If you can’t beat them, join them. That’s the attitude more companies are adopting during a worsening talent shortage. Not only are employees with the right skills and experience tougher to secure, the available pool continues shrinking as more professionals choose the freelancer lifestyle over traditional employment.
To remain competitive, companies realize they must embrace this trend by creatively incorporating more freelancers into their business strategy.
That’s what one web hosting company did when they were testing out a way to create a new revenue stream. They wanted to offer customers affordable website designs, but local talent was scarce and cost prohibitive. So they hired a few freelance designers. As business grew, the team easily scaled. Now they have a virtual team of over 70 designers delivering new web designs within 72 hours.
But this flexibility comes with a caveat. A new way of getting work done means a new way of hiring, engaging, and supporting contingent workers.
To do it successfully, you need to dial in three critical elements. Think of it as the talent engagement trifecta:
A reliable talent source
What: This is your go-to place for accessing independent talent covering the skill sets you need. Ideally, your source should allow you to scale hiring with your business’s needs.
Why: A reliable pool lets you find the ideal talent faster by going beyond your local area, hire as needed, stay within budget, and vet talent to ensure the right skills and personality match.
Efficient administrative support
What: Automate and streamline everything you can including: onboarding, communicating with talent, tracking project deadlines, and processing payments.
Why: Freelancers require different administrative processes. If you have several projects happening at once, time spent coordinating freelancer engagement can add up quickly, which pulls your employees from other tasks.
Solid classification process
What: Proper classification of independent contractors requires balancing several factors involving who will do the work, what they’ll be doing, and how it’ll be done. It can get complicated quickly. That’s why it’s very important your freelancer engagement strategy includes a rock-solid worker classification process.
Why: Misclassifying workers can result in huge tax penalties and damages. No one wants that.
The thing is, most companies don’t have the internal resources required to be an expert in all three elements. That’s why more companies rely on…
Technology Designed for Safer & Easier Freelancer Engagement
As freelancer use increased, new solutions emerged to help companies engage them more efficiently. The most effective are technology-based platforms called Freelancer Management Systems (FMS). These platforms are designed to help a company’s staff act as their own talent agency, from the convenience of their desk.
An FMS allows the hiring manager to directly source, coordinate the engagement of, and pay their contingent workers. And they do it all from a single dashboard, which makes it a lot easier to work on several projects at a time. It’s also great for collecting detailed data that you can later use for future planning, analyzing spend, and so on.
Not All FMS Are Created the Same
Most solutions provide a talent source and tools for engaging freelancers. All but one lack a very important component of the talent trifecta: rock-solid worker classification backed by indemnification. With potential fines and penalties at risk, this is one part of the trifecta you don’t want to shortcut.
Only Upwork Enterprise provides a truly end-to-end freelance engagement solution. This cloud-based platform was designed by Upwork, a premier platform for top companies to hire and work with freelancers worldwide. With over four million clients, the platform facilitates over $1 billion of work annually. So they know what companies and freelancers need to work more efficiently and productively together.
The true test is how Upwork Enterprise helps your company optimize freelancer use. Take a look at how they meet the three critical elements:
Talent source: 10M registered freelancers from 180+ countries, covering 2,900 skills
The platform gives you fingertip access to Upwork’s vast and deep talent pool. Or you can build your own private freelancer talent pools based on skills and other requirements of your company.
Another benefit of sourcing through the platform is time-to-hire drops dramatically. On average, 95% of freelancers onboard within two days. By sourcing directly, you save 60-90% over traditional agencies. With that much savings, you can tackle more projects faster, or afford more premier talent.
Improved efficiency: Automate and perform tasks from a single dashboard
Administrative support functions are automated and streamlined according to your company’s particular needs. For example, the onboarding dashboard configures tasks like specific skills testing or background checks. This drops onboarding down to just two days on average. Other features make it easier for you to communicate across different time zones, check project milestones, and pay freelancers in approximately 90 currencies with a single click.
The overall time savings can make a significant impact on your bottom line. One multimedia financial services company used to take 30 hours a month coordinating their freelancer engagements. After moving everyone onto Upwork Enterprise, they slashed administrative time by 87%, down to only four hours a month. What’s more, the automation enabled them to pay freelancers faster, which improved their loyalty and productivity.
Worker classification: Verified for serious accuracy
As compared to other FMS, Upwork Enterprise offers the most robust solution that can properly classify all of your new and existing contingent workers and offer indemnification from misclassification risk. They do this by leveraging data science and their proprietary compliance workflow engine. This generates an initial classification assessment, which is then reviewed by the Upwork compliance team for maximum accuracy. A major plus of letting specialists handle your classification is it enables you to hire the talent you need without worrying about their location.
If you’re tempted to put off establishing your trifecta, think again. Startups to established enterprises are battling for the same, shrinking talent pool, which means hiring more freelancers may not be just an option, but your best solution. So it’s better to get ready now. The best part is it’s easy with freelance engagement solutions.