It used to be, you’d take one job and try to stick with it for decades, wanting more freedom, but feeling chained to the desk because of the security of a paycheck and benefits package. That’s not how work happens anymore.
There’s been so much good momentum in the open marketplace over the last several years. Companies like Upwork and Fivver that offer on-demand freelance talent have gone public, and more is discovered, studied and communicated every day about the freelance-powered economy. And that economy shows no signs of slowing. Companies like Google and Apple already have more freelancers than full-time employees. As research continues to prove that open business models are better, faster and cheaper than those built on analog models, many business leaders are heeding the call to bring the freelance model into their organizations.
On-demand freelance talent models are creating more choice and refreshing fluidity for businesses and workers. They are also challenging (or improving, depending how you look at it!) ideas about who “owns” talent and who guides how we assess job performance and how we think about job security. Here are three trends we’re seeing in the marketplace that have turned classic work paradigms upside down.
1. The Talent is Now in Charge
Talent is top dog these days, and companies had better provide a good environment in which to work, or the talent will walk. That’s what we’ve been hearing over and over. There has never been more opportunity for the worker to build skills and capabilities and find relevant projects to be involved with. Freelance talent is enjoying the flexibility of project work, and those highly skilled are getting paid well and can call their own shots. Platforms are increasingly supporting this type of work and becoming more sophisticated and providing an improved experience and in some cases benefits, for the freelancer.
2. HR Is Creating New Internal Employee Structures
You can’t look at this phenomenal shift in work culture without considering what it means for the role of HR, and for the traditional company employee-employer model, in general. The classic model of hiring staff, leveraging staff and eliminating staff no longer flies. A company must instead embrace the changing nature of the workforce, and utilize several models for employing talent, not just this classic approach. Companies that invest in a multidimensional workforce will be better prepared to embrace the plurality of the new world of work and execute at a pace more likely to keep them relevant and able to meet the needs of a quickly changing market that expects projects that used to take weeks or months to instead be completed in days or hours.
3. Platforms are Offering Ad-Hoc Freelance Teams
Platforms are making it increasingly easier for companies to connect to talent not just individually, but as a team. Some platforms (like Topcoder, for example) are offering programs that allow the company to access a diversified pool of talent that can change as project needs change. There’s an upside to this model for both freelancers and companies. The company benefits by accessing a bigger pool of people and skill sets. The worker in turn get more security with a set amount of work but is also free to do additional work elsewhere or to get more work within the pool.
These three trends are reshaping our expectations, both as leaders of companies, and as workers. If we shift our cultural thinking about what work looks like, and how we can get our larger financial needs met, the options open up, and there are so many choices for how we can live our lives.