The concept of running a business today is constantly changing, and one thing that has completely shifted the corporate landscape has been the ongoing shift towards employees becoming voluntary freelancers. Today, 34% of all employees are freelancers, and this is estimated to be upwards of 50% as of 2020.
For any manager, this represents both a major potential benefit, but is also a dramatic shift in how the management process occurs. Instead of being able to rely on a steady stable of employees, you will have to find new ways to manage a mobile, remote workforce. Below we will show you five methods of embracing this freelancing revolution and making it work for you.
Hire from an exponentially larger talent pool
Today, your company has a hiring process that is dependent on a few factors in order to get the highest possible benefits from your new employees. You constantly need to screen out applicants effectively with very limited physical interaction. A mistake in screening can cost your company a lot of money and a lot of wasted productivity. What’s more, you will also have to do so with an extremely limited talent pool.
The freelancing revolution affords you the opportunity to hire the best talent from all over the world and take your time when filtering through these applicants. Instead of being limited to just a small collection of applications, you can make use of the larger talent pool by screening for the best applicants for a particular project. You can hire for a limited basis, like a specific project or for a longer, ongoing basis. This lets you pick the right person for the job every time, rather than selecting someone based on what you have available in terms of current employees.
Embrace online project managing systems and cutting-edge communication platforms
In a salary-based office job or any other job where you might have to have a regular roster of employees in one particular location, most of the work is done in person simply because it’s easier to do so. While it might be easier to yell across the room and asked the question, that doesn’t mean it’s a better way to do it.
Working with freelancers on a remote basis allows you to manage them using some of the highest quality management tools available today. Project managers like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp let you assign and manage projects with one or more freelance workers so that you can ensure that the project is on schedule. You can also use this tool to figure out if there will be any major delays on the project.
If you want to develop an ongoing, integrated communication system for managing all of the employees in your business, then you should be exploring the latest Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) technologies being provided free and open source by Google and others. A wide range of WebRTC infrastructure companies are packaging these capabilities into low cost services and products – see a list at webrtcindex.com. Some companies, such as Agora.io, are specifically supporting high-quality global access from mobile devices, which will be important if your freelancers mainly access the Internet through their smartphones or are in other countries. WebRTC-based solutions allow you to implement a very cost-effective video system for freelancers that can be integrated with the rest of your firm’s IT assets.
Hire for only the job that you need done
One of the most common uses for freelancers today is to be a specialist. This offers you a number of different opportunities, as you no longer have to rely on a generalist marketing manager to handle your email marketing, for example. Instead, you can hire someone to specifically handle that aspect of your marketing and they will most likely be able to get you far better results than someone who only has a passing understanding of how to market effectively via email.
Pay for a result, rather than a person
In addition to the ability to hire someone who is extremely specialized in a particular area, embracing the freelance revolution today allows you to streamline your business and hire only for something that you need done. If, for example, you want to improve the way that your accounting system automatically categorizes expenses, you can hire someone to take care of that problem for you. When you are looking at a talent pool that is extremely large, this type of specific problem probably has a specialist out there who is able to solve it.
When you view many of the problems in your business from this lens, it allows you to effectively allocate resources to some of the most costly problems without taking on ongoing expenses related to them.
Attract talent through your freelancer benefits rather than a salary
As mentioned in the Harvard Business Review, the ability for employees or freelancers to work remotely is one that not only saves you money ($1,900 per employee in that case), but increases their productivity. This is due to the fact that employees not only have fewer distractions than they do in the office, but they are increasingly happier and less likely to quit. In the HBR case study mentioned, it was shown that remote workers were 50% less likely to quit as those who were worked in the office. If you are utilizing freelancers in any type of ongoing capacity, this will be music to your ears, as you are able to offer them the benefits that they want while saving you money at the same time.
The freelancing revolution is upon us, and it’s only begun. Embrace the technologies and advantages that naturally come along with it and your business will be better off.
Companies need to embrace mobility because it enhances productivity, knocks down barriers to hiring and customer acquisition, and at the same time, has the potential to improve employee and customer satisfaction. Learn more by reading Mobile Workforce: Less Talking, More Doing