User Satisfaction Metrics

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Gig Economy Employee Engagement Case Studies

Lyft community hub, Airbnb Meetups, and Etsy survey are three examples of gig economy employers that have adopted initiatives to measure and improve employee engagement.


  • Through The Hub, Lyft created an open and inclusive platform for the measurement and improvement of employees (drivers) engagement. Drivers can share their experiences both positive and negative with their colleagues and the company. Lyft also encourages its drivers to attend special events that are organized to improve employee engagements and make them care about the job.
  • One such special event was a female-only get together for female Lyft drivers in Las Vegas. The event was organized to build a connection between drivers in the city. They share their stories and their dreams.
  • Lyft drivers share their stories, experiences, achievements, and others on The Hub.
  • Furthermore, Lyft recognizes and honor special acts of service such as a Las Vegas driver — Paloma — for saving the life of a passenger during the Las Vegas mass shooting in October and other achievements from drivers.


  • Airbnb created the Airbnb Meetups platform to measure and improve the engagement of its employees (hosts). On the platform, host in a particular city or state creates a meet-up event in order to connect with each other.
  • An example is a meetup for hosts in Miami and Broward areas. They converge at the property of the particular host of the event each month to "chat, network, and exchange ideas."
  • They put aside any form of scheduling or presentation talks and just tour the property of the host. The community portal has 687,042 members were hosts explore new tips and tricks of hosting a guest and share advice with other hosts.
  • Furthermore, they created the One Airbnb which is a company-wide conference or meetup that was developed to create a sense of belonging among their employees.
  • At the conference, they get to discuss the future of the company, the people and their development, and also understand and learn about how to work with each other. They get to experience "what it’s like to belong anywhere, through the eyes of the host and the guest."


  • To measure and ascertain the engagement level of its company, Etsy created a completely anonymous engagement survey which allows its employees to comfortably express their feelings.
  • With about 85% of employees participating in the survey, Etsy was able to know what their "hot spots or problem areas are."
  • The results of the survey are "presented in an all-hands meeting where the themes, participation, and main takeaways are discussed." The result is also accessible to every employee on an online portal which helps to encourage the employees to participate in the survey in the knowledge that they are being heard.
  • Based on the feedback from this survey, Etsy gets a clear "insights about their collective challenges and successes."
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Gig Economy Employee Engagement Insights

This research has identified five best practices that can engage remote workers. These factors that can implement a successful employee engagement program include healthcare benefits, leave and transportation subsidies, rewards for high performance, showing care and value, and perk benefits for the day-to-day activities.

Employee engagement by gig company employers

Healthcare benefits

  • Providing benefits such as healthcare is critical and beneficial to the company in the long run. has created a platform whereby their remote employees can have access to caregivers, and the company contributes to healthcare and incurred expenses.
  • Companies such as Uber provide healthcare insurance through Stride Health, a third-party startup. For Etsy, Stride Health is an insurance broker they avail to their remote employees, who then cover their own expenses.

Leave opportunities and transportation subsidies

  • Leave days per year, paternity, medical and sick leave are options that can be availed to a contract or remote worker.
  • Survey Monkey published a statement stating that they would create an opportunity for remote workers to receive health benefits, improved time-off options, and reduced transportation fees.
  • Uber also plans to ensure that drivers get compensated for going off their way when picking a passenger.
  • Uber offers its drivers in Europe various benefits such as parental, medical, and sick leave, and plans to implement these in the US as well.

Rewards for high performance

  • The rewards awarded by each company differs from the next.
  • Uber Pro categories for driver ratings are gold, platinum, and diamond.
  • Some rewards include cash back on fuel purchase, 24/7 roadside help, and distance and time rates increase.
  • Other benefits are educational opportunities they can also transfer to another family member. They can take these classes online from Arizona State University.

Make your gig workers feel welcome and valued

  • Improving working conditions by addressing their concerns is critical for remote workers.
  • Digital Ocean offers annual meet-ups and in house events for their remote teams.
  • They organize Digital Ocean’s meet-ups to encourage the entire team of remote workers and enhance their relationships. 

Perks for remote workers

  • Perks are short-term benefits for employees. These are easier to implement for full-time employees in a physical location, but need to be availed for remote workers as well.
  • Digital Ocean ensures that random activities that would be limited to physical location are also shared on a social platform.
  • Although they cannot share benefits such as transportation, they cna help cover other costs such as Internet cable connection and transportion needs for office visits. 


To identify the five best practices or insights, our research team performed a thorough analysis of content such as case studies of some top companies in this industry, articles that address this specific topic, and press releases. We have outlined our best practices based on the current demands and the most recent changes made by gig economy employers. As the landscape of the working class is rapidly changing and growing, many more people are opting for remote jobs they can work from anywhere in the world.

As much as there are several advantages to being a remote employee, certain benefits that comprise a full-time worker are in place to ensure that the company can attain a level of consistency. However, many gig workers are calling for support from their employers to look into their plight. Considering that nearly half of Americans are opting for remote jobs, the system cannot rely on the old structure and definition of an employee.

We have also selected these best practices as they have been successfully implemented by leading companies in the gig economy such as Uber, Etsy, Survey Monkey, and Digital Ocean. The success of these companies is heavily reliant on the effective management of their remote employees. For these reasons, the methods they use to sustain their ecosystem can be derived to be best practices.

An article on PayScale addresses the aspect of insurance in the gig economy industry and provides information from CB Insights on the same. Similarly, employers assisting their remote workers by addressing issues with insurance, leave, transportation subsidies, and high performance rewards has been a discussion across several sources such as SHRM (a site that addresses aspects of HR), in an interview with the Uber CEO on Fortune, and articles across sites such as The Verge.. We drew additional information from company website blogs and press releases from Survey Monkey and Digital Ocean.

From Part 01
  • "At Lyft, community is what we are and it’s what we do. It’s what makes us different. To create the best ride for all, we start in our own community by creating an open, inclusive, and diverse organization where all team members are recognized for what they bring."
  • "Whether you're looking to get to know your new folks in your home city or discovering a new destination, meetups are a great way to swap hosting or traveling tips and share experiences with the global community."
  • "You can also connect with other hosts any time through the Community Center."
  • "This group is for all active and potential Airbnb (or other vacation rental) hosts and managers in the Miami and Broward areas to get together in an informal environment to chat, network, and exchange ideas."
  • "Every month, we meet at a different Airbnb Hosts Miami member’s Airbnb property to see how they have set up and managed their Airbnb. It is an informal gathering, no scheduled talks or presentation other than a tour of the property by the host."
  • "A global community of hosts like you. Join the conversation and connect with other hosts who are creating a world where anyone can belong."
  • "One Airbnb is a company-wide conference that has taken place in San Francisco, over the course of a few days. Levy says the company is piloting how they can incorporate employees into its host convention to "really break-down the walls and integrate our community”."
  • "Participation in the Engagement survey has stayed above 85% for Etsy. Christman credits this high participation rate to lots of work from the HR team, as well as having an executive team that fosters a culture of feedback."
From Part 02
  • "While it may seem advantageous for businesses to not spend cash on benefits like health insurance, tax-advantages savings accounts, sick leave or disability insurance for gig workers, this isn’t the best long-term solution."
  • "Providing benefits to gig workers — health insurance, tax-advantaged savings accounts, disability insurance, etc. — is more challenging than providing benefits to full-time workers. If an employer offers benefits such as group health insurance, it could mean the organization has to classify its on-demand workforce as employees, which results in additional tax and wage requirements for a business."
  • "Also, putting together a meaningful benefits package for gig workers is doubly hard because your gig workforce is likely more diverse than your full-time one. For example, if you have one driver who works one hour a week and one driver who works 40 hours a week, how can you reward both in a way that feels consistent and fair? Below, we’ll provide some ideas to get you started."
  • "COMPANIES THAT ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH BENEFITS FOR GIG WORKERS Etsy, the online handicraft retailer, is leading the way when it comes to developing benefits for contingent workers. In 2016, Etsy published a policy proposal that outlined a new form of “social safety net” for gig workers, including Etsy sellers as well as Uber and Lyft drivers."
  • " — a company that helps families find caretakers for children, pets, the elderly etc. — has launched a “peer-to-peer” benefits program that allows families who hire caretakers through the platform to contribute to their healthcare and other expenses."
  • "Uber, Postmates and Wonolo These organizations have decided to leverage third party benefits startups (Stride Health, Zego and Bunker) to help workers find insurance, according to the venture capital research firm CB Insights."
  • "Companies can help fill the gaps. One way is to offer voluntary benefits that are fully paid for by the worker but administered by the employer. E-commerce website Etsy, for example, has partnered with Stride Health to act as a health insurance broker for the people who create the art, jewelry and other items sold on Etsy."
  • "New standard improves benefits for contract employees, and on-site food and janitorial services San Mateo, Calif., April 19, 2018 – SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading People Powered Data platform, announced today a new set of standards to ensure contract workers and employees who work with the company through third-party commercial services receive better health benefits, improved time-off policies, and transportation subsidies."
  • "SurveyMonkey’s new Vendor Standards include: -Health Benefits Employer-sponsored medical, dental, and vision plans Medical plan that meets the Gold level per the Healthcare Reform guidelines (80% of claim costs paid by insurance carrier) Dental and vision benefits at least meeting average national benchmarks Employer sponsors 85% of employee premium and 50% of dependent premium"
  • "-Time Off 80 hours of vacation leave per year 40 hours of paid sick leave per year 7 paid company holidays per year 12 weeks paid parental leave per year 12 weeks of paid medical leave per year -Transportation Monthly subsidy up to $260 for public transit expenses"
  • "Uber Pro divides drivers into four categories: partner, gold, platinum, and diamond. Drivers in the partner category need to maintain a 4.85 rating and a cancellation rate of 4 percent. To gain status, they must earn points on every trip during fixed three-month periods, and the points they earn in one period go toward unlocking status (and more rewards) in the next."
  • "The rewards include cash back on fuel purchases, discounts on vehicle maintenance, and free 24/7 roadside assistance. Drivers that achieve platinum and diamond status qualify for increases of 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively, on time and distance rates. This could translate to significantly higher earnings for some drivers. Drivers can also enjoy rewards such as faster airport pickups and free dent repair."
  • "Platinum and diamond status drivers are also eligible for online classes at Arizona State University completely tuition-free. Drivers can take English-language courses, as well as entrepreneurship classes, as part of the deal with ASU. And if they don’t have time to attend or don’t want to, they can transfer the ASU reward to a family member."
  • "Last year, in the midst of the many scandals and lawsuits that roiled the company, Uber launched its “180 days of change” effort aimed at improving driver conditions. Highlights included a new in-app tipping option for drivers, allowing drivers to message riders, additional layers of feedback for bad ratings, and more money for out-of-the-way pickups."
  • "And then in April 2018, the company rolled out a redesigned drivers app with input from actual drivers. The app was noticeably less cluttered with a better method of tracking overall earnings and workarounds that solve for connectivity issues. But it also allowed quicker access to “quests,” “badges,” and other gamified elements of the driver app that critics dismiss as psychological tricks meant to keep drivers on the road longer. "
  • "An Uber spokesperson pointed to that statement, as well as to Uber’s insurance partnerships for drivers, one of which has a premium in the U.S. of under 4 cents a mile only for miles driven, and another form of which is included for UK drivers at no cost."
  • "In the European Union, which has a substantially different legal regime covering employment, Uber now makes its limited benefits available to drivers who have completed 150 trips over the previous eight weeks. That group is estimated to be about 150,000 people, and applies in 21 European countries. Benefits beyond parental leave include medical payments and disability coverage outside of what the country’s health system offers."
  • "Uber said on its blog that so-called Partner Protection will be made available for more than 150,000 drivers and couriers at no cost and will be provided in 21 European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain."
  • "And “off-trip coverage” will include a single payment of 1,000 euros to men and women for the birth of a new child. For severe accidents while working, drivers will receive up to 50,000 euros if they are left permanently unable to work. Other benefits include the payment of medical costs incurred outside of the free healthcare and the single payment of up to 1,000 euros for a 24-hour hospitalization."
  • "Drivers who are temporarily unable to work will be compensated for up to 30 days if the accident occurs during their work. The compensation will vary by country and be based on 80 percent of the driver’s median gross daily earnings."
  • "Perks for Remotees While some companies see working from home as a perk in and of itself, we recreate many of the in-office perks and make them available to remotees. This is key to building a cohesive company culture and experience, and one where remotees feel engaged with the company at large."
  • "Our remotes are able to participate in our workstation program, where they get access to different monitors, mouse/keyboards, and trackpads for their home offices, as well as credit up to $100 for headphones of their choice. "
  • "The equivalent of our commuter benefit for in-house employees is providing remotes a credit toward the cost of either their monthly internet bill or their monthly coworking space membership. Additionally, remotes can opt into a monthly subscription snack box (because snacks are awesome!). "
  • "Finally, DO covers travel and per diem costs, and provides accommodation at our corporate apartments for remotee visits to HQ."