The 5 Steps for Agility Fitness in the Gig Economy


The volume, velocity and intensity of “noise” encountered in the Gig Economy requires the Human Resources function demonstrate agility in its policies, processes and practices to enable the organization to transform to be more Gig Economy capable. The secret to becoming more agile as an HR Team is to demonstrate that you can be focused, fast and flexible, even in the turbulent circumstances.  

The AGILE Model® offers the framework that will help you attain and sustain your HR agility fitness target as well as serve as an Agility Fitness Coach for others in the organization (Horney, Eckenrod, McKinney & Prescott, 2014).  But it takes work to achieve this agility, just like it takes work to achieve your personal physical fitness goal. 

5 Steps for Agility Fitness

Step 1.  Anticipate change resulting from the Gig Economy by conducting an HR Agility Process Audit – Implications for HR processes (e.g., job analysis, recruiting, onboarding, performance management, talent assessment, etc.).  Example – Modify Job Analysis Process to Work Analysis -- HR will need to shift its reliance on job analysis to implement work analysis focused on the tasks involved in accomplishing the work, regardless of whether the worker is a full-time employee or a contingent worker.  HR should consult with its internal client functions to determine what work is best accomplished by full-time employees (e.g., work tasks involving sensitive intellectual property) and that work which can be accomplished by contingent workers).

Illustration of Work Analysis -- Process mapping is used to identify the tasks and flow of work which should be accomplished by full-time employees and which ones could be done by contingent workers.

The matrix illustrated here, represents the types of questions used to identify the degree to which the Talent Planning process represents the entire Talent Portfolio or is solely focused on internal employee talent.  It establishes a baseline of the changes needed to implement a comprehensive Talent Portfolio Planning process.

HR Process Audit -- Talent Portfolio Planning .jpg

Step 2.  Generate confidence in the changes necessary to thrive in the Gig Economy – Equip managers with the training and coaching to better understand how to more effectively lead in a Gig Economy where functional and project teams include contingent workers, consultants and full-time employees.  An important element of the management training would include the updated process for conducting the talent review for high potentials as noted in the graphic below.

Step 3.  Initiate action to change the policies, processes, and philosophies of HR which relied on the assumption that organizational talent only consisted of internal full-time employees. Work analysis would include process mapping to identify the current and future tasks in each HR process.  The illustration above provides the detailed tasks for the current recruiting process and the improved process focused on the entire talent portfolio.  As this is a process that is continual and on-going, the ability to alter processes and structures quickly is vital. This element is fundamentally about process improvement in HR processes to better equip HR for the Gig Economy.

Step 4.  Liberate thinking by creating the environment for the HR Team to think creatively about the how to redesign HR processes, policies and philosophies supportive of the Gig Economy.  The graphic below illustrate a Talent Review Process Example by applying scenario planning to the Talent Review process where contingent workers would also be reviewed for performance and potential so that the organization’s entire talent portfolio can be identified and developed.  Talent Portfolio mix of full-time and contingent workers.   Combinations of talent are likely to vary depending upon the strategic planning business scenario.

Step 5.  Evaluate results – What impact has the transformation to support the Gig Economy impacted key performance indicators of Human Resources?  Key performance indicators as represented in the graphic below are illustrations of results which can be tracked and monitored to determine if the HR Agility initiatives are having the desired impact on the organization.  


The growth of the Gig Economy has implications for the labor market and more importantly, CHROs.  Agility may be a key draw for many workers to the Gig Economy, lifting labor force participation and topping up incomes, but it is also likely to present challenges for workers who seek the benefits and income stability of traditional work arrangements.  As technology platforms that support contingent workers become more ubiquitous, additional data will be needed to measure the extent and impact of the Gig Economy.  In the meantime, CHROs have the opportunity to take the lead in developing HR Agility within their teams and HR processes to more effectively compete in the Gig Economy with a company that is change ready.

About Nick Horney
Nick Horney, Ph.D. is The Agility Doc. He first discovered the value of agility during his 23 years of service as a special operations naval officer responsible for diving and explosive ordnance disposal teams. In these rapidly unfolding and changing circumstances--and now, as an organizational psychologist--Nick discovered that the key ingredient separating good leaders from best leaders is agility. After serving in a senior role at the Center for Creative Leadership, he founded Agility Consulting and Training in 2001. Learn more about Nick at