Back in December, in our ‘5 Trends of 2017 to Watch’ blog, we noted that one of the most prominent trends in the year ahead is the rise of the blended workforce. As organizations prepare to integrate an increasing number of freelance and contract workers into their teams of full-time employees, it’s important to understand the benefits of this approach, and be aware of strategies to maximize the efficiency of a blended workforce.
According to an estimate by The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of workers will be part of the “gig economy” by the year 2020. Whether your company is already a part of this trend or is stillconsidering if it is the right step for them, there are many aspects to consider when evaluating the potential impact of a blended workforce.
The Benefits of a Blended Workforce
Companies have turned to flexible workers for a variety of reasons. When a gap (skills, knowledge, experience) needs to be filled, a freelancer can often be found more quickly, with less commitment, than a full-time employee. Seasonal hires are often a good fit for freelancers because they are already accustomed to more flexible employment options and often have more availability and flexibility during high-volume periods.
While companies are searching for the best candidates to hire, they often experience lingering openings in their workforce. Incomplete teams can hinder business growth and keep projects from meeting deadlines. Contract workers hired to temporarily fill in these gaps help to prevent companies from being shorthanded. They also allow companies to dedicate as much time as they need to finding the right permanent person. Additionally, freelancing can be a great way to try out a potential hire without strings, before offering them long-term work or a full-time position.
Many freelancers have a variety of niche skills that they have acquired through their often non-traditional range of work experience. If your organization is in need of a particular skillset that isn’t often found on a traditional resume, then a freelancer could be your best option. It’s also an easier way to narrow the search. Rather than cobbling together multiple features of needed jobs and hoping they will match a single person, you can hire multiple individuals, each of whom offer one or two specific talents that address those needs.
Overhead costs are often reduced with the use of freelance workers since health insurance, benefits, and other employee perks usually do not apply to contracted individuals. While companies may end up paying slightly more by the hour for non-traditional employees, overall costs and total compensation can be significantly less.
Maximizing Efforts With a Blended Workforce
How should your company be working to make the most of a blended workforce?
- Communicate Clearly. Every single moment of communication is critical when working with contractors on a limited timeline. Giving detailed instructions and elaborating on your expectations are particularly important since blended teams will have varying levels of familiarity with the company, its goals, processes, and needs.
- Create a Sourcing Network. When turning to freelance workers for your company workforce needs, you’ll want to have multiple sources for finding talent. Recruiting agencies and expert staffing companies often allow you access to already vetted talent more quickly and efficiently.
- Focus on Talent. Different from hiring a full-time employee, (where a variety of factors can come into play), contracting with a freelancer allows you to focus on the specific, and perhaps unique, skills that the person will bring to the team. Those abilities are at the core of why you need them, and should be of utmost importance.
- Use an HCM Software Solution. Within a blended workforce, there is no real way to effectively manage numerous employee classifications without a comprehensive HCM system. Reporting and analytic tools within this software can provide valuable insight into each employee and freelancer. Additionally, these tools can provide better information for hiring and post-hiring decisions. Plus, the ability to manage and track all of your employee categories/classifications in one system will allow you greater visibility and transparency into your workforce investments across your organization.
In order to accommodate the ever-changing needs of both organizations and individuals, workforces will continue to evolve, and can be key competitive advantages in some industries. Companies will need to be deliberate about their hiring choices and practices in order to keep up with and capitalize on this new blended workforce trend.
Imagine how an HCM system could effectively support and propel your organization toward a high-performing, blended workforce. Contact SyncHR for an in-depth look at what this kind of system can do for your company today.
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