Like most medium to large size organizations, you likely already have a contingent workforce strategy in place. For many, this strategy relies heavily on staff supplementation/temp labor to plug gaps and accommodate times of peak business volume. More robust practices may include other worker types in their contingent mix like onsite independent contractors, project workers and SOW teams. However, many services procurement pros seem to shy away from utilizing freelancers working 100% by remote. Avoiding this type of arrangement is becoming a growing liability as this classification of worker is growing and your competition may already be enjoying the competitive advantages of using them. Here’s what you need to know about remote talent use and utilization.
Last week, a team from nextSource traveled to attend the SIG Global Executive Summit in Florida for insight into the latest best practices, cost-cutting strategies, innovative processes and risk-mitigation approaches for services procurement. The nextSource team came away from the event with an increased sense of urgency with regard to preparing customers with the tools they need to harness this fast-growing segment of the contingent workforce.
Freelancers—independent contractors who work exclusively by remote—are here to stay with 43% of the workforce expected to be independent by 2020. Moreover, talent already working in freelance capacities are highly satisfied and entrenched in this model. Most say they wouldn’t return to wage earning roles for any amount of money. With these trends at work, it is imperative that workforce managers learn quickly how to manage these resources properly as a part of their overall workforce compositions.
Here are four things workforce management must understand implicitly when it comes to remote freelance workers.
- Remote workers build saleable career reputations by exhibiting a proven record of excellent quality output without supervision. However, they will not respond well to more structured management styles. If your organizational culture is heavily focused on strict oversight and a hands-on worker management style, then remote workers will not likely be an appropriate addition to your palette.
- Due to their independence and offsite location, your organization must be prepared to provide, clear, comprehensive and concise direction with regard to the tasks/work you’re hiring them to do. Avoid frustration by developing amazing communications and adhering to strict scheduling for meetings to issue assignments, review output, request revisions, etc. The freelancer regards his time as much more valuable than the wage earner who isn’t as sensitive to redundant requests.
- Understand your culture and hire people who fit that culture. Just because they’re not at your facility, a freelancer still has to be an appropriate cultural match. Spend extra time during sourcing these resources to determine whether the candidate is a good cultural match.
- Go into it with clear expectations. Think about the three abovementioned considerations and be sure, before moving ahead with remote workers that your organization is prepared to manage these resources accordingly. If the expectations are not well managed on either end, the freelance arrangement is prone to failure whereas, if properly considered, these arrangements can be very mutually beneficial.
One last word about engaging freelancers/remote workers. Because this is a relatively novel addition to the composition of the modern contingent workforce, many organizations are not prepared to handle remote onboarding. The processes are different by virtue of the fact that the worker will likely never set foot on your premises and may actually live hundreds or even thousands of miles away. For help with best practices and proven processes for onboarding remote workers, nextSource experts are available for consultation.
If you have more questions about any of these worker types and/or the solutions nextSource offers to help you leverage these contingent resources, call today for a consultation.