The conversation around The Great Resignation is a constantly evolving discussion. There are many positions on why it’s happening, whether or not it should be happening, and how it will change in the future. We’re not going to be talking about any of that today.
If you’re an HR leader, recruiter, or hiring manager, you probably don’t have time to even think about the answers to questions like this. The only thing on your mind is how you’re going to find the talent you need during a global talent shortage that shows no signs of slowing down.
Not every company is faring the same right now in terms of bringing on new talent. And for some companies, it comes down to their attitudes about working with freelancers or a more blended workforce, as opposed to only considering full-time employees. One of the reasons so many people are quitting their jobs is that more and more people want to work for themselves, and have the flexibility that comes with it. Naturally, companies that have a less rigid view of what workforces are supposed to look like are struggling a lot less right now.
If you’re having trouble filling spots right now, there are six big reasons that freelancers might be the answer that you’re looking for, and a few different ways you can leverage them to help you get through one of the most challenging times for hiring in the past few decades.
Don’t limit your talent pool when it’s already pretty small to begin with
As competition for talent gets more and more intense, you’re already working with a pretty small pool. And eliminating freelance talent from that pool is eliminating a pretty staggering number of workers. If you’re set on only — or even mostly — hiring FTEs, you’re only making your job that much more difficult.
Not every role will make sense to fill with a freelancer, but take a step back and ask yourself if all of the roles you’re struggling to fill actually need to be permanent hires. More and more companies are starting to learn that many of the roles that they assumed required an FTE can actually work quite well with freelance workers.
Freelance talent can be found and onboarded very quickly
Sourcing and onboarding full-time employees can be a really lengthy process. And even once you do find the right person, you’ll usually need to wait for them to give notice to their current employer and finish up there before they can begin working for you.
Freelancers, on the other hand, almost always take multiple clients at the same time. So once you find one with the right skill-set and the bandwidth to take your project, they’re typically able to get started a lot more quickly than their full-time counterparts.
Freelance talent can save you money
Depending on how your business operates, hiring freelancers can also save you a lot of money. Some roles will naturally have downtime and busier seasons than others. Hiring freelancers lets you pay them when they’re needed, for as long as they’re needed, and never more than that.
Even outside of seasonality, hiring freelancers can help you think more about how much time someone would actually need to do any given job. To assume that all roles will take the same amount of hours per week is a little crazy when you actually think about it. Working with freelancers lets you pay someone for the actual amount of hours it takes them to complete any given job or project, and that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Freelance talent can keep you afloat
Not all roles and jobs make sense to be filled with freelancers. Let's talk about those roles for a moment. Hiring someone full-time was a lengthy process even before the Great Resignation. And whatever your timeline was before, it’s probably gotten quite a bit longer.
When someone leaves your company, they leave a gap within the organization. Not all roles are the same and some of those gaps will feel a lot more painful than others. In these instances, it may make sense to temporarily bring on a freelancer to fill the gap while you’re looking for the right person long-term.
Sure, they’re not going to gain all of the knowledge about your company that they would if they were staying for a few years. But for roles that are necessary to keep the business running effectively, this is a better problem to have than not having someone at all.
And let’s be honest, full-time employees tend to stay for shorter periods of time than they used to anyway. You may be avoiding freelance talent because you feel like it’s not worth it to bring someone on for 6 months or 9 months, but the truth is that the same may be said of your full-time workers. It may be worth it to get someone in the door now.
Freelance talent isn’t what it used to be — and that’s a good thing
Freelancers used to be seen as best for lower-level, less strategic jobs. They also tended to be viewed for a certain type of role, like graphic designers, copywriters, and software developers. As more and more talent — particularly higher-level talent — moves to freelance and consulting this list is growing to include a lot more than those titles.
When you’re looking at the different roles you’re having trouble filling, it can be really helpful to do a little digging into what freelance talent on the market looks like for that type of role. If you see a lot of promising talent in that field, chances are you could find a great freelancer to fill your spot.
Freelancers can help your company stay more agile, whatever tomorrow brings
If the past few years have taught us anything it’s that the only thing we can be certain about is uncertainty. It’s pretty impossible to know what your business needs will be a year or two years from now, especially when so many factors that can affect your business are completely out of your control.
Leveraging contingent workers is one of the best things your company can do to stay agile. Because they’re easier to onboard, you’re able to keep up with a business that is growing quickly. And in the event that you need to scale down for any reason, freelancers help insulate you from needing to do layoffs. You can pause or stop work with your freelancers until the need to scale down subsides. This helps minimize layoffs of your full-time workers during an economic downtown, recession, or anything else the market throws your way.
Working more effectively with freelancers
Whether you’re looking to start working with freelancers or planning to leverage them more, things can get disorganized and inefficient pretty quickly without a central management system. Learn more about how implementing an FMS can help you streamline their management and keep all of your teams on the same page.