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Economy

How to grow your company in times of gig economy and digital nomadism – TechTalks

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By Lukasz Karwacki

gig economy remote worker
Image credit: Depositphotos

Companies face many challenges in their mission to grow. One of them relates to recruitment, or more precisely, to the cultural changes that impact the needs and preferences of talents.

Let’s make one thing clear:

To grow your company, you need top talent. And you need those people to stay with the company for more than just a few months.

Otherwise, there simply won’t be enough time for them to get in sync with the company goals and culture, move along the learning curve, and start being truly productive.

The trouble is, sourcing skilled employees is harder than ever. And even if you manage to find and hire talents, keeping them on board is really difficult.

Problem: Getting talent on board

Most companies (including mine) deal with one or more of these problems:

1. Recruitment difficulties:

  • A general shortage of talent – the demand for skilled workers is growing, but the number of these workers isn’t growing equally fast. That forces companies to explore outsourcing opportunities (which can be incredibly beneficial, but present another set of challenges).
  • Employees are more demanding than ever – enterprises and well-funded startups compete for the most talented workers. In this environment, highly-skilled workers can be picky, and that makes sourcing them even more difficult.
  • Lack of skill on the market – if you run a tech company, you probably realize that technology is evolving so quickly that no school or university can effectively prepare juniors for the reality of the job market in the tech industry which experiences an increasing pace of innovation.

2. The Gig-economy mindset:

Some employees prioritize independence and flexibility over loyalty and long-term commitment. Some even believe that one should be changing the workplace every few months to get diversified experience. As you can imagine, it’s more difficult to inspire these workers to commit, contribute to common objectives, and add value to the company sustainably over a period of time. But trust me, you can accomplish that with the right approach (more on that below).

3. Digital nomadism

Digital transformation and workforce globalization made remote work a new standard and a popular preference among workers:

  • 76% of workers prefer to do important tasks in places other than the office,
  • 82% of them claim they would be more loyal to their current employer if they offered flexible working arrangements,
  • the trend is particularly strong among Gen Y/Z workers – 69% of millennials will trade other work benefits for flexible workspace options.

Remote work presents companies with another share of challenges: efficient communication and collaboration, building bonds between team members, and building a company culture that lasts.

Here’s what all founders need to acknowledge

You won’t change the market

These new workforce trends will only become stronger with time. So you better spend time thinking about how to adjust to and leverage these trends. Business success comes to those who have an open mind and are willing to adapt their operations to new circumstances.

Human nature doesn’t change from generation to generation

We’re still the same creatures with the same behaviors, needs, and desires. What changes is the world around us. It’s important to remember that temporary hype and speculative bubbles can easily lead us astray; they distort our perceptions of the world, especially when we talk about the needs of Gen Y/Z workers. They essentially have the same needs as other generations, just want to fulfill them in new ways.

The world is increasingly polarized

Even though the barriers of entry in certain sectors seem to be decreasing (one only needs a laptop to work in IT!), the growing sophistication and complexity of the challenges we face as organizations require more effort and higher operational efficiency.

It’s much easier to start a company than it used to be in the past. But it’s much more challenging to grow a business and maintain a substantial competitive advantage.

So we better get used to these challenges and think of new strategies to counter them. Here’s how.

How to grow your company despite these challenges

teamwork

Here are three strategies that helped me to grow my company. During the last two years, Sunscrapers grew from 15 to 32 people.

1. Improve your recruitment tactics:

  • Articulate and showcase your company’s mission, vision, and values. It’s not only money that counts here. Especially for Gen Y/Z workers, the purpose and values they can identify themselves with are particularly important. For example, one of our values is “never stopping learning and self-improving” and we translate that into reality by offering our workers “growth budgets” they can spend on books, courses, or conference participation.
  • Find your employer differentiator; something that makes you different from other employers in your field. It’s like a Unique Selling Proposition, only formulated for your employer brand, not your product or service. It can be company culture, your approach to doing businesses, your unique processes or activities.
  • Adjust your processes, so they become more employee-oriented. Be responsive and deliver on your promises. If you say that you’ll get in touch with candidates within three business days, do that. Show how their future role is embedded within the company mission.
  • Provide value at every recruitment stage. For example, develop a method for speedy application processing. Acknowledge that you’ve received an application and thank the candidate for reaching out. Provide meaningful feedback.
  • Learn how to differentiate between talkers and doers when recruiting for critical roles in your team (which basically means every role). The culture of social media inspires people to look good, causing them to sometimes exaggerate when talking about their skills.

2. Improve your operational efficiency

  • Invest in your onboarding process to help new employees get up to speed quickly and start adding value to your company. Here’s how:
    • Prepare the right materials and the training process,
    • Set very clear goals (most companies find that problematic, we’re just starting to get it now),
    • Prepare a detailed plan and tasks for the first weeks of work,
    • Provide supervisor support.
  • Prepare processes and tools for remote collaboration. “The best are everywhere,” and there’s no reason your company shouldn’t take advantage of talent just because it’s located elsewhere.
  • Manage by values. That doesn’t mean abdicating from management, especially when it comes to supervising junior employees. But here’s another approach to managing a company:

Management by values ​​is based on developing a working process that meets the company’s business needs, as well as the employee needs.

In practice, it means focusing on building self-organizing teams where team members are empowered to make mission-critical decisions. Such teams usually deliver an excellent quality of work, identify with the company’s objectives and express loyalty to the company.

Another management by values technique is articulating company values and referring to them in the daily work (feedback, rewards – we use Bonusly for that), as well as company events and evaluations.

3. Decentralize the structure and decision making

  • Gather and organize all the relevant knowledge within the organization. This is especially important in the onboarding process where the immediate availability of insight is essential for process productivity.
  • Invest more in establishing processes but avoid complexity. Break roles and processes into standalone, manageable, and often-updated chunks and assign the owners to each process, role, or responsibility. Such owners need to be 100 percent aligned with the company’s culture and vision.
  • Always be grow replacements for critical people in the organization, so that events such as emergency incidents, health problems, holidays or simply parting ways doesn’t hurt your operations.
  • Create local leaders and tribes. Instead of a fixed hierarchy, group people around specific competencies or responsibilities. That approach worked well at my company – for example, we group developers not only by technology (like frontend or backend), but also by their role in a team (team lead, architect, DevOps, etc.) or their involvement in in-house processes recruitment, marketing, or sales).

Company growth happens over a long-term basis.

To follow Ray Dalio, it will still take for a team member at least 1.5 year to become aligned and fully productive! Out of the people who decide to leave the company, most will do that during their first year of employment. Fewer of them do that in their second year and even fewer in their third year. So do what you can to keep talents on board for the first three years, and you’ll position your company for success.

Over to you

Have you used other strategies to address these challenges and grow your company with top talent?

Please share them in the comments section; I want to start a conversation about what founders can do to leverage the latest workforce trends to their advantage.

Lukasz KarwackiLukasz is a co-founder and CEO of Sunscrapers. He’s got his background in computer graphics (graduate of Kingston University London) and has started his career as a web designer in a creative agency. He currently manages Sunscrapers, leads the business development team and does client consulting. Throughout the last 10 years, Lukasz managed, supervised and consulted over 100 projects for startups, SMBs and enterprises across different industries and locations.

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Economy

Navigating the gig economy: finding success as a freelancer – Richmond.com

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Gig-economy click farms surge during Covid-19

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Underground businesses that employ real people to facilitate fraudulent services such as fake clicks, CAPTCHA hacking and traffic inflation have seen a surge of interest in the past six months as the world has been plunged into a global recession, according to a report by fraud detection firm ClickCease.

While the dark web has copious fraud on offer, those looking to take advantage of these services need not look beyond the open web. Searching for ‘buy bot traffic for website’ or ‘buy clicks for website’ in major search engines yields tens of thousands of results. Many of these fraud instigators actually pay search engines to feature first in such search terms.

Fraudsters employ techniques of varying sophistication to facilitate this fraud, such as infecting devices with malware, taking over or spoofing IP addresses, and employing bots to generate clicks. But a new report from ClickCease has uncovered a growing economy of fraudulent marketplaces that pay real people to click on ads.

These sites operate in a similar way to gig-economy firms like TaskRabbit, employing a roster of tens of thousand of freelance workers to complete tasks. But instead of cleaning houses or assembling furniture, these workers are asked to click on ads, download apps and complete CAPTCHAs, and can earn US$100 per month to do so.

During Covid-19, such fraud marketplaces have offered a source of income to the millions of people who have been let go or found themselves in trying financial circumstances. According to ClickCease’s report, the majority of workers at such fraudulent sites come from low-income countries including India and Vietnam.

ClickCease co-founder Ilan Missulawin noted: “The underground ad click economy is only increasing in scale due to minimal enforcement and the challenges of Covid-19, as more people are being enlisted to make money without having to leave their homes.”

The 20 most prominent Pay to Click (PTC) sites, including Paidvert ScartletClicks and PTCShare, claim to have paid out more than US$13.2 million to online freelancers working in this gig economy, ClickCease found. With each worker paid 5 cents a click, this equates to 266 million ads clicked, ClickCease reports.

Traffic to these sites has surged in the past six months, ClickCease reports. One of the largest sites, NeoBux, has reached a peak of 9 million visitors per month. ScarletClicks achieved a 41% increase in traffic within six months to 1.3 million visits in September 2020. PTC Share has seen a 13% increase in traffic to 1.2 million visits a month.

Some sites offer the ability to evade detection by buying “safe” clicks. For example, Fivesquid offers $5 packages to deliver certain amounts of “safe” AdSense Clicks, such as real human visitors from the US, groups of clicks where the ‘user’  spends a minimum amount of time on a site, and clicks spaced out across a day.

Despite the fact that these sites violate Google’s terms and conditions, several vendors freely advertise on Google’s paid search terms for keywords such as “organic clicks”. For instance, Serpclix in its ad “discusses a pool of thousands of microworkers to optimize your organic CTRs and boost rankings”.

Clicks is one of the easiest advertising metrics to game. ClickCease has found that at least 15% of clicks on pay-per-click (PPC) ads through contracts with online advertising platforms, most notably Google, are invalid.

Beyond clicks, workers are employed to solve CAPTCHA verification tests, which are used to determine whether a user is a human or a robot.

One CAPTCHA-solving farm, 2Captcha, offers to solve 1,000 CAPTCHAS for $0.77 and claims to have more than 2,000 workers online at any one time. Deathbycaptcha.com offers solving rates at $1.39 per 1,000. 

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Economy

Global Gig Economy Platforms Market 2020 Industry Size, Segments, Share, Key Players and Growth Factor Analysis by 2025 – The Blend

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Global Gig Economy Platforms Market 2020 Industry Outlook – – GiggerA recent market report published by MarketsandResearch.biz with the title Global Gig Economy Platforms Market 2020 by Company, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025 includes a discussion on all major market aspects with an expert opinion on current market status along with historic data. The report contains a comprehensive assessment of the most important market dynamics. The report shows statistical and numerical data in the form of tables, graphs, and charts. It offers thorough research on the historical, as well as current growth parameters of the market, and the growth prospects of the global Gig Economy Platforms market. This market report is a detailed study on the growth, market statistics, growing competition analysis, major key players, market shares, business strategies, top regions, demand, and developments.

The report delivers a comprehensive analysis with projections of impending opportunities for the market players. The market research company uses data and excellent forecasting techniques for providing a thorough analysis of present scenarios of the market which covers numerous market dynamics. It emphasizes crucial parameters such as market scope, growth potential, profitability, as well as a holistic record of growth-promoting triggers encapsulating trends, factors, dynamics, challenges, and threats. The market has been systematically split into prominent segments inclusive of type, application, technology, as well as region-specific diversification of the global Gig Economy Platforms market.

NOTE: Our report highlights the major issues and hazards that companies might come across due to the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19.

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Major players operating in this market include: TaskRabbit, Fiverr, HopSkipDrive, BellHops, Upwork, Guru.com, Favor Delivery, Rover, Freelancer, DoorDash, Turo, Twago Enterprise, Handy

The study is segmented by the following product type: APP-based, Website-based

Major applications/end-users industry is as follows: Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Project Worker, Part-Time, Other

Regions are covered by the market report: North America (United States, Canada and Mexico), Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia and Italy), Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia), South America (Brazil, Argentina, etc.), Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa)

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