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Managing Freelance, Flexi, Full-Time and Everything in Between

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In a talent-short market, candidates have the power to decide how, where and when they want to work. This isn’t just a Millennial thing, it’s a multi-generational shift that’s about people realizing the importance of a work-life balance and the value they can add when they’re given the freedom to work in a way that works best for them. Organizations that accommodate this flexibility are the ones that attract and retain the best talent.

Agile talent (specialized freelancers, consultants, contract workers, digital nomads - call them what you will) give organizations breathing room to find the right job candidate, not just the one that fits the full-time, permanent mold they’re used to, preventing expensive hiring mistakes in the process. The blended workforce becomes even more attractive when you add in:

  • The ability to scale operations up or down as needed
  • Access to specialized expertise an organization may not otherwise be able to use or afford
  • Reduced overheads
  • Lower costs for physical space, especially with remote working arrangements (according to HubSpot by 2020, the average amount of space per employee will shrink from 400 to 150 square feet)
  • Increased efficiency
  • Challenges to the organization’s thinking beyond inherent ideas and approaches

The on-demand economy is booming

Data from the annual Freelancing in America 2018 report shows that by 2027 the majority of workers in the U.S. will be engaged as contingent employees. According to a report by the Centre for Future Work, in Australia, already less than half of all employees are in permanent full-time jobs.

The change is already happening.

The challenge is managing the growing mix of employment types in one workplace, while maintaining a positive culture and building a team that will come on the journey with your business.

How can talent acquisition and recruitment managers juggle the various requirements and traits that come with the many different types of employment agreements that we now see?

9 ways to make a blended workforce work for you

  1. Make it your plan, not an accident - often a blended workforce will come about somewhat accidentally when resources need “topping up”. Rather than stumbling into it in this way, recognize the opportunity and form a strategy.
  2. Present the new approach to the wider business - help your organization understand why a wider range of roles and agreements is beneficial, including the advantages of diversity, new perspectives and innovation, and the organizational flexibility that comes with time zone spreads.
  3. Address traditional mindsets – the idea of work being handled remotely can be a hurdle. “How do I manage my team when they’re not physically around? How can I be sure they’re productive? What about social isolation?” The proof is in the pudding and seasoned specialists are productive regardless of their location.
  4. Survey your own employees – ask about the types of workplace flexibility that matter to them, and then develop fair and flexible working policies.
  5. Understand freelancer psychology - the vast majority of freelancers have taken on that role by choice. They value flexibility, diversity and autonomy over a "stable income." At the same time, a blended approach also includes mothers getting back into the workforce, fathers spending more time at home, retirees willing to mentor, and recipients of redundancy looking for project-based income. Prior to offering a contract or project ask, “What are the conditions required for you to do your best work?”
  6. Understand legalities – a blended workforce means you need to think about different legal aspects too. Get ahead of the game by addressing guidelines about worker classifications, written contracts and agreement nuances before you start hiring.
  7. Understand how to find the talent you need for your strategy - if you’re going to use agile talent in different departments, monitor how your usual talent attraction tactics work. Ask your network for referrals. Online sites with established communities of contingent /freelance professionals, such as LinkedIn and UpWork, can simplify the search process.
  8. Test drive your recruitment process - tackle complexities and challenges head-on. Issues such as integrating remote workers, maintaining company culture, and ensuring security over company data (to name but a few) can all be overcome by having processes in place to guarantee a robust recruitment journey. Set clear expectations and strong communication directives.
  9. Turn to technology - physical location and multiple time zones are no longer barriers when digital capabilities allow companies to interact with employees all over the world. People can come together and work on projects from anywhere but need all the tools they can get to ensure seamless communication. Consider project management and online meeting tools with screen sharing capabilities, real-time chat apps, and automatic check-ins.

We have a number of events coming up that will dive into the opportunities and challenges of managing a blended workforce, check them out and sign up!

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