HR Tech Is Booming, Thanks to the Gig Economy

There are so many tools available today to help you streamline your life. Productivity apps, remote working platforms, smartphone-based banking – all have helped people stay on top of things in this fast-paced world.

In the workforce, people are working harder and faster to reach their goals – especially in the gig economy. Gig workers see their employment status – working gig to gig on their own schedule – as an opportunity to push themselves to achieve more. It seems that every day, a new tool, technology, or technique appears to help gig workers do even more.

But let's rewind: What exactly is a "gig worker"?

The term applies to a variety of people making money off of short-term assignments and projects. Some gig workers subsist entirely on income earned from repeated small tasks – like many Lyft drivers. Other gig workers pick up projects here and there to supplement their income. Still others slot into the space between full-time and part-time employee – like contractors and freelancers.

Whatever a gig worker may be, it's clear that companies looking to utilize these workers need to take dramatically different steps than they would when hiring a traditional full- or part-time employee. While many new technologies are arising to help gig workers, many are also cropping up to help the HR pros who work with them.

HR in the New Gig Economy

As more people choose to join the gig economy, recruiters and HR pros need to learn how to quickly bring these workers on board and rotate them in and out of positions. Additionally, HR teams have to find ways to thoroughly integrate these gig workers into large-scale companies.

While hiring times for gig roles will need to be short, the workers themselves will also need to quickly come up to speed, adapting to the company culture, understanding the brand, and connecting with teammates all on a shortened timeline. It's up to HR to balance making quick hires with making the right hires.

In response to these pressures, things have already started to change in the industry. HR tech is booming, with cloud-based systems like Oracle, Taleo, SAP, and more growing at incredibly fast rates. Meanwhile, tools like Thumbtack and Upwork are innovating new ways to connect with gig talent quickly.

The change in HR's pace is largely enabled and driven by vast improvements in mobile technology in recent years. In an increasingly mobile and smartphone-reliant world, people are used to quick changes and immediate results. New mobile tools enable gig workers to take charge of their careers from any location at any time, and similar tools are here to help the HR industry transition to a mobile-first mentality.

The Next Big Things in HR Tech

While new technologies are modernizing the HR world, the industry as a whole has been slow to incorporate these new tools to date. As the gig economy grows in size and importance, though, HR will have no choice but to move forward – and quickly.

Some changes to expect in HR tech over the next few years:

Even greater emphasis on automation: If speed is key in the gig economy, the first thing HR needs to do is automate as much as possible. Automated processes decrease friction and human error, getting you from point A to point B that much faster.

Bigger focus on data and reporting: Big data is already king, and it's only going to become more central to hiring success in the future. Everyone wants to know what their business is doing right and where they can improve, and HR pros are no different. To gain greater visibility into their successes and challenges when hiring, employers and search firms will have to leverage the data and reporting capabilities offered by platforms like Scout Exchange.

New learning tools for onboarding gig workers: Hiring isn't the only aspect of human resources and recruiting that will change. Onboarding and training processes will have to make room for gig workers, too. More learning tools like Workday Learning and SAP Jam will come to market to help gig workers get up to speed as quickly as possible.

The growth of the gig economy necessitates changes for many departments in many industries. For the HR world, more gig work means quicker hires and quicker onboarding, which can only be accomplished through modern mobile technology.

Ed Mallen is chief revenue officer at Scout Exchange.