Freelancer Management Systems: 5 must haves for your RFI

Look for these 5 essentials when shortlisting Freelancer Management System (FMS) vendors

Your choice of FMS is a major factor in overcoming the hidden workforce epidemic and the challenges of managing a freelance workforce.

Discover the 5 essential, must-have, components to look for when shortlisting vendors in your RFI process.

In this guide:

  • Onboarding your freelance community seamlessly
  • Supporting freelancers engaged directly or through an agency
  • Configuring search and talent pools for your needs
  • Bespoke reporting
  • Integration with your other systems

Onboarding your freelance community seamlessly

Freelancers and contractors are an important part of an organisation's talent strategy. Being able to access highly skilled professionals on demand enables organisations in print, media, marketing, construction, healthcare and many other industries remain productive and profitable.
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Onboarding should be freelancer-friendly and meets all of your organisation's compliance requirements

The first consideration for your FMS vendor shortlist is the requirement to seamless onboard your existing freelance community. A seamless onboarding process:

  • Should not alienate your freelance workforce. Turning off this community could see your business-critical projects grind to a halt!
  • Should be automated. There should be very little manual effort required by the organisation to get its freelancers set up on the new system.
  • Should be customisable to your requirements. The FMS should be able to support your organisation's unique onboarding steps, including security questionnaires, reference checking and contract signatures.

Supporting freelancers engaged directly or through an agency

In markets like the UK, where there is a healthy relationship between organisations and recruitment agencies, RPOs and MSPs, it is very likely a decent proportion of an organisation's freelance workforce will be engaged through an intermediary.

To be able to provide visibility of an organisation's entire freelance workforce, an FMS must be able to support:

  • Freelancers engaged directly, either as sole traders or through a Ltd company
  • Freelancers and contractors engaged through a recruitment agency, RPO or MSP

Configuring search and talent pools for your needs

Accurate search and project matching greatly reduces the time (and admin overhead cost) of resourcing projects. And grouping professional freelancers into Talent Pools is an effective method to help reduce the impact of project delays resulting from skills shortages or freelancer availability.
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Configurable taxonomy, tags and facets improve the accuracy of searching and matching

To be able to provide accurate and reliable searching, matching and talent pools, an FMS uses a taxonomy of terms, tags and facets. Every project and every freelancer is then algorithmically matched, making it easier to resource projects with the right people in less time.

Of course, an FMS must be able to support the taxonomy, tags and facets relating to the organisation and its use of freelance workers. For example, the tags and facets relevant to a healthcare organisation are very different to those most useful to a marketing agency network.

Bespoke Reporting

Arguably, the FMS' most important function is to provide management information and reporting. The insights gleaned from an FMS' management reporting are the key to making better resourcing decisions.
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Real-time, bespoke reporting provide management information relevant to your organisation's goals

For an organisation to make the best resourcing decisions, the FMS should be able to provide real-time bespoke reports. The exact reporting requirements will differ from organisation to organisation but, in general, might include:

Freelancer utilisation

  • By department
  • By project
  • By hiring manager
  • By skill or category

Freelancer spend vs budget

  • By department
  • By project
  • By hiring manager
  • By skill or category

Integration with your other systems

In the majority of organisations, their freelance workforce will be part of a much larger overall workforce. Being able to connect an FMS to other external systems will enable an organisation to include the use of freelancers in their overall talent strategy - knowing where to use freelancers, and where to invest in permanent roles.

Many larger organisations are already comfortable using a Vendor Management System (VMS), and this could be a key point of integration.
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Integrating FMS with VMS: Cloud-based platforms make integration simpler.

Our guide on FMS or VMS explores how to integrate an FMS with a VMS.

Summary: The 5 must haves for your Freelancer Management System RFI

To shortlist the right vendors in your RFI process, you should look for the following must haves:

  • Seamless onboarding that's freelancer-friendly and meets all of your organisation's compliance requirements
  • The ability to support freelancers engaged directly or through an agency
  • A configurable taxonomy, tags and facets to improve the accuracy of searching and matching
  • Real-time, bespoke reporting that provides management information relevant to your organisation's goals
  • Integration options to enable your organisation to include freelancers in its overall talent strategy

Useful resources

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External link

Attracting contingent talent to your private talent pools

Freelancers, consultants and independent contractors provide a quick, cost-effective method of adding hard-to-hire skills and experience to your business. But what happens when the skills you need aren't already in your private talent pools?