It’s no secret that the nature of the workforce is changing. Before internet access was so widespread, the only option for office workers was to show up at their desk every day from 9-5 so that they could, hopefully, have a productive workday. But now, that’s all changed. More and more people have internet access wherever they go, and a computer with WiFi is all they need to get their work done. Many workers now split time between the office and working from home. Some workers have no office at all, instead taking on freelance or contract work from wherever they are in the world. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Freelancers Union and freelance platform Upwork found that by 2027 the majority of U.S. workers will be freelancers.
It stands to reason that more managers and leaders will have to learn to work with both full-time employees and freelancers. A total talent management system will come into play for many modern workplaces as more and more workers move to freelance and contracting.
Total talent management means integrating all possible types of workers in your organization — this includes full-time employees, freelancers, contractors, consultants, and even AI. It means organizing a blended workforce and utilizing all of the benefits that it can bring to your organization.
How Does This Help My Organization?
Managing many different types of employees sounds complicated, and it is something that will take time and effort to implement. But the immense benefits are well worth it.
Maximize Productivity and Fill in the Gaps
Instead of having to rely solely on full-time hires, a blended workforce allows you to hire talent as the workload demands. Instead of taking your full-time talent off of their daily tasks to work on a new project, you can hire non-traditional employees to help balance the workload. Your full-time employees then have to deal with fewer context switches and can focus on their most important tasks. Being able to hire on-demand means you can optimize your workforce for the projects at hand and ensure you have no shortage or surplus of talent.
Additionally, full-time employees only have so much time in the day to complete their regular work and learn new skills. By utilizing specialized freelancers, contractors, and consultants, you can fill in the gaps in knowledge needed to complete a particular project. If you’re a company that primarily focuses on building websites, but need to build an app, you don’t need to wait until your employees learn mobile development in order to move forward — you can hire a skilled freelancer to do the work, and keep in touch in case there are any issues or features you would like to add later. Utilizing non-traditional employees allows you to optimize skill sets and hire for certain skills as you need them — and helps you create relationships with experts in those skills moving forward. All of this empowers your organization and lets you move quickly and efficiently toward your goals.
Access a Wider Pool of Talent
Hiring remote full-time employees and freelancers lets you cast a net outside of the city your organization may be based in — you can even have a company with no central home base! This allows you to access a wider pool of skills and talent while also keeping costs down. Your organization can operate out of a low cost of living area, spend less on office space, and give your employees the freedom to live wherever they want, all while enabling you hire top talent from around the world.
Get Ahead of the Competition
As the number of freelancers grows, it’s important for companies to start thinking about how they will integrate contingent employees into their structure. This could be a struggle for companies used to working in a more traditional structure, with full-time employees at their desks. It’s time to start thinking about how to effectively utilize new options for talent and work to create an efficient blended workforce. By doing this, you’ll be well ahead of the curve — a report by Staffing Industry Analysts showed that many organizations don’t currently understand the talent they have, especially when it comes to non-employed workers. Understanding the motivations, skills, and talents of both full-time employees and non-employed workers is crucial to effectively managing your organization and getting the most out of your team.
How Do I Start?
Making the shift to a total talent management strategy can take a long time, but is worth it in the end. Leaders will need to take stock of a number of aspects of the organization, such as current hiring strategies, how to measure the progress of projects, and the culture surrounding a flexible work environment.
Finding the Right Skills
Taking a total talent management approach can mean re-evaluating how your organization procures and manages talent. Do you know what skills your workers have and what gaps need to be filled? It’s important to have a deep understanding of what your current employees offer and what areas you may need to fill in with non-employed workers. This can mean integrating your HR strategies (which are generally used for full-time employees) with your methods for hiring freelancers, consultants, and contractors.
Luckily a number of platforms such as Celerative make hiring contingent talent incredibly easy. Once you understand the goals and milestones for your project, you can be matched with a number of experts that can fill any gaps in knowledge that exist within your full-time team, and then stay updated on their progress with stats and metrics. Utilizing data and having a deep understanding of your goals can help your hiring team figure out what skills they need to look for and determine if the role is more suitable for a full-time employee or contingent worker. Staying updated on projects will help you determine if your strategies are working and that your full-time and contingent talent are effectively working side-by-side.
Many workplaces have already made the shift to a more flexible, remote work culture. But when hiring contingent talent, it’s important to know how your team will work with freelancers who could be anywhere in the world. If you need freelancers to come in, it’s possible to find local workers on sites like Celerative, but you’ll be able to finder a wider variety of talent if you allow for remote work. This means thinking about how you want to handle video meetings, casual chit-chat between coworkers, and possible time zone differences. Luckily, technology makes this all easy — there are a number of online text and video chat clients that make real-time communication between coworkers easy. And don’t worry about reduced productivity — employees, freelance or otherwise, can be incredibly productive when working remotely.
Freelancers also value autonomy and often work outside of the typical 9-5 schedule. It’s important to trust both freelancers and full-time employees to get the work done, even if it’s not on a traditional schedule. Building a culture of trust and collaboration between full-timers and freelancers will make the transition easier for everyone and will ensure your new talent strategies provide benefits much more quickly.
A total talent approach to hiring means rethinking the structure of your organization and learning how to integrate contingent talent with your goals. While it can take time to make these changes, doing so means maximizing productivity and getting high-quality, on-demand skills when you need them. You’re no longer limited to finding talent looking for a 9-5 gig in your immediate area — workers from around the globe working non-traditionally are now available to help you reach your goals and milestones in record time.