In the 2023 edition of A Team’s “HR & Hiring Outlook” report, 46% of survey respondents said they had seen attrition increase in the last year. To fill the gap, they were turning to freelancers; 50% of hiring leaders said they relied more on freelancers in 2022 than in 2021.
As a result, contingent workforce management tools have become essential. Whereas online talent platforms like Upwork and Fiverr were once the domain of SMEs looking for ad hoc workers, now, major corporations and consultancies are leveraging these tools, but in their more evolved form.
The Next Generation of Online Talent Platforms
Online freelancing marketplaces have brought down the barriers to cross-border work, facilitating a skills-based approach to hiring. This has expanded the talent pool hugely, enabling companies to identify talent for niche roles, which is especially important as digitization becomes all the more urgent.
Additionally, compared to full-time employees, the cost of hiring a freelancer is far more transparent. There’s no need to consider sick pay, company benefits, holidays or taxes; instead, the figure that’s on the contract is what it will cost.
It all sounds great, but this first generation of tools came with its issues. One such example is the sheer volume of talent out there. HR managers began to question if trawling platforms for candidates was really a time-saving exercise.
However, the format has come a long way since its inception. The solution was specialized communities; market niches and pre-certification meant that companies could identify the right partner for them and narrow down the search from there.
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Maximizing the Benefits of Talent on Demand
These tools are continuing to evolve. As the great shift to the gig economy continues, early adopters realize that contracting a freelancer isn’t a one-time thing. This addresses one of the other key pain points of contingent workforce management: onboarding.
Once you’ve onboarded a freelancer, you don’t have to do it again. Instead, you can call on the freelancer in question to leverage their expertise on an on-demand basis. These relationships can be the start of a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship. A colleague of mine, for instance, said they knew someone who’d been working as a contractor with a company for almost 20 years!
This idea complements another trending term in HR right now: total talent management. This strategy aims to maintain relationships with as much talent as possible, whether it be company alumni, staff on parental leave or sabbaticals, or even candidates for roles who ultimately didn’t join the team. This enables companies to maintain an arsenal of talent while nurturing a sense of community.
These are exactly the kinds of relationships that the most advanced on-demand talent platforms are trying to facilitate, allowing clients to organize their talent pool to better manage long-term relationships. Meanwhile, the platforms handle onboarding administration, contracts and invoicing, limiting procurement to one single supplier.
This is a big bonus for large companies whose agile talent strategies are often hindered by procurement. Big consulting firms, for example, take advantage of this feature. In light of their price tag, the fact that they often use on-demand talent makes a strong case for going directly to the source.
Transforming Contingent Workforce Management
Even before the pandemic, the future of work was already upon us. Now, these trends are gaining pace, and early starters have discovered embracing freelancing is key to success. This isn’t to say traditional teams are a thing of the past; instead, they’re supplemented and enriched by external talent, which is often talent that will support the organization on a repeat basis.
Deploying the right tools will be essential to maximizing the benefits of a contingent workforce. Talent platform solutions seek to comprehensively address the pain points in a business’s on-demand talent strategy. These platforms provide a single space for all aspects of administration while enabling companies to directly access a wealth of pre-certified talent as needed.
As the future of work beckons, the time to start integrating these next-gen tools is now. You can look at some of the features of Outvise’s own Freelancer Management System on our YouTube channel.