Using contingent, on-demand talent is an extremely effective way of getting things done. 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?
In this guide:
In the increasingly competitive battle for talent, contingent, on-demand freelancers, consultants and independent contractors offer an organisation a number of benefits.
As with most things, the best people cost money. And for many businesses, the very best salary and benefits packages are just out of reach financially, especially when there is a mutuality of obligation to continue to pay and provide work for a permanent hire.
Due to the very nature of on-demand talent, you only pay for what you need. And with statement of work engagements and milestone payments, getting important project work completed can be very affordable.
Here is an example of how hiring a full-time web designer earning £40k a year, may not be the best option when, in this example, the cost of designing a website is only around £2k.
A major advantage for hiring contingent workers is the reduction in hiring time.
According to the REC, the average time to hire a permanent employee is now around three months – starting from the inception of the job spec, right through the interviewing process and notice period. It doesn't factor in the typical 'getting up to speed' period, so is more likely to be nearer four months.
In comparison, a freelancer can be hired in minutes and be productive almost immediately, due to their experience and familiarity with 'hitting the ground running'.
The ability to discover skills and experience gaps is only possible with a tool like TalonFMS – it is simply not possible with manual or distributed methods of managing external suppliers. TalonFMS' consolidated, searchable view of an entire contingent population makes it very simple for an organisation to discover where and when they will have skills and/or experience gaps.
There are two tools inside TalonFMS that provide insight into skills and experience gaps:
The application funnel provides a visual representation of the eligible, engaged and declined resources in your contingent population suitable for any given project. This view allows you to get project by project insight into the need to look for additional resources.
TalonFMS' searchable directory provides a consolidated, top-level view of your entire talent population. As its taxonomy and filtering is bespoke to your requirements, proactively identifying and managing skills gaps is as simple as loading the directory and applying a filter.
Once you've identified a gap in your contingent population, you can begin the process of attracting new freelancers, consultants and independent contractors.
First, it's important to build contingent workers into your overall EVP. Some common ways to do this are:
Pay that fairly reflects the value of the individual's contribution to the organisation's success. Depending on the nature of your engagement with freelancers this might be expressed as a rate per hour, day or unit of work. For example:
Java developer = £500 per day
Content writer = £250 per article
Could be as simple as providing on site parking or dedicated hot desks for freelancers.
Freelancers, due to their short-term temporary engagement with an organisation, are often kept out of internal communications and updates. Using an FMS' talent pool to keep freelancers up to date with important information is a simple way to make freelancers feel part of the team.
As part of your EVP, the rewards and incentives you offer to freelancers needs careful consideration. This is to ensure they are both interesting and unlikely to cause any compliance or regulatory issues.
Here are a couple of examples of rewards/incentives you could offer freelancers as part of your EVP:
60 or 90 day terms on invoices are common for larger organisations but for a freelancer, not getting paid for 3 months can present serious cash flow issues. A simple reward for talented freelancers could be expedited invoice payment.
Working with a large organisation presents a huge opportunity to a freelancer to generate more work. But often, it's difficult to be able to access other departments or projects. A great benefit for a freelancer would be to get endorsed to other hiring managers in an organisation.
It sounds simple, but is often overlooked. Offer your contingent talent an intuitive, easy-to-use system for managing their profiles and activity in your talent pools. Many legacy ATS and other HR systems are primarily designed for permanent employees so the experience for a freelancer will be clunky and confusing.
Modern FMS platforms like TalonFMS are designed with the fast, fluid nature of freelancing and SOW engagements front of mind, making it easier and simpler for contingent talent to manage profiles and respond to project briefs.
Providing an external contingent worker with a fully branded platform experience can make your private talent pools feel more inclusive and part of the employer brand. Unlike many other FMS platforms and marketplaces, who offer vanilla off-the-shelf experiences, Talon is fully branded to ensure the platform is as engaging as possible.
With an attractive value proposition for contingent talent in place, the next step is to start promoting your private talent pools. With TalonFMS, there are two ways to do this:
Advertising requirements on job boards and social media platforms is made simple. Promote and grow your private talent community with flexible project promotion and sharing.
Share your requirements on popular job boards and social media platforms with just a couple of clicks, but retain full control over who is accepted into your private talent community.
New talent can be taken from any required source and guided through your client-specific onboarding processes.
You can also tie in to specific campaigns that link in to your Employer Value Proposition (EVP), Careers site and allow you to build your population from the wider market.
TalonFMS is built on the principle that the quality of a contingent talent population is more important than its quantity. To uphold this principle, there some safeguards in the system to ensure an organisation retains complete control over who is allowed to become part of their contingent population.
Inviting new freelancers, consultants, contractors or suppliers to your contingent talent population is simple, you just need their email address. Once the email address is entered into the invite system, TalonFMS sends a personalised invite, which can only be used to create a profile with that email address. This prevents invites being forwarded to unwanted recipients.
Once in the system, users are instructed to complete an onboarding process. This is completely configurable by you, and through the intuitive onboarding template builder, can include contract signing, questions and vetting steps.
Projects posted to job boards and social media can receive applications from users outside of your private talent population, however, these users are created in a separate ring-fenced 'pre-screening' area.
Pre-screening users are visible in your Application Funnels, which makes enables you to identify potential users who you'd like to invite to go through an onboarding process and become a full member of your private talent pools.
Freelancers are not employees. They are not bound, or managed, by the same rules and it is common for hiring managers, line managers and operational teams to experience challenges as they start to engage a larger number of freelancers.
A guide to compliment your freelancer management system - to make it even simpler to hire, brief and work with freelancers.
Managing your freelancer workforce can be as simple as recording names and phone numbers in your phone book. But there's a point when you need to get serious about managing your freelance and contingent workers.