Freelancers og fastansatte arbejder sammen

How to manage a
Blended workforce

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Despite a strong tradition of Danish workers generally being salaried staff, we are experiencing that temporary, contract and freelance workers are becoming increasingly normal in workplaces across Denmark. While both workers and employers are beginning to see the advantage of the associated flexibility, contingent workforce comes with a unique set of talent management issues to be aware of.

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What is a blended workforce?

A blended workforce usually refers to the strategic mix and use of permanent full- and part-time employees, freelancers, contractors and/or temporary employees.
By leveraging a blended workforce, organisations can quickly react to fluctuating demand, access niche skill-sets, optimise costs, upskill permanent staff – and reduce risk by not putting all of their eggs in the same employment basket. If you want to read more about the benefits of using contingent workers in your organisation or what the process is like, we suggest you read more about freelance recruitment here.

How to get the most from a blended workforce

While non-permanent employees are nothing new, the recent rapid rise in this form of working results from a rise in projects, the ability to access difficult-to-find technical expertise, the rise of remote work, and the attractiveness of a flexible workforce that can be released at short notice without financial penalty. The on-demand and as-needed nature of temp workers, contractors and freelancers is also far more cost-effective than keeping skills unessential to the day-to-day operation of an organisation in-house.
While there are many benefits of this form of employment, it can also raise people management issues, one of which is how to make the freelancer feel part of the organisation when actually being self-employed or how to avoid a loss of knowledge, when the freelancer's contract ends. The benefits of freelance or contract employees are greatly increased therefore when an employer integrates them into the existing team and organisation.

Integrate permanent employees and freelancers

Integrating freelancers into your organisation ensures the foundations are there to build a strong and productive working relationship.
We see a tendency that the duration of assignments has been increasing, and it's especially important to integrate contract employees who will be working with you for more than just a few weeks into your team. Engaging freelancers in your organisation's goals, as they are a representation of your brand – and it will enable them to perform better, when they understand the bigger picture.

6 ways to integrate freelancers into your team:

Ensure that your contractors are aware of your organisation's values, as well as their team's way of working. If you're bringing an entire outsourced team into your organisation, it is essential that they are otherwise engaged with the organisation and its' employees.

Provide them with a thorough induction to your brand and your systems, so they can quickly access the necessary information to perform their assignment.

Provide them with the necessary context of the tasks and projects they will complete, so that they understand the impact of their work.

Communicate what is expected from the freelancer to be considered successful, and give feedback continuously – this will improve both the outcome and the freelancers view of your organisation; keeping the door open for rehiring the freelancer, if you're happy with their work. Or that they will recommend you to others in their network.

Introduce them to the team and what each team member's role and area of responsibility is – as well as to which extent they will be working together with the freelancer. Encourage that they participate in social activities with the team or relevant training sessions. They will likely appreciate the option to network and learn something new.

Ensure that your employees understand why the freelancer is there – and again, to what extent they will be expected to work with the freelancer, what the freelancer's skill-set is, how they can learn from them, etc.

Essentially, if you want to benefit from your contingent workforce: Make it a priority to build good relations in the same way you do with your permanent staff. By treating them as part of the team and organisation, they will be able to quickly understand and access the necessary resources, policies and processes; allowing them to be more productive and produce higher quality results. As well as increasing the chance that they'll work with your organisation again – and next time, it will be even easier and faster to onboard them, as they already understand your systems and vision.
And maybe most importantly, good communication and processes will ensure that essential knowledge does not get lost when the contract ends.

Provide training and have them provide training for your employees

For longer contracts (and 54% of freelancers prefer projects longer than 9 months) it’s advisable to provide organisational and systems training similar to that offered to your permanent employees. While it may seem counter-intuitive to spend the time on someone who's only there temporary, the freelancer will be more productive thanks to this investment.
Additionally, if you're working with an especially skilled freelancer or someone with a niche skill-set, you may benefit from requesting that they help teach and up-skill your permanent employees – however, make sure to make this clear already in the recruitment process, as not all freelancers will be comfortable in a teaching role.

Discuss performance

For at opbygge det mest produktive forhold til dine freelancers og vikarer bør du regelmæssigt give feedback på deres præstationer – og modtage det. Ideelt set bør forholdet være et partnerskab, hvor I begge investerer i det bedst mulige resultat. Det betyder, at begge parter skal være åbne over for og give feedback i regelmæssige sessioner for at sikre produktivitet, resultater og engagement.

Give your contingent workforce a voice

Encourage any temporary workforce within your organisation to make suggestions – you hired them for their expert knowledge and skill-set, and it would frankly be foolish not utilise it to its full extent. By encouraging and appreciating their opinion, you'll be able to cultivate a culture which will improve the freelancers' understanding of your products, needs and processes, but also your permanent employees' opportunity for learning and up-skilling.
Also, access to your organisation’s private social network, regular updates from your managing director or involvement in team meetings give freelancers the opportunity to connect and share ideas and tap into the expertise of others.

Use a recruitment agency

Finally, we – naturally – firmly believe that using a recruitment agency who specialises within your field, can help manage your organisation's blended workforce.
A great agency will be able to provide you with a pool of qualified candidates with whom they already have a relationship with, expert insight into the current state of the talent market and reasonable hourly rates, and advice on how to best utilise freelancers in your specific case. Not to mention the time and resources saved on the recruitment process itself, including advertising projects, screening resumes and conducting interviews. Lastly, a recruitment agency will be able to help you stay up-to-date with the latest employment laws and regulations, ensuring your compliance.

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