The Gig Economy

Part I. Work is changing. Fast.

Once upon a time, work looked something like this: Recruiters posted jobs, collected resumes, and determined who might be a good fit, screening out unsuitable candidates before passing along those that rose to the top. Once hired, employees entered into long-term arrangements with their employers, agreeing to be available, usually in the same physical location, to perform what was asked of them. Managers, able to observe an employee’s work over the course of months, evaluated how well each employee met job criteria. Good performance was typically rewarded with promotions and raises. Bad performance was addressed with performance improvement plans, and, eventually, termination.

For the most part, that social contract worked—if not well, at least predictably. But today, the convergence of new expectations, new technologies, and new economic realities is changing the dynamics of work. With an increasingly mobile and diverse workforce that aspires to more autonomous working arrangements and digital platforms that make it easier to connect skills to services, the gig economy is on the rise. And it’s changing how we manage human capital—from sourcing and recruiting to engagement and retention.

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