The nature of work is shifting. More workers are moving into freelance and other non-employed roles. At the current rate, 50.9% of the U.S. population will be freelancing in as little as a decade. With the rise of technology, workers now can be productive and communicate from anywhere in the world, and many companies are starting to find these flexible workers invaluable. Enabled by technology, many workers are choosing to go into freelance or just spend less time at the same company. In fact, among millennial workers, 43% plan to leave their current job within 2 years.
In addition, this shift toward a more flexible lifestyle has been encouraged by technologies developed to enable it. Celerative and other new platforms have made it easy for freelancers and companies to find each other. Businesses need to move fast, and these platforms allow them to quickly snap up talent to take on projects and fill in gaps as necessary. All of these changes have lead to the rise of the talent economy, where businesses can hire from a global workforce and find the expertise and deep skills they need, on demand.
What Does This Mean for My Organization?
Running a company in the age of such drastic shifts in the workforce might seem stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, flexible non-employed workers cooperating with full-time talent can provide a huge variety of benefits to an organization and help them thrive.
Find Talent Faster
The need for skilled workers is no secret, and many organizations have trouble finding the talent they need quickly and efficiently. But embracing a blended workforce, one with freelancers and full-time employees propelling the business forward, can help fill in the gaps in skills without being limited to the pool of 9-5 workers in your immediate area. In fact, more companies are turning to freelancers to fill out their talent pool. By expanding your talent search to freelancers, you have access to a number of global workers who may not be available for full-time employment that can still help your organization grow and thrive, regardless of if you’re a startup or have hundreds of employees already. You have the same access to expertise as everyone else, creating a more level playing field for organizations with fewer resources to spare.
Speed up your Progress
Hiring freelancers also means you can hire for a specific project rather than a specific role. If you know you have temporary work coming up that full-time employees don’t have the expertise or bandwidth to complete, freelancers can quickly jump into those roles and get the work done. And because freelancers often rely on repeat business and referrals, it’s in their best interest to deliver high-quality work, even if they’re not a traditional hire.
This new blended workforce model can also dramatically shift how fast work gets done. Hiring a full-time employee can be a painfully slow process, but platforms like Celerative that match freelancers to businesses make this process lightning fast — allowing for your organization to get projects done faster than ever.
Free Up Resources
A blended workforce can reduce costs. Every new employee you have in the office needs equipment and space, not to mention the time and cost of processing new hire paperwork and onboarding. Freelancers can jump into projects quickly in almost no time, and the reduction in staff in-office means less space and resources are needed. The talent economy means you can hire expert talent quickly and with a lower cost than a full-time employee.
Creating a Blended Workforce
Creating a company that uses full-time employees, freelancers, contractors, and consultants can mean an overhaul in how you organize your teams. You have to rethink how you find talent, how to integrate freelancers with full-time employees, and how to measure progress. A number of tools exist to help with this transition, but you also have to think about how these changes will work on a day-to-day basis and what shifts in your mindset you may need to make in order to successfully work with a blended workforce.
Operating with a blended workforce in the talent economy means that leaders need to be able to identify what project milestones are truly important and what skills they need to reach them. They need to be able to measure progress and properly motivate both their full-time employees and contingent talent and set clear goals for everyone involved in a project. This all might seem daunting, but new technological innovation can help. For example, Celerative helps you assemble the right set of skills for your project and allows you to track progress toward milestones and project completion, as well as provide insight into ways to better optimize your plans and goals.
Utilizing data can also help get key stakeholders on board as well as help you integrate HR with contingent procurement strategies. Having clearly outlined goals and a roadmap with strategic milestones can help you figure out where it makes sense to hire someone full-time versus a freelancer, contractor, or consultant.
Focus on Culture
Using a blended workforce also means learning to manage workers from all across the globe and integrate them into a unified team culture. While technology can enable effective communication across borders and time zones, it’s important to think about the challenges of having a distributed team and how you can minimize those issues as you start to hire new talent. You’ll need to think about communication and motivators for a remote team. Remote communication can be in the form of weekly video team meetings or friendly chat messages. You can use project data and milestones as motivators for the team to meet goals. But remember, part of why more workers switch to contingent work is the drive for autonomy and flexibility. It’s important to strike a balance and maintain these benefits for freelancers while helping them feel welcome and like productive members of the team.
Learn the Laws
Finally, there are practical and legal considerations to take into account when hiring contingent talent. It’s important to understand the laws around hiring freelancers and how they differ from full-time talent. You should also be aware of how taxes work when it comes to hiring freelancers. For example, you may need to file a 1099-MISC for your contingent talent depending on how much you ended up paying them. Learning the laws and regulations around contingent talent is incredibly important for ensuring you do everything legally and maintain fairness for all parties involved.
Many companies are just beginning to reap the benefits of the talent economy and understanding what contingent talent can bring to their organization. Hiring freelancers, contractors, and consultants can help your company quickly fill roles that require expert knowledge or specific skills. Utilizing platforms such as Celerative can make the transition to a blended workforce easier by helping you find skilled talent and keep you updated on the progress for project goals and milestones. Finally, organizing your HR and contingent talent strategy and fostering a global, remote culture can help make the shift successful and motivate your full-time employees and contingent talent.