How to leverage a flexible workforce to scale faster and easily
GDP figures released so far this year point to a lower-than-projected global growth rate but despite persistent chatter about a potential economic slowdown, companies continue to step on the gas pedal when it comes to hiring. This reality is underscored by the US market where the unemployment rate has hit a 50 year low at under 4 percent.
Perpetually pressured by stakeholders to demonstrate growing profits, organizations are expected to stay a step ahead of the competition and move at an increasingly faster speed, while increasing efficiency which makes the war for talent as ferocious as ever.
“Move fast and break things”
resulted in broken hiring practices
The motto “move fast and break things” that has permeated our startups and corporate culture, while a catchy phrase, is irreconcilable with our current recruiting practices.
How can companies be expected to scale and disrupt their markets when the average time to fill is 42 days? And if we look into more competitive industries and mission-critical functions the scenario is even worse. Engineering positions take an average of 62 days to fill and in the tech industry employee attrition rate is at an all-time high, with employees sticking around for less than 2 years on average. Most troubling of all is that even after all of that work, companies are not guaranteed an employee. According to a recent report 30% of hires leave tech firms within the first three months.
Even established tech giants, offering great compensation packages, are not immune to the high turnover rates. According to recent reports, median tenure is just one year at Amazon and 1.1 years at Google.
If technology and market dynamics are evolving at breakneck speed, why are recruiting processes lagging behind? The delay in the hiring process is impacting productivity across all departments in organizations as teams struggle to fill out their ranks. Companies need the agility to respond to business challenges with an adequate workforce, sourcing talent much, much quicker.
Finding the right candidate is a little like dating
As much as we may rely on objective data, hiring is, generally speaking, still a subjective process with an emotional factor influencing the decision. We invest a significant amount of time trying to find THE one.
Someone skilled who fits our culture. Someone ambitious but patient, experienced but still hungry, self-confident but humble enough to always keep learning. We try to find that perfect balance that will ensure the candidate will go the distance and establish a long-term relationship. It’s not a marriage proposal, but we almost treat it as such.
With huge turnover rates necessitating hiring more often, companies need to adapt to keep their teams filled. The protracted process of traditional hiring is having trouble keeping pace with the needs of companies and also missing out on the growing trend of freelancing.
A growing number of candidates are choosing freelancing over full-time employment, already making up over 33% of the American workforce (about 57 million). These are experienced and engaged professionals who are constantly honing their skill sets, as stated by Upwork CEO
“Freelancers think more proactively about
market trends and refresh their skills more
often than traditional employees, helping to
advance our economy.”
Freelancers possess the skills, knowledge and motivation your team needs to execute faster and more effectively than they do today.
Think of it as Tinder for work only you swipe based on skills instead of looks. An on-demand source of talent ready to join your company and hit the ground running, with zero commitment expectations. And it takes days on average to find them, not weeks.
This takes away the traditional hurdles associated with adding to the company’s headcount, fast tracks the process of team building and allows for unparalleled flexibility and speed of execution. You can build a roster of team members you can turn to at the drop of a hat, according to business needs.
This is for hiring managers and business owners what dating is for people before deciding on a long-term relationship: the ability to meet many people without having to commit right away. There is no risk and you only keep going out if both parties are pleased with the arrangement, and excited about what the future holds. If not, you move on.
Switching to a on-demand approach
to fill talent gaps as needed
For all the money and time spent perfecting our corporate hiring practices with rigorous vetting, skill testing, panel interviews, and so on, it is still widely agreed upon that the best way to ensure a successful hire is to work on a project together and evaluate both the outcome and cultural fit. Hiring freelancers is the perfect compromise for this sort of trial run approach.
But it’s much more than a simple bridge to a full-time offer. It’s an incredible opportunity. Once you embrace such an approach and loosen up the hiring process, it becomes a true “pay by deliverables” model, allowing every part of the organization to scale up and scale out as needed.
It’s clear that the emergence of the freelance marketplace has changed the hiring process, and companies should adapt to that. In the coming year, companies should try out a new strategy for bringing talent on board: dating freelancers. Changing the strategy will allow team managers to make quick decisions about outsourcing tasks and assignments without going through the cumbersome efforts required to hire what you might consider a decent candidate. This will allow you to scale your organization much faster, deliver on more goals and be far more effective from an ROI perspective.