Traditional employers are continuing to discover that they can benefit from the gig economy through the utilization of external platforms to hire contract workers. Sometimes companies are caught off-guard by a sudden uptick in demand or an employee resignation and suffer from the detailed and drawn out process of hiring a long-term employee. Employers are increasingly eliminating staffing lag time by relying upon gig platforms to efficiently hire and onboard workers for short-term needs during peak demand cycles.

Service-oriented companies are discovering that long wait times and poor customer service can be diminished by using gig platforms to meet unforeseen staffing needs. Employers in the service, retail, hospitality, and restaurant industries are demonstrating that the gig economy and contract workers can create value for employers suffering from the inability to meet the demands of their customers and business operations.

Employers from a variety of industries are turning to work-on-demand applications such as Wonolo to support staffing needs during busier seasons. Pizza companies, for example, have the ability to hire short-term delivery drivers during peak hours or during events such as the Super Bowl that stretch staffing demands. Large retailers are also exploring how they can create opportunities for individuals to earn additional money by making home deliveries and are experimenting with programs that allow employees to make deliveries on their way home from work.

Employers are not only able to reduce administrative costs by using gig platforms to hire for short-term demand but also enjoy the flexibility and speed that gig platforms offer for short-term hires. Gig platforms, if used correctly, eliminate challenges that many employers suffer from when trying to hire short-term skilled labor and allow for employers to find the right talent in a fast and efficient manner.

Some employers are also analyzing their internal data to determine if any current employees would be well-suited for short-term project offerings prior to posting gig opportunities externally. As mentioned previously on this blog, by creating an internal website to notify employees of freelance projects, employers can utilize the appeal of the gig economy to maximize their own employees’ talents, promote innovation, and assist their own employees with finding work that they find subjectively appealing and significant.

Likewise, some employers are realizing the benefits of creating alumni networks for former employees who voluntarily resigned and left their position of employment on good terms. An alumni network can serve as an effective gig platform to connect a company with former employees who know their former employer’s business and customers. By viewing a resignation as an opportunity for onboarding into an alumni network, employers can build goodwill and also establish the ability to connect with former employees regarding gig opportunities in the future. An alumni network of former employees creates a great talent pool of potential contractors because former employees already understand the workplace culture, expectations, and requirements for customer service. For example, imagine a retail business that receives numerous resignations at the end of every summer as a result of employees returning to school. The retail business likely experiences a sharp uptick in demand the Friday after Thanksgiving and during winter break of each school year. By maintaining an online alumni network, the retailer can reach out to former employees who might be looking for short-term opportunities to earn money prior to returning to school and can quickly complete the onboarding process.

While the impact and breadth of the gig economy will likely continue to be debated, it is clear that traditional employers from a broad array of industries are recognizing the benefits of gig platforms to assist with short-term hiring needs.