How is the Gig Economy affecting your HR Technology?

Posted by Eduardo Martins, SAP SuccessFactors Consultant (Professionally Certified in Employee Central) at Hula Partners


The Gig Economy is definitely not something new, as companies have been working with contingent workers for a long time. For those not familiar with the terminology, if you search “Gig Economy” in Google you will get this very accurate response: “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.”

However, the demand for contingent workers is growing. Companies have different reasons for this, but some of the most common are:

·       Contingent Workers usually are not considered as Headcount, meaning the cost for this type of worker are typically sourced from other lines of budget that can be approved much easier.

·       Hiring Contingent Workers for certain types of services can eliminate compliance, risk and/or liability issues.

Beyond that, the Global Market is requiring more and more flexibility in the way companies recruit, develop and manage their workforce. Companies are being pushed to hire workers at lower costs for executing tasks and projects that require specific skills. At the same time, workers are being provided the flexibility required to work with different companies with flexible schedules and assignments.

These tasks and projects may vary in nature, from system implementation or specific engineering services to operational services like building, cleaning, and security services. This means a lot of temporary workers from different sources with different contract terms and dates, as well as specific needs from an infrastructure perspective.

Will the Gig Economy mean the end of employment as we know it? Time will tell, but the fact is that it’s growing fast and companies need to be prepared for managing all these workers spread out on several locations, performing different tasks, services and projects. One fundamental piece of managing a contingent workforce is to have a Human Resource Information System for supporting the following requirements:

1.     Must be intuitive and user friendly to provide a self-service portal for Managers, HR and Workers

2.     Capable of providing workflow approvals for common HR transactions (e.g., Addition of Contingent Worker, Contract Termination, and Contract Extension)

3.     Able to capture demographic data for regional and global reporting

4.     Capable of integrating with other systems, for supporting all CW workforce processes (including non-HR related processes)

5.     Ability to manage ancillary items such as onboarding, offboarding, provisioning, etc.

6.     Able to manage temporary assignments (start and end dates)

There are several options on the market, but here at Hula Partners we believe SAP SuccessFactors is the best option available. We recently implemented the Employee Central module, with its Contingent Worker solution, for a very happy Global customer with operation in 20+ countries. I would like to highlight some aspects of the solution and how we manage these requirements within Employee Central or “EC.”


1. Self-Services and Approval

a. Using Role-Based Permissions and Business Rules: We are able to control the visibility and editing permissions for all fields and sections related to the contingent worker record. This enable us to give Managers of Contingent Workers the ability to request new workers, contract extensions or terminations without damaging the user experience or compliance requirements.

b. With EC Event and Workflow derivations: We can accommodate the approval requirements for the common HR transactions related with Contingent Workers (e.g., Hire, Rehire, Contract Extensions, and/or Terminations) including different approval flows depending on who is the initiator/requester, the worker type (Vendor, Independent Contractor, Visitors etc.). With this we can ensure that all required personal are aware and approving when required.

2. Demographic Data and Reporting:

a. Using the EC flexible data model, we are able to account for all required fields for making sure we can track who, where and for how long the contingent workers are working.

b. All Contingent Worker data is available for reporting via On-line Report Designer (ORD), Ad Hoc reporting, and Integration Center.

c. EC provides labels/indicators, so you can easily identify Contingent Workers when viewing the Org Chart and/or performing an employee search.

3. Integrations with other systems:

a. All Contingent Workers data can be exposed using the delivered APIs. This means that we can achieve a lot of integration scenarios. For example:

i. Integration with network access systems (e.g., Microsoft Active Directory) allows us to automatically create, update, and terminate access for these users within the company network and email.

ii. Integration with your ERP makes it possible to leverage Contingent Workers data for supporting other non-HR processes. If your ERP is SAP, there are several pre-delivered integration packages provided for accelerating the implementation.

4. Prepare the foundation for the future:

a. Keeping Contingent Worker data in EC will enable the inclusion of these workers on several other processes, like Training and Development, Succession Planning, Recruiting etc.

b. If a more complex and complete Vendor Management system is required, SAP has the Fieldglass application that is fully integrated with EC Contingent Workers and covers the full Contingent Worker’s lifecycle (Rate Management, Onboarding and Offboarding, and SOW Management).


I hope this post has been informative and gave you some ideas on what to look for when you search for a system solution for your complete workforce. If you have questions or want to follow up with Hula Partners, please contact me at