An extended workforce can be a great way for your company to get the resources it needs without having to hire new employees. This type of workforce is made up of freelancers, consultants, contractors, and other professionals who are not employees.
By using an extended workforce, your company can save money on benefits and other costs associated with hiring new employees. Additionally, this type of workforce can help you get the skills and expertise you need quickly and easily. In this article, we will discuss why and how so many companies are turning to extended workforces in order to fill open positions and meet critical deadlines.
What is an extended workforce and why are so many companies using it?
Outside of an organization’s official workforce of employees, there is a pool of talent that can be tapped; this is the extended workforce or contingent workforce. The extended workforce isn’t necessarily temporary workers, it can include a variety of labor such as contingent workers, contractors, gig workers, specialists, consultants, and more.
Despite what many people believe, how long someone works isn’t what makes them either an independent contractor or employee. One of the main defining lines between the two is if someone can control how, when, and where they do their work. To learn more about classification, check out our article, How to Handle Worker Classification in 2022.
The use of contingent workers is on the rise
The use of a contingent workforce is on the rise as companies find themselves struggling to fill open positions and meet deadlines. In a recent article titled, The Extended Workforce Is A Cornerstone Of The Future Of Work, cites that: “47% of the average organization’s total workforce is considered “extended” or “non-employee.” This means that nearly half of the staff surrounding you (or, of course, working remotely) is comprised of temporary staff, SOW-based labor or professional services, gig workers, independent contractors, freelancers, etc.”
These numbers were growing before the pandemic, but the pandemic can be attributed with causing these numbers to grow more rapidly since 2020. Rather than just a method for businesses to use freelance talent however they needed it, the extended workforce provided a way for enterprises to make it through the world falling into disarray around them.
What are the benefits of using an extended workforce?
It’s clear that the use of contingent workers is increasing, but why? The benefits of using such a flexible workforce are many. An ADP article reported that “83% of business leaders believe contractors are more productive than employees, and an overwhelming majority (82%) of leaders surveyed agree that productivity is one of the top indicators of financial success or failure.”
There are a number of reasons why companies are turning to the contingent workforce. Some of the most common reasons include:
Hiring new employees can be expensive, with costs such as salaries, benefits, training, and more. An extended workforce can help your company save money and avoid the costs associated with hiring new employees.
With a contingent workforce, depending on the economy and market conditions, companies can scale up and down their workforce. The need for more flexibility is present in companies large and small. However, start-ups can especially benefit from the flexibility of an extended workforce as their needs can and do change rapidly.
Efficiency is one of the greatest benefits of hiring a freelancer. With an extended workforce, you can quickly and easily get the skills and expertise you need. Additionally, freelancers can often start working on a project very quickly without having to go through a long onboarding process. For more information on where to quickly and easily find talent, check out our article, Best Places to Hire Freelancers, Contractors, & Gig Workers.
How can an extended workforce help your company meet its goals and objectives?
A contingent workforce can help your company meet its goals and objectives by providing you with the flexibility, expertise, and efficiency you need to tackle even the biggest objectives.
Say you have an important initiative for the next quarter and your employees are telling you they’re doing all they can, you could go to a talent marketplace like Upwork or Toptal and find the support you need in a matter of days or even hours. Here are some more specific uses of contingent workers:
-To provide specialized skills or expertise that is not available in the local labor market
-To outsource non-core business functions
-For support during a transition or merger/acquisition
The bottom line is that an extended workforce can help your company in a multitude of ways. However, all of these benefits don’t come without a few challenges.
What are some of the challenges associated with using an extended workforce?
The main problems that come with an extended workforce are management and compliance. There are numerous hidden costs associated with manual processing, including time that your employees could spend working on generating more money for your company or interacting with clients. Utilizing a freelancer management system allows you to reap the benefits of an extended workforce much more efficiently.
A freelancer management system that uses AI for classification, like GreenLight, can efficiently mitigate the compliance risks and headaches that come with the classification of your extended workforce.
We handle payroll, onboarding, benefits, risk mitigation, and compliance so that you have more time to benefit from your world-class team. We are an EOR operating in countries across the globe and growing rapidly, so your extended workforce can work from all over the world. Schedule a call with our team of experts today.