The gig economy is growing quickly, and freelancing professionals are increasingly key to a company’s success.
By 2027 in the U.S., freelancers will comprise 50.9 percent of the total workforce. HR must therefore adapt to new realities of talent management and acquisition. Industry analyst Jon Younger says HR needs a bigger vision than before. The challenge will be to provide a blended workforce that can help organizations thrive.
Whether organizations are seeking specialized skills or accommodating workers’ demands for flexibility, freelancers will continue to be a major component of the workforce.
In this post, we explore the tech tools that HR teams can employ to tap into freelancing talent and integrate it into the company’s output.
How AI Helps Recruiters Find and Build Relationships With Freelancers
Dinah Wisenberg Brin at SHRM notes how companies around the world have already embraced artificial intelligence as an important element in their recruiting. Citing data from Mercer, Wisenberg Brin points to chatbots as one popular example of what format this technology takes.
But AI has many more applications in recruitment and talent management than chatbots. As we’ve written about before, AI can scan candidates’ profiles and even social media presences to identify matches between a company’s needs and people’s skills.
The relationship is a little different with freelancers, however, who have much more autonomy in their work than do in-house employees. Casey Hill, growth manager at Bonjoro, stresses that HR teams need to take extra steps to find out what motivates freelancers. This will help the HR team get a better idea of how to make freelancer collaboration successful.
By understanding each other’s needs and expectations, both HR teams and freelancers can maximize their performance and outcomes.
5 Tips for Using HR Tech to Find and Hire Great Freelance Workers
While freelance workers require talent-management considerations that are somewhat different from what permanent employees require, finding the best talent is a similar process, regardless of employment status.
1. Match Skills to Job Requirements
Job descriptions will matter less in the future. Instead, companies will seek to hire professionals for specific projects or campaigns, says Zoe Harte, SVP of HR and talent innovation at Upwork.
Plus, workers need to upskill and reskill as the demands of work change. Matching freelancers to the demands of a given project will be key for HR teams. They will need to be flexible in their approach and innovative in their thinking, Harte adds.
Referring to Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce HR Report, Harte notes how people’s skills are becoming more specialized, but which of those skills is most in-demand can change rapidly. That’s where freelance workers come in.
It’s also important to know what skills are lacking in-house and whether freelancers can supplement those. Darren Kall, senior director of user experience at Sophos, says knowing what your freelancers excel at is key..
AI-powered software can define exactly what is needed for a particular role or project to yield the best candidate or freelancer for the job.
2. Profile the Ideal Candidate
Key to successful hiring and management of freelance workers is ensuring they are suited to the demands of the project and company. This is why freelancer platforms like Upwork and Toptal are built around user profiles.
HR software, too, creates a database of candidate profiles, and it’s much easier to browse and segment than one on a proprietary platform. Further, AI-powered HR software like Eightfold is able to access any public information on candidates as well as social media profiles to form a clearer employment profile of the candidate in question.
Based on the profiles of top-performing freelancers, then, HR teams can build out a profile of an ideal candidate for a given role.
3. Select the Right Wording for the Job Listing
A good advertisement for freelance talent should include a detailed description of what is required of the person, the type of project, and timeframes for completion. Getting the listing right can mean the difference between an engaged candidate or a freelancer sending off multiple job applications, says Delia Tugui at Business 2 Community. Keep the description detailed but worded simply and accessibly.
The content of the job listing isn’t trivial; it can be the deciding factor as to whether you attract the right people for an open position. In general, the more personally targeted, the better. A personalized career site can ensure that the right people see the right want ads at the right time.
With personalized sites, the freelance candidates can get routed to the job opportunities that are better fits for their skills and experiences.
4. Create a Comprehensive Freelancer Onboarding Process
Freelancers may not stick around as long as full-time employees do, but they still benefit from a structured onboarding process and positive candidate experience.
Kristen Ruttgaizer, HR director at Igloo Software, says proper onboarding helps freelancers understand what is expected from them.
She has a few focus points for HR teams when it comes to working with freelancers. For instance, payment information should be set up immediately. Paying freelancers in a timely fashion will help maintain a positive working relationship — especially in a world where many freelancers struggle just to get paid.
Having suitable contracts and freelancer policies on an easily accessible platform is also key. HR teams can use talent experience software to improve that part of the onboarding process.
5. Set Up Talent Management Platforms and Processes
Have a plan and process for talent management in place before you even begin reaching out to freelancers.
As with full-time employees, talent management systems should be able to identify freelancers’ skills and performance levels on certain projects. That data can be used to inform whether those freelancers would be well-suited for more challenging projects in the future.
Data-Driven Freelancer Relationships
Sourcing the right candidates, engaging them in a positive hiring process, and finding ways that they can use their skills in the future are essential to positive relationships between HR and freelancers. AI-powered tech can help CHROs and their teams meet these core requirements when hiring both full-time employees and freelancers.
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