The contingent workforce is becoming more and more established in the business world. In fact, most organizations have been working with freelancers, independent contractors and consultants for years. In our households too we are now indirectly familiar with it, just think of the Deliveroo courier who brings your favorite dish to your doorstep. The importance of contingent workers is likely to increase even more in the future and in the workplace the distinction between the fixed and flexible workforce will continue to fade.
Members of the contingent workforce allow the flexible deployment of staff where and when the need arises. These flexible employees often provide their own material and are also responsible themselves for matters such as training and arranging their health and social security entitlements. Companies that hire them can thus save on overhead costs.
Flexible workers, for their part, are their own boss and can organize themselves according to their interests and their current personal situation. They can look for assignments that match their current experience, or they can step out of their comfort zone and seek out for an assignment which gives them the chance to gain experience in other domains or sectors.
At the same time, there are also several challenges. The traditional recruitment process comes under pressure in this new form of collaboration because HR will not always be considered in the search for specific short-term profiles. Getting external employees up and running quickly is often a challenge too. In addition, flexible workers are traditionally regarded as a short-term solution and are not included in strategic workforce planning, which means that in the long run companies cannot always fully benefit from the knowledge and capabilities of their flexible workers.
A quick survey conducted by bridgX among several freelancers shows that the flexible workers themselves are mainly concerned about matters such as invoicing and paperwork for taxes. Those who work remotely also indicated to us that they were looking for tools with which they can provide proof of work on top of their timesheet.
How can companies manage this evolving workforce? What can HR do to support this evolution? In a subsequent blog post we will look at some of the solutions which try to respond to the challenges of managing the processes around flexible workers. Stay tuned!