly workforce or on-demand gig economy workers, you need HR software that speeds and simplifies the entire HR process—like EPAY’s HCM system. Our integrated software makes it easier to manage an hourly workforce every step of the way, starting with recruiting. Take two minutes to see how it works and what we can do for you.  

Filed Under: Human Capital Management, Workforce Management