Career milestones are different now

Worker appreciation is huge in today's workplace

The celebration of milestones is changing along with many other workplace practices in the wake of the gig economy.

Today, companies are dealing with different business models that include managing in-house employees, whether full or part-time, as well as a host of contingent workers such as fractional executives, contract consultants, and various remote staff.

When you have such disparate segments of the workforce combining their efforts to help a company succeed, it’s even more important to ensure that everyone’s contributions are recognized.

In fact, according to an O.C. Tanner recognition industry paper, approximately 80% will walk away from companies out as a result of underappreciation. We believe the same can be said for any workers, including fractional talent.

This signals the rise of a much-needed management mindset shift in order to retain workers, regardless of how they’re associated with the company. As the O.C. Tanner paper goes on to say, employees want to be recognized on a weekly basis. This flies in the face of traditional benchmarking against quarterly reviews and years of service recognition, but will be much more effective in the long run.

Here are our 3 top strategies for praising workers in the gig economy:

1. Ensure the framework for recognizing people is based on individuality. If you’re really tuned into those who work for you, you’ll understand that not every type of reward will motivate everyone. Freelance executives and other contingent workers are really no different from your staff. While they may be working on a finite contract, even one that is carried out as a mobile, digital project, you hired them based on their experience and value, and recognizing them throughout their time with you bodes well for future working relationships. Translation: you still want them to feel part of your company and motivated to help you achieve your business goals.

2. Develop a recognition system for better outcomes. Make sure that no matter how many people work for you, that you have a standardized method and timing to carry out praising your workers. Make a list of what is typically recognized and rewarded and share that with everyone. But beyond that, simply take the time, at random, to check in with everyone on how they’re doing. In other words, while there are formal ways to recognize people, add some flexibility to how and when you touch base so people know you are genuinely interested in how they’re feeling about what they do. It’s even more critical to do this with remote and contract workers so they aren’t left feeling as outsiders.

3. Don’t forget to celebrate together. While you may have staff and contractors working from different locations, it’s easy these days to bring everyone together for a big high-five celebratory meeting or just to simply say thanks for all you do. Today’s digital technologies can help you hold a meaningful huddle, whether on a video platform like Skype or Zoom or by teleconference call.

At the end of the day, people who work for you simply want to be valued and appreciated. Organizations that step up and really dig deep to provide regular constructive praise and feedback will go a long way to ensuring they retain an engaged workforce of highly-skilled, talented people.

Is your organization being creative about handling the new face of career milestones in the gig economy?


O.C. Tanner paper

Michael Carter

Co-Founder and President of Kahuso Inc. A serial technology entrepreneur, Michael co-founded Kahuso in 2015, with a mission to change the way the world works.

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