I decided to try the gig economy after leaving a corporate job. I wanted to find work/life balance and flexibility, so I began working for different staffing agencies. I moved my way up from worker to supervisor quickly — and started to notice where staffing agencies could do better.
Now I’m back in the corporate world in a position that enables me to apply what I’ve learned to improve workers’ experiences. Here are some issues I experienced as a worker contracted through a staffing agency and possible solutions.
Lack of communication. In my experience, many of the agencies would share very few details and, if they did communicate more, it was in a very dry, robotic and impersonal way. Without pertinent details about the upcoming job and what to expect, workers often showed up unprepared. A lack of communication affects how well workers perform and ultimately reflects poorly on the staffing agencies themselves.
Lack of support. Some staffing agencies lack the resources needed to address worker issues or respond to feedback. Throughout my time working as a gig worker, it was difficult to reach the appropriate contacts to address issues that arose, especially when I was on-site at a shift outside of the standard 9-to-5 office hours. This inability to support workers puts both the worker and the staffing agency at a disadvantage.
Lack of trust. Recruiting is a two-way street. Too often recruiters are solely focused on finding a “body” to fill a roster list but do not take the time to build a trustworthy relationship with the candidate. Workers want to feel like more than just a name on a roster list; they want to feel valued and appreciated.
Making connections. Adding a human touch to your recruiting processes can help mitigate the feeling that a worker is just another body to fill a job. In fact, a recent survey done by Randstad US cites that 82% of respondents think personal, human interaction should come first in the recruiting process.
My role today involves a lot of interaction with our workers and I make a conscious effort to not only speak with them but to connect with them. It’s important for me to regularly communicate and even meet with them in person, if I can, because that is something that I would have loved to experience when I was in their shoes. By investing a little time into getting to know some of our workforce, I’ve not only made personal connections with them but also gained helpful feedback on how we can improve in the future.
Going the extra mile. Whether it’s supporting workers prior, during, or after an assignment, going the extra mile can really make an impression. Take it from someone who implements this effort into their full-time role today. My job allows me to be on-site at times to train, support, and manage our workers’ efforts. And if I’m not able to be on-site, our worker support team is available outside of the typical 9-to-5 office hours to assist with any issues that arise. Some apps — including Shiftgig — allow users to submit a help ticket any time directly from the app. This effort shows workers that the company is here to listen, communicate important information, and support them when needed.
Leading by example. I truly believe leading by example helps encourage others to follow suit. When I am able to be on-site during a shift, I’m always willing to jump in and help the workers get the job done. My willingness to be hands-on has inspired my staff to facilitate a greater team effort and work harder on the task at hand.
Ultimately, what candidates want is an improved recruiting process that is high-tech but provides the human touch. Do your best to offer it.