How To Hire Freelancers for Enterprises - An Essential Guide
by YOSS Community Writer, on July 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Most enterprise companies were not set up to hire freelance talent as knowledge workers. They wanted to keep knowledge in-house with full-time employees. When those resources reached their limits, they often turned to expensive consultants to fill the gaps.
Embracing the Future of Work
As the world of work evolves and technology democratizes knowledge, the power has shifted from companies to consumers. This has given rise to new ways of working, such as freelancing, in which individuals can be their own bosses.
How does this affect the workforce? If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve seen that there is a war for both full-time talent and freelancers. The right fit is of critical importance for any company, but large enterprise companies have a lot more at risk for the wrong hire, especially when it comes to freelance talent. That’s because they are not as nimble to adapt if things go wrong and because both trust and security of their knowledge workers are paramount.
Moreover, finding the right fit takes time and resources, and then integrating them or letting them go takes even more. So is it even worth it? And once you do discover great talent, how do you ensure they are trustworthy, that they are who they say they are, and that you can manage, process, and pay them separately from the rest of your employees?
Enterprise clients face many legal and compliance risks, data risks, and reputational risks. Because they are complex organizations, it’s much harder for them to incorporate flexibility into their processes — or workforce. Internal policies tend to be rigid: For example, you need to go through procurement to set up any new vendor. Plus, invoicing can be a nightmare if multiple people across the organization use the same solution but they each have separate accounts.
Nimble Hiring Solution
How can you streamline all of this into a single solution?
With the freelance economy, you actually have the potential to get more done with less.
In fact, you’ll gain access to a larger talent pool of specialized workers. Sometimes, you need one specific skill set for one project, and it’s not worth hiring someone full-time or training other employees to become experts in something they’ll never need to know again. In the same vein, you’ll alleviate your costs associated with having a full-time headcount (such as training, onboarding, turnover, and knowledge retention).
As a business leader, you’re concerned with steering the ship. At the same time, your employees want choices. The freelance economy can help meet the needs on both ends. Through freelancing and “outcomes as a service,” deliverables can be kept consistent and projects will move forward while workers gain flexibility into how they reach those outcomes.
Meet Your Freelance Talent
As the scope and scale of freelancing has grown, and more and more high-caliber workers join the ranks, some of the common misconceptions are being turned on their heads:
Only flexibility and money motivate freelancers.”
Purpose, perks, or the variety of people and projects they get to work with can all drive freelancers as well.
Freelancers can only work on one-and-done projects.”
You can have repeat engagements or work with freelancers on a retainer basis to manage overflow work, take pressure off your full-time teams, and benefit from knowledge retention.
Freelancers work only in creative fields like design or writing.”
In actuality, they work across a wide variety of skill sets — from design and tech to consulting.
Flexible workers want many of the same things as full-time employees (FTEs). Our research shows that younger generations of contractors put a high value on finding jobs that will help them in their self-development and career progression. Older generations, on the other hand, seem to value having a stronger control over their careers and higher influence and impact on the businesses they work with.
Flexible workers provide speed and efficiency, and many are highly specialized and highly motivated. Companies today can’t afford not to figure out how to work with them — they are the next generation.
Why Freelance at All?
Call it whatever you’d like: flexible, contingent, independent, contract, or gig work. Either way, it’s transforming labor markets and the economy. According to a study we conducted in conjunction with LinkedIn and Longitude Research, about 20 to 30 percent of people in developed countries work as freelancers in some capacity.
Of these, about half become full-time flexible workers. Moreover, 82 percent of Millennials would rather be independent professionals. The gig economy added $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy in the last year, while the annual figure in Europe has reached €270 billion.
The gig economy is giving people the choice to be their own bosses and to manage how they spend their time. Most freelance workers still get work through networking, but the percent of independent workers using online talent marketplaces to find employment is growing — in fact, 73 percent of freelancers used online platforms to find work in 2018, according to a Payoneer study.
Hiring Freelancers Today
By 2027, freelancers will become the workforce majority due to automation, flexibility, and the current growth rate. And companies are recognizing this fact by moving toward hiring more flexible workers than ever. It gives them access to high-quality talent for a wide variety of skill sets.
Training programs like those offered by General Assembly are giving people the means and knowledge to transition into specific skill sets. And platforms make it easy to find, onboard, manage, and pay freelancers.
Take one look at the supply and demand for FTEs, and you’ll see why freelance talent is becoming more and more critical.
For CRM specialists, for example, there’s been a significant increase in demand for workers over the past few months. Job postings on CareerBuilder for developers or administrators with this specific focus remained steady at about 3,000 between March 2016 and December 2017.
In the past three months, however, demand has increased to about 5,100, according to our research. While the demand has seen a sharp increase, the supply of available workers with the required skill sets has remained stable and significantly lower than the need.
Here is where independent professionals—iPros—come in. iPros encompass many different types of independent workers, including freelancers (who work with as many companies as they’d like), as well as contractors (those contracted to work with only one company), and temporary workers (people who work through a staffing agency).
Hiring an iPro will help you bridge the gap between supply and demand and give you access to a wider pool of talent with specialized skill sets.
Welcome to the iPro Generation
How can you ensure success in the context of a fast-evolving labor market and war for top talent? The most successful companies will extend their employee value proposition to flexible talent while also figuring out how to optimize their workforce mix. That involves using the right technology, working with the right partners, building the right mindset, and implementing the right policies.
iPros are particularly well-suited for project-based work that requires deep technical expertise. Here are a few examples of how they can help:
- CRM Implementation
A CRM is an expensive tool, and its implementation must be tailored to an organization’s needs. It is unlikely that you will have someone on staff who is an expert in programming the technology already. You might hire an FTE to help manage the tool, but for many companies it makes more sense to hire a freelancer to help with the initial configuration and then contract with him on an as-needed basis instead of adding him to your full headcount
- SAP Implementation, Support, Roll-out, or Upgrade
SAP is a powerful technology, but it requires experts for proper use. In support alone, employees must accept and acknowledge a new ticket from an end user, troubleshoot the issue, take notes and document the problem, provide the resolution to the user, gain confirmation from him, and then mark the ticket as closed. That’s a lot of work for your FTEs to worry about, so hiring an iPro could be a better solution.
- Data Cleaning
Data scientists could use as much as 80 percent of their time on a new project just cleaning data. Such work is an enormous problem for teams, and it’s something that you can easily outsource to a contractor or freelancers.
- Exploratory Data Analysis
Exploratory data analysis, or asking and investigating questions through visualizations and transformations, allows analysts to use data to make discoveries — insights based on customer segments or even seasonal effects — that can guide business decisions. Hiring a temporary outside worker to do the EDA is a better idea in general because it keeps the data and the insights neutral.
iPros take the work out of potential gaps in your business’s underdeveloped departments. The independent employees help enterprise businesses maximize their output of quality service by allowing FTEs to concentrate on your core business, leaving one-off projects to those with the experience and expertise to manage them.
Becoming an iPro Business
Embracing freelancers and other employees in the gig economy will give you the opportunity to build time and cost efficiencies, transforming into bottom-line profits for your enterprise. Hiring iPros will help your business move faster and more efficiently by taking on more specialized roles so that your FTEs can concentrate on your customers.
Hiring iPros might sound easy, but—especially if you’re an enterprise business—you need talent you can trust and that can fit into the way you hire and manage people. It’s important to note that not all freelance platforms are created equal.
Some are more of a free-for- all marketplace like a Craigslist, where the cost might be low but the risks high and where it’s up to the buyer to beware. Others, like YOSS, are purpose-built for the enterprise and not only have thorough vetting processes built in to ensure the quality of talent, but they also have enterprise-level features to handle compliance, worker classification, background checks, and other elements of hiring and managing talent that big companies cannot skimp on.
Integrating iPros Effectively
Once you’ve hired the right iPros, you need to incorporate them into your business effectively. Here are some quick steps to keep in mind:
Determine the right workforce mix.
Invest in flexible talent just as you do full-time employees.
Build long-term relationships and keep them in your ecosystem.
Make everyone feel a part of the team.
Equip them with resources to learn and develop.
Empower them to take ownership and impact outcomes.
Build loyalty through incentives and perks.
It might sound simple, but the key is to invest in people. Flexible workers are humans. They want to be treated the same as FTEs. If you treat them as such, this will create a virtuous cycle by building up loyalty and trust.
With iPros, your business can get more done faster, better, and cheaper. Your FTEs will be happy, your customers will be satisfied, and the ship will keep moving forward with everyone working better together.