Organizing Your Business Around the Modern Workforce
By 2020, 40% of the American Workforce will be independent contractors. Traditionally, contract work is associated with Uber drivers, copywriters, and Airbnb hosts who do contract work to supplement their regular income. In reality, highly skilled individuals – including IT technicians, lawyers, and financial advisors – are opting for contract work. As highly skilled individuals penetrate the contingent workforce, agile businesses must accommodate to compete in the modern marketplace.
Many businesses don’t recognize that acquiring skilled contractors to do work can be as selective as finding new customers, especially because businesses should seek workers who will add the most value. Not only should businesses be very intentional about selecting the right contractors, they must maintain positive relationships with their contract workers. Contract workers choose when they work and who they work for, so it is imperative that companies put their best foot forward when seeking talent.
It’s no secret — contractors prefer working for appealing companies and completing rewarding work. The transparency of freelance management platforms allows companies who actively engage their contract workers to see significant and immediate benefits. Companies with favorable reviews from contract workers tend to receive bids from higher-quality contractors and are able to route work quicker than those who don’t. Additionally, businesses with a positive reputation among contractors are able to scale faster. According to a 2016 Gallup study, “The true score correlation between employee engagement and composite performance is 0.43. Business units scoring in the top half on employee engagement nearly double their odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.” The same principle applies to independent contractors. According to the 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study, 96% of independent contractors are committed to the success of the businesses they work for. Therefore, businesses who keep contractors needs in mind will prevail over those who don’t.
Companies can make small changes to their current organization to keep contract workers happy and engaged. For example, by approving completed work in a timely fashion, contract workers get paid faster and are more likely to work for you again. Further, independent contractors respond favorably to businesses who communicate their expectations and needs clearly. Setting up specific standards and protocols for the process of finding, routing, reviewing, and paying technicians can help smooth the transition from a W2 labor force to one that also includes contract workers.
In sum, contract workers are the future of the American workforce. Companies who fail to compete for the best contractors will fall behind. As contractors pick and choose who they work for and what kinds of work they take on, companies who embrace contingent labor as part of their business strategy will be highly favorable to the influx of contract workers.