Online freelance marketplaces, such as Upwork, HubStaff Talent, Elance and others, have made on-demand talent easily available for when your organization lacks in-house availability or skill to complete a project ‘on time’ and with competency. However, with the volume of administrative work your HR organization already has to put into recruiting and managing full-time employees, how can you more efficiently manage your part-time and contractual workers alongside the full-timers?
At HR Tech Las Vegas 2017, a session titled “Leveraging the Freelance Marketplace to Harness a Global Talent Pool” delved into one area where HR executives are getting more strategic and innovative toward the overall business. Eric Gilpin, who leads enterprise business at Upwork, a leading global freelance platform, and Rich Postler, HR Leader, Global Health and Well Being, Procter & Gamble, offered an in-depth view of how some companies are using on-demand talent as part of a merging between HR transformation, the gig economy and overall workforce management.
Gilpin said freelancing allows people greater opportunity for work/life balance. He gave the example of the time it might take to commute to the Chicago office (or maybe London)… for some an hour or two per day. Technology that connects these telecommuting individuals to “the work” can empower them to complete assignments and earn their pay faster, while maybe running a family errand or two. Future technology will make location even less relevant, Gilpin said, and collaborative technologies can better align freelance output with corporate and customer specifications.
With on-demand talent, teams will look like movie crews, Gilpin said, with specialized but valuable members contributing and then moving on to another gig. It’s not just Millennials participating but Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers continuing to contribute based on their career experience. It’s a choice by the majority of contract workers. In one recent Forbes study, more than 60 percent of respondents said they were consulting due to choice, rather than circumstance.
Conversely, online freelance marketplaces provide a bridge for enterprises, large and small, into freelance talent. These online platforms offer a talent network in which to plug in, search and smartly source on-demand talent, while also handling some of the scheduling, project management, and financial transaction and tax support processes. Hiring contractual workers is “a choice” for organizations, too, where a company can efficiently and ethically continue to build its arsenal of skills and competencies. Freelance sourcing and management can ensure work gets done more efficiently without gaps in essential routine operations, product development, sales and marketing, customer service, etc.,. You can be strategic where you source freelance talent, as long as you are confident that the right part-time resources exist for the project you wish to source. “It’s not for everything,” Postler said, advising that if your firm’s next focus is a multimillion dollar advertising campaign for a major client, you might be best served by going to your trusted global communications and advertising agency.
But for many work projects, P&G offers its executives, managers and employees the P&G OnDemand Talent marketplace, which is like a shopping mall of services P&G employees can use to find and source freelancers from an aggregated menu, including marketplace partners, advertising services, and crowdsourcing partners. Postler said P&G’s in-house freelancer store has simplified and reduced the cost of obtaining the plug-in workers the organization needs for business continuity. “This is actually an innovation,” he said. An ambitious video project by P&G, estimated at between $20,000 and $25,000 through staff member efforts, came in at 60 percent lower through P&G’s On-Demand Talent shopping mall.
Cost is important, but value and speed matter just as much, if not more. “I still want to hire people where hiring is right, but sometimes I just want to borrow people,” Postler said.
“How do you ensure accountability in the process?” an HR Tech Las Vegas session attendee asked. Gilpin said Upwork and similar platforms offer freelancer ratings and reviews. The sites also provide mechanisms to ensure a freelancer is not paid until the job is done according to the terms or specs of the agreement. Online freelance marketplaces also offer the means to classify a freelance worker, for example, 1099 contractor form or a W2 for part-time or seasonal work.
The biggest benefit from the online freelance marketplace is access to jobs, Gilpin said. Independent workers connect with work and small business services and tools. Organizations, get strong support for freelance talent sourcing, the offloading of some aspects of a job, and a system of record and compliance assurance. “The idea of value and compliance is a big win/win,” Postler added.
But how do you get a total integrated picture of labor?
Total Workforce Acquisition and Total Talent Management
HR transformation is not all FTE-focused. It affects your relationship with the freelance workers you employ as well. How do you leverage these freelance professionals as your global HR organization strives to become more digital, interactive, and valuable to the corporation? The strategic answer to this question is total workforce management.
For a dashboard look at the gig economy, download the Lumesse infographic: "How to Employ On-Demand Services in a Gig Economy" .
Lumesse supports HR organizations in the gig economy and online freelance marketplace by providing an integrated view of the freelance and full-time talent you are sourcing, onboarding and managing in succession plans. Find out how you can realize greater quality and cost efficiencies through total workforce acquisition and total talent management.