5 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Be Part Of Your Talent Mix

03.31.17

It’s 6 p.m. on a Wednesday evening — do you know where your staff is? Tired and overburdened from doing the job of three,
they’ve left the building and figured those deadlines can wait until tomorrow. This is today’s reality of doing more with less resources
– where worker burnout is an everyday business challenge.
So how do you control labor costs, maintain productivity, meet timelines and deliver a solid return on investment (ROI) without further
burdening your team? The answer is a flexible, on-demand workforce strategy that reflects your company’s peaks and valleys and
supports staff with outside help from freelance talent. If managed wisely, freelancers can actually increase your ROI if you plan and
scale labor to the business cycles when you need them most.
But before we explore how you can plan and manage these workers, let’s first revisit the economics of a talent strategy that
incorporates contingent labor:

STRATEGIC STAFFING
Rising health care, benefits, payroll and other administrative costs makes long-term strategic temporary staffing is a smart way
for companies to contain costs. A talent strategy that includes freelancers enables companies to systematically control
recruiting, hiring, training, employee turnover, absenteeism costs and bypass the additional expenses associated with
permanent employees above and beyond salaries. This isn’t just a short-term fix, it’s an all season strategy that just makes
sound economic sense for employers.

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
Because using freelancers continues to improve efficiency and productivity, more companies plan on adding them to their
talent mix. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends study, 51% of executives said that their company plans to
increase their reliance on flexible and independent workers in the next 3-5 years. Since the financial crisis of 2008, freelance
workers now comprise 1/3 of the US workforce. The availability of world-class talent is a boon for employers – the diversity of
skill sets and experience levels to choose from has never been richer.

ON DEMAND TALENT = SCALABLE LABOR COSTS
Whether you need talent for a special project, covering a maternity leave or just as part-time support, freelancers can fill the
gap for just the specific hours you need them and not a moment more. Every hour they bill is an hour truly worked. Plus you can
save on overtime costs by letting freelance staff work the extra hours.

REDUCED COST OF BURNOUT
Burdening important core staff is a big mistake that many employers make in their haste to slash costs. Companies can avoid
staff burnout, reduce absenteeism and lost productivity and relieve worker stress by using freelance staff to provide the extra
hands needed to get the job done. Again—it’s all about scale, and having talent on hand to fill in only when you need them.

PAYROLL SOLUTIONS
Staffing firms offer payroll services to companies that choose to source their own contractors, freelancers and temps. This
diverts the responsibility of pre-employment testing and verification, unemployment claims, Worker’s Compensation,
timesheets and health benefits to the staffing firm. This service is ideal for staffing special projects, accommodating seasonal
peaks, rehiring employees, covering new employees during probationary periods and filling the gaps during training sessions.
This is also a recommended course of action for employers to avoid worker misclassification risks associated with direct
employment of contingent workers.

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT FREELANCERS

FREELANCERS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE.
If we didn’t make the case above, get out your pencil and jot down the actual costs associated with hiring a full-time employee.
Freelancers get paid only for the hours they work and nothing more, and come with no strings (like health benefits or paid time off)
attached.

YOU CAN’T GET QUALITY WORK OUT OF FREELANCERS.
Many freelancers come with world-class credentials and years of experience that a company may not be able to hire as a full-time
resource, but could strategically deploy against a special project. Freelancers are “graded” on every assignment. Respectable staffing
firms only send the best candidates.

FREELANCERS DON’T HAVE THE DISCIPLINE TO MEET DEADLINES.
Are you kidding? Many of these people are highly creative and work best under deadline pressure. They thrive on change and
challenge.

FREELANCERS WON’T HAVE LOYALTY TO YOUR BRAND.
Talented people love a new challenge and they LOVE winning. Building a brand, creating something new or making over an old
classic really gets them going. For them, it’s all about their brag book (portfolio) and how they’ve contributed to a brand. This is
exactly the kind of loyalty and passion you want on a project.

IT TAKES TOO LONG TO GET FREELANCERS UP TO SPEED WITH YOUR COMPANY’S SYSTEM.
Freelancers by nature are fast studies and more adaptive to change. They thrive on hitting the ground running and are proven to get
with the program quickly. The question is: Are you as organized as you can be when it comes to orienting new people to your culture?
What you and your company bring to the equation in these situations is just as important.

HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF FREELANCERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

PLAN!
Businesses are cyclical and so are the initiatives that drive them. You know what your peak seasons are and the hands you need to get the job done. Now that your staff is leaner, what are the important gaps that you need to fill? And just how many hours, weeks or months will it take to complete the project? Plan early so that you have the right people in place when it’s
time to roll.

GET ON BOARD!
Make sourcing the right freelancers a turnkey process for your managers by fully utilizing the services of your talent firm. Leverage their vast business connections to get the ideal workers that fit your brand and culture. An interview or two and you have a staff that’s ready to go.

READY, SET, GO!
Make every hour count by having work lined up when your freelancers arrive. You don’t want them standing around waiting for you or your staff to get the necessary materials together.

MEASURE AND MONITOR!
Most staffing firms offer free management reporting tools that will enable you to track freelance hours and costs at the touch of a button. This will help you stay on top of labor costs and give you a closer look at the time required to execute various projects.

Thinking of hiring a freelancer? Check out our piece on the benefits of working with a recruiter here.


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