Open talent platforms (or “talent communities”) have been around for decades but until recently many companies showed reluctance to make them a significant part of their workforce/talent strategy. That is changing. Deloitte estimates that talent platforms now manage over $2 billion in outsourced (freelance or contract) activity. In our recent 2020 trends report we explored how communities are growing rapidly to meet demands for general and niche skills. Still, many businesses are skeptical and assumptions can run wild. Here are three common myths and truths we see in the space:
Myth: If an employee isn’t FT, they’re not part of the team.
Truth: Blended teams are on the rise.
More businesses are viewing talent as networked ecosystems and are taking steps to create business talent models that integrate internal and external workers in teams, blending full-time/permanent hires with freelance, contract, or on-demand talent for flexibility, speed, and workforce sustainability.
Myth: Talent platforms are mostly for tech.
Truth: Talent platforms fill many gaps.
About 33% of talent services are focused on IT while others serve key functions such as operations, marketing, research and development, and product design and support. As businesses adopt a networked model, software and systems, such as the newly launched Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit, and apps and web-based team interfaces like Slack (which went public in 2019 and saw 37% growth in users) help businesses connect a non-local blended workforce.
Myth: Businesses look to platforms for temporary solutions.
Truth: Businesses are forming long-term relationships with platforms for improved access to highly skilled talent.
Talent communities/platforms increasingly provide access to highly skilled individuals and groups that would otherwise be missed by corporate talent outreach. Platforms like UpWork, Fiverr, 99Designs, Catalant, Topcoder, Freelancer.com, Toptal, Wazoku, Mathesia and others are growing quickly. In Q3 of 2019, UpWork reported revenue growth of 23% year-over-year to $78.8 million—and that more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies now use the platform.
Myth: Platforms can’t offer the same quality as traditional employees.
Truth: Many platforms prioritize quality and match you with top-level skills.
Platforms that recognize this concern have a clear advantage over those that are not. Many are bolstering their customer service, talent vetting, and matching capabilities and are serving a valuable HR function in the process: screening, sorting, and curating talent pools with specialized skills on behalf of their clients or partners.