First off, what exactly is a “gig” employee? From what I gather from the intrawebs, it’s the new trendy, hipster way of saying contingent employee. I must have missed that memo.
Gig employees have been around for quite a long time. However, since the “Great Recession”, the number of gig employees has exploded. According to Adam Almaida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com, “Ultimately gig employees are no different than full-time, permanent employees and they should be treated the same especially during the pre-employment background screening process.”
Contingent or “gig” workers are one of the fasted growing classes of employees in the United States. This is a trend that will likely continue into the foreseeable future. The most well-known companies that utilize the “gig economy” are Uber, Lyft, Handy, Task Rabbit, and Deliveroo. If you don’t know who several of those companies are, you are not alone. I didn’t either. Google it.
Gig workers have completely changed the workplace, and the manner in which they have generally been screened in the past needs to change as well. According to Almeida, “It used to be that gig workers were not as rigorously screened as permanent workers due to the perception that gig workers being temporary in nature did not need the same level of scrutiny. That has changed. Now that gig workers are gaining stature it is time to screen them with the same vigorous standards as any other employee.”
According to a recent SHRM report discussing “gig” workers, it states, “Along with the growth of this industry we have witnessed a significant shift…with many [employers] initially avoiding or limiting the screening component based on the premise that the workers are not employees. Over the past couple of years, that philosophy has changed, with a realization that whether the individual is an employee, independent contractor, or otherwise, the worker represents the employer’s brand, and screening-particularly when access to people or sensitive material is involved-is a critical risk mitigation tool, regardless of the worker’s classification.”
Adam Almeida goes on to say,”The benefits far outweigh the cost of pre-employment background checks. Protecting the public, existing employees, and property are key elements of background screening. It is critical that companies get in front of the trend of gig employees, a trend which will only get bigger, and understand the laws governing background screening. And that best practice is to work with a well-qualified third-party background screening agency.”
Here at VICTIG Screening Solutions, we have the solutions to help you respond to the growing number of gig employees.