How Does an Internal Gig Marketplace Work?

August 6, 2020      By Andrew Taylor

Ultimate Takeaway
  • The gig economy has taken on a new form at work as an internal gig marketplace.
  • An internal gig marketplace offers employees a chance to explore a short term project of interest outside of their usual role.
  • Implementing an internal gig marketplace can boost employee retention and engagement while keeping your workforce ready for new challenges..

The Gig Economy Never Left, It Just Moved

Each year, there is at least one hot topic that pops up into the sphere of HR relevancy. Just a couple of years ago, we were gifted with the “gig economy.” While the term was new to many of us (myself included) this way of working has been around as long as… well, work.

For those new to the phrase, the gig economy is defined as “a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.” Of course, short-term employment is nothing new, but its rise in popularity in recent years is.

All that being said, I won’t bore you with another article about the ins-and-outs of the gig economy. Instead, let’s talk about how the gig economy has been adopted within the workplace as the internal gig marketplace.

What is an Internal Gig Marketplace?

An internal gig economy, or internal gig marketplace, is similar to a job board—with the exception that every “gig” is a short-term project available only to your current employees. Your employees won’t exactly be abandoning their roles to take on this new gig full time. Instead, participating employees commit 10-20% of their time to this new project while still fulfilling the responsibilities of their primary role.

The Business Case for an Internal Gig Marketplace

While there are a number of professionals who work full-time within the gig economy, this world of short-term employment has also been a safe haven for curious minds. Within the gig economy, everyone has a chance to embrace and tap into their other talents that may not be required for their day-to-day role. A career accountant can become a photographer. A teacher can try out voice acting. The gig economy has addressed a need that has exists within all of us—the need to explore and learn.

And that’s why the gig economy has gained some popularity within modern organizations. People are multi-faceted, and generally speaking, many of us don’t like to be boxed into one category.

Imagine if a decorated wrestler couldn’t go on to become a widely popular astrophysicist. Then, we wouldn’t have Neil deGrasse Tyson. If high-flying acrobats aren’t enough to convince you, here are three practical benefits for implementing an internal gig marketplace at your organization.

Talent Retention

The internal gig marketplace provides employees with interests outside of their current roles an opportunity to explore these interests. And from a business perspective, it sure beats losing an amazing employee if their only avenue to exploring these interests is to leave the company.

Employee Engagement

When employees get a peak into a different business function, they also have the opportunity to connect the dots between their day-to-day work and the overall business goal. Employees who can clearly align with an organization’s “why” are more energized and engaged with their work.

Workforce Agility and Adaptability

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to be able to transform quickly in order to thrive in the rapidly changing world around us. Having employees who are multi-disciplined and intimately aware of different business functions will help your teams be prepared for unexpected challenges down the road.


Ready to embrace an internal gig marketplace? With UltiPro® Learning, you can get your employees up to speed on their new gigs with a modern, cloud-based learning solution.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Grant Williams on August 6, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    As a Recruiter, I’ve always thought this would be a brilliant way to retain talent. Lots of internal folks reach out to Recruiters asking how they can gain certain experience and I would always suggest volunteering for extra projects like this but without a program like this those opportunities are hard to come by. I think this would be fantastic. Not sure many companies would really embrace it. They’re more focused on keeping costs down. Most don’t really understand the value or retention.

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