The future of work is already here – freelancers now comprise 35% of the U.S. workforce, accounting for over 55 million Americans, and while the concept is still fairly nascent in India, the initial trend is pretty similar.
The growth in mobile technologies that allow professionals to create their own work environment. The gig economy is here to stay and isn’t limited to developed countries.
Using freelancers: What’s in it for organisations?
Realising that talent and innovation can come from outside the 9-to-5 format is the first step for organisations. Leveraging a contingent workforce is inevitable sometimes – either to augment processes with specialised skills in a short span of time or to reduce overhead costs. Yet, less than 30% of organisations are prepared to make the most of this trend or are willing to make themselves attractive to freelancers. Not being ‘freelancer ready’ -especially in tight labor markets -could cause companies to lose out on prime talent and result in competitive disadvantage.
How to become ‘freelancer ready’?
Tapping into the potential of a contingent workforce requires a new mindset as well as fresh strategies – starting from talent acquisition to workforce management. Here are three tips that can get you off to a good start:
Re-look at the regular processes
Freelancers enjoy the way they work – which is ‘anywhere, anytime’. Create defined processes to facilitate their remote work style and set clear timelines and expectations, if you want to get the desired results.
Prepare for risk and litigation:
Data security, confidentiality, wage and hour violations, taxes, and liabilities and compensation for job-related injuries are some of the unique risks that freelancers bring on-board. Trying to deal with all the hassles associated with employment legislation, payrolling, invoicing, attendance & absenteeism can be a challenging task. The more your teams get into it, the less time they have, to concentrate on strategic tasks. You can partner with top staffing agencies to manage such risks.
Attract ‘co-creators’ from non-traditional sources:
Traditional hiring channels may prove ineffective when it comes to attracting a contingent workforce capable of driving growth and innovation. Freelancers are driven by ownership and an entrepreneurial spirit. This means they would rather work as co-creators on a project or in shaping a company’s transformation, than as employees. Recruiting freelancers requires an innovative approach to talent attraction and a staffing agency with strong contingent talent communities can be of immense help.
Freelancing is not new – but its face has changed dramatically. Freelancers now represent top talent, as opposed to out-of- work or low-paid workers that formed the tribe previously. Young and highly qualified, as well as experienced and seasoned professionals are increasingly leaving their plush high paying jobs to join the freelancer brigade with the primary motivation of being their own boss. As the new freelancer-cum-entrepreneur profession becomes mainstream, is your organisation prepared to work with a borderless workforce?