For HR, there are few jobs more tortured and time-consuming than finding and securing the best new employees — but what if HR didn't have to work so hard to get the job done? Today, there are a wide variety of sourcing platforms and online portals that quickly assign tasks to a crowd of remote "gig workers," usually offering small payouts for small, simple parcels of work.

As many as four in 10 workers could be "gig" workers by 2020, according to CNNMoney, which means many organizations have no choice but to wonder whether they could, or should, recruit gig workers themselves. As more and more Fortune 500 companies turn to sourcing platforms as a major source of labor, that practice is only going to get more common, as noted by TLNT.

Why Is Gig Work Seeing Such an Upswing?

The platforms are as numerous as they are popular, including Amazon's Mechanical Turk, along with Upwork, Behance and Fiverr. There are a diversity of options, and not every platform is perfectly suited to every task. For some organizations, like Uber, the solution was to build their own labor sourcing platform. To pick the right one, you have to understand something about why they've become so popular in the first place.

On the surface, it may seem odd that as recruiting continues a long-term pivot toward a more tailored, employee-first mentality in recruiting for crucially important positions, there is simultaneously a major shift toward the use of freelance workers. But as businesses build an understanding of how each employee's unique personal skillset can help a business on some tasks, they are also realizing that employees differentiate themselves far less on others.

The great insight of the gig economy is that while some skillsets now require new levels of attention in hiring, changes in technology, demographics and management strategy have rendered certain, less skilled workers more interchangeable than ever.

Your Organization Can Almost Certainly Use Platform Sourcing

With its incredible size, the modern gig workforce can't be dismissed by any business. Small businesses often face large volumes of simple, time-consuming brunt work that taxes their small workforces, while organizations with large workforces find that those large employee rolls themselves create time-consuming chores. Platform sourcing was specifically invented to address this problem: how do you do work without creating work?

Of course, not all industries have an equal need of this kind of work. Organizations that find themselves hiring people for single tasks, especially those that don't require access to sensitive information, are perfectly suited — whether it's simple programming or vocal transcription, file sorting or copy editing, every business has at least a few niggling tasks that could be farmed out to gig workers. The University of Oxford recommends that every business take the time to look through their internal processes for tasks that might be suited to platform sourcing. Don't ignore the advice.

Use Platforms as a Means to Recruit Gig Workers

Think of sourcing work through a remote platform like speed dating; by reducing the stakes inherent in any one interview, you get to view a much larger array of candidates than you might not otherwise have had access to. The goal is to incorporate gains from platform sourcing into the overall recruitment strategy — to account for the fact that in the modern gig economy, businesses will often come into incidental contact will workers who are better suited to an open position than any candidate who actually applied for it.

That's what makes the gig economy so useful to recruiters — it offers a low-cost option for testing out workers in the field. There's no need to trust references or lists of work experience, as the actual output can be the determining factor in recruiting. And since those people you recruit through a work platform were productive during their "interview," the process of hiring them was much more efficient than normal. As Fortune notes, "Corporations are also looking for more flexible and low-cost ways to hire, which freelancing platforms make possible."

So embrace the gig economy — it's not just your best means of access to the workforce of the future, but a great opportunity to recruit gig workers. They're a quickly growing constituency, and one no business can afford to ignore.

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Tags: Innovation Recruiting