Why progressive organisations are working with freelancers

How smart HR managers are benefiting from the power of freelancers
Freelancing is here to stay, not only because of the pandemic. According to Don't Do It Yourself, with a total global workforce of around 3.5 billion, there are about 1.1 billion freelancers around the world.

Millions of people are choosing freelancing in addition to their current jobs, or as a way to start an independent business. Freelance workers know what they can offer, explore more business fields simply because of running a business themselves, and build large networks of like-minded people based on location, professional area, or a mission.

And they are not changing their mind. 75% of freelancers say that they wouldn't trade their freelancing job for other types of work.

What should companies expect from freelancing?

In 2020, this trend was even more visible. As many people lost their jobs, and location was no longer an issue, freelance platforms saw a huge growth in new users and more work delivered. 67% of freelancers work with 2 to 5 clients at a time.

In 2021, progressive companies need to plan their HR activities and employer branding accordingly, to grow faster and ride the wave of the cultural shift.

Almost 33% of Fortune 500 companies turn to freelance sites to outsource their work.

"Using freelancers enables companies to innovate faster, adapt, and be flexible. Freelancers are better, faster, cheaper," - said Matthew Mottola, Founder of Venture L during our Freelance Business Month last October.

Companies like Koch Industries have been thriving thanks to freelancers. Its Talent Advisor Preston Mossman shared these crucial points about what kind of work improvements companies can expect:
  • Cut costs
    Without a middleman, the freelancer gets paid a little more and the company is saving money.
  • Increased speed
    Because freelancers tend to work faster. "When we post a project we hear back within a day or two, which is lightning speed from an organizational point of view! We've been able to speed up projects by weeks which means bringing a project to market earlier which is huge from our point of view," - says Preston.
  • Access to skills
    Freelancers can bring skills companies can't justify hiring an employee for. No matter how big your organization, you can't have experts in every field. But you can access expert freelancers.
  • Ability to experiment
    Companies can experiment in ways they couldn't before. Where before you'd need to have a lot of certainty about an idea, now we can move much faster with independent contractors.
What are the skills HR professionals need to gain to work efficient with freelancers?
Great HR managers already understand the necessity to adopt more agile and flexible approaches to hiring workforce. They also realise that this new world is demanding them to further hone their skills to ensure a long-term collaboration with self-employed and freelance workers.

As Waw Asia puts it, progressive HR managers need to possess these skills:
  • Understanding of how freelance economy functions
    hiring a freelancer is not the same as hiring a fixed-term employee. The contractual arrangements around contingency workers, on-boarding and off-boarding processes are different and have certain specifics each HR should be aware of. Understanding how freelancers pricing their services and where to find them would help them to gain the best talent quick. Join Freelance Business below for more information on all these topics.
  • Self-discipline and planning
    great challenges arise from poor time management, especially when working remote, across time zones and with different cultures. Here is where you can learn time and project management skills.
  • Strong communication
    and the ability to work with employees under different time zones and remotely - this involves learning as best as you can the notions of psychology, copywriting for better written communication, conflict resolution and world culture.
  • Coaching and advising
    the most performant HR managers engage with the workers and contractors not only at the beginning of the project, but at every stage of collaboration. Strong relationships can help freelancers feel welcome in a company even if they are not the team members on paper. Such an approach can motivate them to perform better and communicate openly. Here you can learn more about emotional intelligence and coaching.
  • Persuasion and engagement
    you don't have to be a nominal leader to develop leadership skills. If freelancers disengage or underperform, like any workers, you need to re-establish the connection and reconnect them to your common goal and mission. You can easily learn new leadership skills online.
Collaboration with freelancers can be easy and enjoyable, with the fast results and deliverables, and lots of costs cut. To ensure the best collaboration, both parties need to invest their time and effort into building a respectful rapport, communicate clearly and think long-term.

Freelance Business is developing a network of independent professionals, leading organisations and freelance economy suppliers. We'd love to hear from progressive companies about their experiences hiring and working with freelancers to share them with our community. Get in touch with us info@freelancebusiness.eu

Last year, we dedicated an entire week to the topic of Future of Work and HR during the Freelance Business Month. This year, we're releasing our Freelance Business Book with collected actionable and brilliant ideas from the most talented speakers that shared their wisdom. You can join the waiting list now.

And the next Freelance Business Month is coming again in October 2021. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more or apply as a speaker here.

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