Insight

The boundaryless workforce: the right talent, right away

In today’s fast-changing business environment, companies need to be able to ramp up resources quickly and efficiently to remain competitive and cost effective.

Say your company’s marketing department wants to develop a new mobile app. Or your customer service group is getting slammed with a seasonal boost in calls and needs more reps to handle the increase. Or finance thinks it can cut costs if a third party handles some basic accounting functions.

Typically, organizations have turned to outsourcing as an economical way to farm out certain corporate functions. But the structure, pricing models, service levels and goals traditional sourcing arrangements often are rooted the ambitions and goals of 1980s and just don’t fit current needs and market conditions

In today’s fast-changing business environment, companies need to be able to ramp up resources quickly and efficiently to remain competitive and cost effective. This need can be especially difficult to answer in today’s tight labor market, which is making it difficult to find and retain talent locally as well as globally to fill essential roles in the corporate back office, from finance to information technology to human resources.

For many companies, the answer is a new entry in the labor market: the contingent workforce platform. While there is much market buzz around automating the workforce via intelligent automation technologies and services, organizations still need real, live humans to perform many key work activities.  These contingent workforce platforms (aka virtual freelance platforms such as…..) can help address the speed and agility problems that established service-delivery methods can’t always handle—and do so at often at a fraction of the cost these established models.

Companies have always used temporary workers in the form of freelancers and independent contractors. But contingent workforce platforms advance this model and use the Internet and related technologies to enable companies to connect with a global pool of general and expert workers that is potentially—well—boundaryless. The same technology that enables these workers to perform their task from practically anywhere can be utilized to find, source and manage workers. While almost any work that can be done virtually can be done through the contingent workforce model, the most popular task are software development and technology, creative and multimedia, clerical and data entry, sales and marketing support, writing and translation, and professional services.

Some of the leading contingent workforce platforms are Upwork, Gigster, Toptal, Expert 360, Pivitol Labs, CloudFactory, and Freelacer.com.

Along with companies, professionals—as they become aware that employment is no longer a guaranteed contract and seek more flexible work arrangements—are increasingly warming to the idea of joining a contingent workforce platform.

Companies that use a contingent workforce platform can expect these benefits:

  • Contingent workforce platforms cut out service provider fees, and local pay rates offer a number of geographical options to achieve a desired cost structure to meet the project budget.
  • Companies take on less risk with a contingent workforce platform because the flexibility in the work arrangements reduces the burden of service or employment contracts.
  • Companies aren’t limited to their sites or a service provider’s active locations—they have access to talent around the globe.
  • Widening the pool of resources, employers now have access to many more options for talent, significantly increasingly the likelihood of finding as well as reducing the wait time for the correct resource.
  • Companies can identify resources with skill sets previously hard to identify or difficult to find.

Given the benefits, companies are increasingly engaging contingent workforce models. Research from the University of Oxford found a 26 percent increase in the number of projects sourced through contingent workforce platform between the start of 2016 and 2017.

To be sure, a contingent workforce arrangement isn’t for everyone—yet. A lot depends on the level of a company’s digital transformation and the complexity of the tasks it want to hire out. Nevertheless, contingent workforce platforms, with their potential to find the right talent quickly and economically, are definitely worth a look.

To find out more, please view this short video, or download our white paper, “Ready for a boudaryless workforce?” You can also listen to our Advice Worth Keeping podcast, where I discuss contingent workforces with Atul Shahi and Jason Miller, both from KPMG’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory group