The COVID-19 pandemic felt like it turned the world upside down, including flipping the job market from candidate-driven to one where employers gained the upper hand. As we studied the job market throughout the year, with both formal research and from our anecdotal evidence from the recruiting front-line, we found pandemic-inspired hiring freezes thawing as the public health emergency continued. Yet, talent demand for candidates in the hottest areas of marketing and all things digital hardly saw a downturn, as companies embraced digital approaches.
For companies that are launching critical initiatives and cautiously adjusting their talent needs as they move forward, there’s a team build-out strategy that leads to success– a total talent solution. This hybrid hiring approach calibrates a balance between the decision to bring on full-time talent and to hire freelancers as economic conditions improve, and risk-aversion lessens.
Specialized Freelance Talent On-Demand
Over the last decade, the Gig Economy has been gaining steam. Research of the independent worker trend abounds, and most studies agree that by the mid-2020s, over half the workforce will comprise some combination of freelance, independent contractor, contingent, and temporary labor. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend. Freelance and self-employed contract talent represent a considerable opportunity for employers who are hesitant to fill full-time roles. The expanding Gig workforce includes a diversity of skillsets and experience levels that have never been richer. Companies that hire freelancers apply highly specialized talent in precise ways to achieve their business goals. Gig professionals are often knowledge workers who choose the lifestyle because it compels them to continually upskill to stay in-demand and employable. Freelancers are often niche players with deep knowledge and well-honed expertise. They are more likely to be current on best practices, tools, and technology, bringing a laser focus that full-time employees don’t necessarily have the opportunity to achieve. For companies that hire freelancers, this targeted, in-demand talent means that mission-critical projects can advance, as the search for the perfect full-time employee continues or pauses, as business conditions dictate.
Reduce Burnout Improve Team Morale with Freelance Hires
While full-time roles remain unfilled, companies cannot risk the negative impact of a workload burden on the current team. Burnout is the enemy of employee engagement and productivity. So, whether for an immediate project or a long-term assignment, companies that hire freelancers find that gig workers lend a hand while improving overall team morale and reducing the risk of employee attrition. And beyond serving as full-time stop gaps, freelancers are a great solution for scaling the workforce with the natural ebbs and flow of the business. In regular polling of our freelance network, we consistently find that 100% are at the ready to be on-boarded and hit the ground running remotely.
Fine-tune Freelance Roles for When the Time is Right for Full-time Hiring
When a company decides to hire freelancers, managers can evaluate the filled roles in action. This provides the opportunity to confirm the skillset and experience level required, and to refine the job specifications accordingly for the open position. Hiring the wrong talent can be expensive. “Road testing” the filled role within the current team dynamic and under remote working conditions gives the employer a chance to try the skill set temporarily.
Turn-key, Tested Just-in-time Talent
Sometimes the freelancer turns out to be a perfect fit – not just functionally, but as a team match but a cultural one as well. More than half of 24 Seven’s freelance placements eventually convert to full-time employees for our clients. And in one of our recent research of freelance workers, 7 in 10 independent workers admitted that they would consider leaving the gig lifestyle behind for the right full-time role.
Adding Freelancers to the Talent Mix Has Never Been Easier
Working with a freelance recruiter like 24 Seven makes taking a hybrid approach to recruit and hire freelancers seamless. Having pioneered and perfected the freelance staffing model, we shoulder the burden of sourcing, vetting, and curating distinctively focused freelance talent for our clients. As the employer of record for this contingent labor, 24 Seven ensures that freelancers are appropriately classified according to U.S. Labor Department standards, and we handle their timesheets, payroll, taxes, and Worker’s Compensation. Some even qualify for benefits when they work with us. Our goal is to keep freelancers happy, so they have a positive experience while working for the client company, which in turn contributes to the client’s standing as a sought-after employer.
During prosperous times and periods of uncertainty, a flexible, agile workforce strategy that blends full-time and freelance hires is how the smartest companies successfully fine-tune their talent needs to business demands. For more resources on how to hire freelancers and hiring insights to inform your overall talent management strategy, click here.