Screening the backgrounds of gig workers would enhance dependability
By Vivek Khanna
Monday blues is something everyone fears but still experiences it. How would you feel if you don’t have to experience it anymore? Imagine waking up without having to calculate the time you have, to get dressed and reach office. Or, imagine not having to face the horrifying traffic every morning. How would you feel to not be a part of a standard “9-5” job and still enjoy the perks of it? How incredible it would be to get into your most comfortable pyjamas and get to work peacefully in your favourite couch at the corner of your living room. Hard to imagine because it’s too good to be true. Right?
The advent and the rapid growth of digitisation has blended one’s fantasy of a dream job and a dream life with reality. This continuous inventive nature of technology is blurring out the geographical boundaries and improving communication and IT technologies, giving rise to the ‘Gig Economy’. Gig economy refers to an unconventional and nascent workforce environment where people are hired on a temporary or on a project basis, such as independent contracting. It is also known as ‘freelancer economy’ or ‘independent economy’.
The concept and method of work has gradually changed over the years. Currently, freelancing is the hottest trend in India; and the millennials, their attitudes and mind-set play a pivotal role in this. They are more fluid to the emerging concepts of flexibility and convenience while working. This is primarily because they emphasise more on maintaining and enjoying a work-life balance, instead of worrying about financial security, stability or savings.
Millennials today understand that one of the best ways to maintain the work-life balance, is to work as an independent contributor and be part of the gig workforce. Platforms enabling centralised communication, real time scheduling and tracking, dashboard and video conferencing, have led to the establishment of a market place suitable for the extension of the gig economy. The reigning era of start-ups is also playing a crucial role in the development of this economy, providing ample opportunities for employment.
With the availability of the latest technology and the altering nature of consumer needs as well as the attitude of the millennium, it is extremely important for the companies to adjust and adapt themselves for their growth and profit. Gig economy helps companies in various ways like staff reduction, cost to maintain the employees, saving resources like provident funds, paid leaves and office space, among others. It also leads to a healthy competition, improved quality of work, availability of the best minds for a particular project, and much wider reach without geographical constraints.
However, all that glitters is not gold. Though gig economy is the ‘in-thing’ nowadays, things can go wrong if the companies fail to hire the right individual for the job. Companies can struggle to retain their culture, spirit, beliefs, and values if they don’t align with the hired freelancer. Trust is another common issue that arises due to lack of inter personal communication, as the relationship shared between the independent contractor and the company is mainly virtual. Apart from this, organizations face the issue of discrepant documents and resumes from potential hires, and this trend has seen a peak with the gig economy.
These issues can however, be eradicated with the help of a dependable background service provider, who sufficiently invest in advanced and emerging technological solutions to carry out a thorough check of the candidate saving time and effort. One such technology that can be used by top quality background service providers is blockchain. Though in the evolving stages, blockchain has a tremendous potential to ease the time- and labour- intensive tasks of sourcing, vetting, selecting, and onboarding the right candidate by proving the following benefits:
- Blockchain has the potential to assist in building contractual trust in a digital environment between both the parties- freelancer and the company. This can lead to the establishment of a smart contract, where payment will be automatically processed at different stages of completion of the task by the freelancer.
- Blockchain uses technology that can help in fast hiring with a centralised verification system. Thus, it will allow employers to quickly establish an employee’s identity and eligibility for work.
- Blockchain can also help in a comprehensive digital work trail. Sometimes, a freelancer may take a gap from work for various reasons. A digital work trail will find out if the freelancer tries to hide the gap in his employment records.
- Distributor Ledger Technology (DLT), a type of blockchain can be used for verification purposes, not only for identity but also for career information like educational qualifications, employment history and references.
- A freelancing candidate through ‘CV wallet’ can allow his/her potential employer an easy access to verified job performance and proof of work records. This can be done with the help of blockchain technology.
A reliable background screening provider can offer services tailored as per the requirements of different companies. Any company planning to hire gig workers, should also aim to invest in such screening services to ensure they hire the best and most genuine talent.
It is the workers, be it full time employees or freelancers, who form the backbone of the company. And, having the perfect combination of such a workforce will help the company to become an industry leader in the future. Thus, screening forms the foundation or the base that decides whether the freelancers turn out to be an asset or a liability for the company.
(The author is the Managing Director, First Advantage, India Region)
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