Tapping into the Talent Economy to Attract Real Expertise Startups can access talent from across the globe and choose from the best of the best to meet their specific needs.

By FlexTal

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This article was written by Kay VanAntwerpen, a member of the Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble content team. Entrepreneur NEXT is our Expert solutions division leading the future of work and skills-based economy. If you're struggling to find, vet, and hire the right Experts for your business, Entrepreneur NEXT is a platform to help you hire the experts you need, exactly when you need them. From business to marketing, sales, design, finance, and technology, we have the top 3 percent of Experts ready to work for you.

Generational changes, employee priorities, and global events (such as COVID-19) have altered the way we look at the workplace. For employees, flexibility is now paramount. More than a third of workers in the U.S. are already part of the gig economy, and by the end of 2020, freelancers are expected to make up about 40 percent of the workforce. Ninety-two percent of millennials say they prefer jobs that allow them to work from home.

As a result, the most reliable, hardy, and talented specialized workers—the kind who have paid their dues with tens of thousands of hours in the field—are moving to positions that allow them location independence and scheduling freedom. Companies need the ability to tap into the freelance economy to attract real expertise.

Competition to attract these employees is fierce. Major organizations like Google and Apple have deeper pockets than smaller startups, and are able to offer enticing benefits and prestigious positions that cause a resume to glow. Plus, there are a lot of smaller startups grasping for talent. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor estimates 50 million startups will launch within the next year.

This is where the blended workforce changes everything—with more talented workers moving to organizations that allow them to work for multiple clients, skilled work can be spread across a number of organizations any given week.

Blended workforce changes everything.

Advances in technology have offered us new opportunities in workplace development. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how effective and powerful the mobile workforce can be, and how quickly it can establish itself in a well-functioning order. Now, at the press of a button, startups can access talent from across the globe, and choose from the best of the best to meet their specific needs.

These technological advances will bring us to a place where your permanent, full-time employees are able to work alongside and benefit from your temporary, external experts.

It's the future of the workforce. In one survey, HR leaders in Silicon Valley indicated that they anticipated the workforce to reach a place where 50 percent of the standard organization's talent is external.

This allows small companies to hire on a project-by-project basis, with access to the biggest and best talent. It also enables organizations in unusual locations to remotely engage professionals who cannot travel to them.

The number one problem shared among entrepreneurs today is finding, vetting, hiring, and retaining expertise.

How the freelance workforce benefits companies.

Higher performance: Organizations with the best possible expertise are more likely to achieve their goals. Experts can spot skill gaps, or help inform the most effective business decisions. If a startup doesn't need experts on a full-time basis, they may not be able to attract the best talent—but now that talent is accessible to them.

Growth and innovation: The elite professionals you find in the freelance world can do more than accomplish the tasks you assign them—they can assist in the development of your own workers. Working alongside the best professionals in the world, your employees will grow and develop at faster rates.

Faster work: It can take six months or more to hire a full-time professional in a skilled labor position, and that's without factoring in the risk of hiring an employee who isn't the right fit or decides to leave right away. That's time many small startups can't afford. Hiring from the blended workforce lets you sidestep this process, instead taking on a skilled professional who will get the job done in the time required. This will free you up to search for a full-time professional in the meantime.

Money saved: Because you're not paying employee benefits, which make up 31.6 percent of an employee's salary, you'll save even more money. What's more, the employee will also make more money because they work with less overhead.

What's involved on your end?

So you've weighed all the factors, and decided hiring a freelancer is the best decision for you. Here's what you should do to prepare:

Delineate clear task details: Nothing will drive away a freelancer like unexpected work on a previously assigned task, especially if they're getting paid by the project. Before you speak with your first candidate, create an official job description document that defines the work expected, the skills required, the rate of pay (unless you plan to negotiate), and the amount of time you expect your freelancer to commit.

Establish a budget: When you create a job description, research the average freelance rate in the category you're hiring for. Be sure to factor in the experience level of the individual you intend to hire. And remember that freelancers run a little more expensive than the typical hourly employee because they pay for their own insurance and supplies. You'll still save money because you're not hiring for the long haul, simply for a short term task.

Have all additional information on hand: When you've connected with your freelancer, communication is absolutely imperative. Have all the necessary details to complete the task at hand. You may have to share proprietary information. Writers and graphic designers need familiarity with your company and the way it operates in order to most effectively design creative material. All of this should be ready to go at your first meeting.

To hire the Experts you need, exactly when you need them, visit next.entrepreneur.com to schedule a meeting with our Expert solutions team.

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FlexTal™ is the No. 1 flexible talent-matching platform. Every day, we match organizations small and large with elite independent contractors for flexible hourly and project-based engagements.

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