The way we work has changed. Thanks to an influx of Millennial workers that came of age in the Great Recession, the workplace has adapted to what is commonly called The Gig Economy.
During the last recession, most companies downsized. Long-term, permanent positions became more scarce. Younger workers adapted. Millennials became proficient in a wide variety of skills. Many started working as freelancers.
Then came the Affordable Care Act. The ACA required employers to provide healthcare to permanent full-time employees. This made it more expensive for companies to hire salaried employees. Industries responded in kind, replacing full-time positions with project-based contract workers.
Today, despite a healthier economy, many companies are still slow to add full-time permanent positions.
Instead, they rely on a blended workforce.
What is a blended workforce?
Rather than outsourcing all of their projects, companies are choosing to augment their full-time workforce by hiring short-term contractors and freelancers. Thus creating a blend of temporary and permanent staff.
A blended workforce can offer many benefits over conventional staffing practices. And more and more companies are moving toward that model.
If you’re looking into shifting to a blended workforce, here a few of the benefits that you can expect.
Lower staffing overhead
Hiring and retaining personnel is expensive. There’s no way around it.
When you factor in benefits like health insurance, bonuses and retirement packages, the cost of a full-time permanent employee is even higher. Also, when things slow down at your company, you may end up paying for more productivity than you’re getting.
A blended workforce can lower your company’s staffing overhead significantly.
For instance, you may strategically hire a permanent full-time staff to manage the bare-bones or certain critical operations of your company. For work overload or non-core projects, it may not be wise to hire extra permanent full-time workers that might become unnecessary in a few months.
Instead, bring in temp contractors to augment the team or to tackle a specific project.
When the overload subsides or the assignment is over, you won’t be writing the extra paychecks.
With a blended workforce, your payroll expands and contracts as demanded by the work you need completed.
A fresh perspective
How much does workplace culture affect an employee’s outlook? A lot.
Years in the same role at a company can bias their thinking to the point where it is driven by memory rather than creativity. Anyone can get stuck in doing things the same way. It happens.
And sure, there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel. If something works, it works.
But just because something works, that doesn’t mean it can’t work better.
Freelance contractors are unburdened by the memory of what your company has done before.
Their experience is also widely varied, which makes them a potential gold mine of new approaches.
This can drive innovation simply because they provide a fresh perspective.
More passionate workers
Nothing kills productivity like burnout. Over-stretched staff can slowly lose the excitement they once brought to the table.
Independent contractors are less likely to suffer burnout. Because their work is varied, they have a higher rate of job satisfaction than their full-time counterparts.
Injecting a temp employee into the team has the potential to reignite that spark of passion and raise the engagement level of everyone on the project.
More specialized skills
Many contractors find they get more work the more they specialize. So they are constantly honing and perfecting those skills. This is something you can take advantage of, bringing the skillset in, only when you need it.
You can, then, raise the level of your team’s capability on demand.
And there’s a good chance you can bring in a skillset from the outside that is at a much higher level than you could afford to maintain on a full-time basis.
A more flexible work environment
As Millennials have entered the workforce, they have come with a different set of values than the generations before them.
In general, they value the quality of personal relationships – maybe more so than previous generations. Also, they want careers that are flexible enough to create a good work-life balance.
By its very nature, contract work is a flexible working arrangement. Skilled freelance contractors feel more in control when they work and who they work with.
Creating a workplace that embraces a blended team can create the flexibility needed to attract high performing candidates for your project while maintaining some level of stability and continuity.
When your workforce is more passionate, more skilled, and more satisfied, you are sure to see growth in productivity.
Brainstorming sessions become more fruitful. Your staff becomes more collaborative. The quality of your projects rises.
You may even find there is a competitive aspect that is introduced to the team. Long term, full time permanent staff may spend less time “at the water cooler” when they are exposed to the energy of more fluid and productive team members.
Is a blended workforce right for you?
Not every company can make use of a blended workforce. Some industries require the consistency that only a full-time in-house workforce can provide.
But if you have projects or workload that vary over the course of the year, or have specialized needs that aren’t core to your business, or even if you suspect your team is not consistently as productive as they could be, a blended workforce could be something to look into.
To find out how Turesol has helped other companies like yours successfully integrate and manage a blended workforce, contact us today.