Talent has always been the lifeblood of the consulting industry. However, the way that we source talent is undergoing radical change. Today, freelancing is more prevalent than ever. It’s the forward-thinking consulting firms that are embracing the talent revolution, but with this new paradigm comes new challenges. Namely, how to implement an effective freelance management system.
The global pandemic was where the talent revolution took off in earnest. However, as society recovers, the changes in the world of work show no sign of letting up. The so-called “Great Resignation” is well underway and it will be businesses’ approach to human resources that will be the key differentiator.
Taking the beginning of the pandemic as a model; it was companies that had the capabilities to go fully remote at a moment’s notice that weathered the storm. The same principle applies as we move forward; technological solutions are the key enabler for the digital era. In this short introduction, we discuss consulting’s pain points in the wake of the talent revolution – and Outvise’s solution, our tailormade Freelance Management System.
Table of Contents
The pain points
Eurostat estimates that there are almost 13 million freelancers in Europe. Of these 13 million gig workers, 6 million are what could be categorised as “highly skilled” workers. This ocean of talent is expanding; according to a survey conducted by consulting giants Deloitte in 2019, more than 61% of millennials and Gen Z employees intend to go freelance in the next two years. That was before the pandemic, and since, remote work has exploded.
The sheer size of the talent pool
These statistics introduce the first key pain point of the talent revolution: the overwhelming volume of talent out there. This problem with freelancers is, as free-floating talent, they’re not necessarily coming to you as they would in a traditional recruitment drive. Moreover, with the remote working revolution, the best person for the job may not even be in your locale or even the country.
Subsequently, the nature of recruitment drives has changed completely. How can companies hope to sift through the millions of professionals to find the right person for the job? How can experience and educational backgrounds be verified on such a scale? This is especially challenging for consultancies who work on a project-by-project basis, where they need specific expertise – and fast.
Cross border administration
The size and potential of the talent pool lead to the second pain point: the legalities and administration associated with cross-border work. How can you be confident that the organisation is fulfilling their tax obligations? How can you be confident the contractors themselves are doing their part?
Then there’s the question of international employment law and contracts – many businesses ask themselves if their HR or legal departments have the capacity to navigate this. Plus, if the organisation requires procurement registration, this becomes an even more unwieldy task still, even if the freelancer is in-country.
Making meaningful relationships
As anyone in the corporate world knows, the question of talent isn’t only about acquisition – retention is also crucial. Some HR departments have the perception that a freelancer is a one-time hire, with whom you can’t have an ongoing relationship. There’s also the issue of onboarding. If you’re using workers on a one-time basis, onboarding processes can get time-consuming and repetitive.
Or, if a company is engaging with freelancers on an ongoing basis, they find it difficult to keep track of all their information, like CVs, projects, or location. This creates an extra layer of administration for HR departments, which in a fast-paced environment, can be very demanding.
Outvise has been advocating for the talent revolution since 2014. We analysed these pain points for businesses – consulting firms in particular – and came up with a tailor-made tool to address them. This tool is Outvise’s Freelance Management System, a tool natively designed to support the consulting practice. Check out the video below to see how it works. Then, keep reading to find out exactly how it meets the freelancing pain points of the consulting practice.
What is a Freelance Management System?
The Outvise Freelance Management System is a cloud solution to manage an organisation’s freelance talent pool. With these tools, consulting firms can get access to a vast portfolio of fully vetted freelancers for their projects. With AI-powered searching, you can plug in your requirements and have a shortlist of candidates in a matter of moments, from your own pool of freelancers or the wider Outvise network.
This, in turn, minimises risk: firms can configure teams according to their needs in the moment from their customised list of collaborators. Then, if they need to look further afield, the rest of Outvise’s verified experts are a click away. Companies also have the option to invite their existing freelancers to their Outvise pool, creating a one-stop shop for talent.
This, in turn, helps you cultivate long-term relationships with outstanding talent. With all the profiles filed, organised, and tagged with automated updates as to their ongoing careers and availability, you can draft them in as-needed, onboard seamlessly, and reap all the benefits of talent on-demand.
How do you organise freelancers?
The FMS offers a full suite of functionalities that eliminates the need for unwieldy spreadsheets and mountains of filing. With the FMS, you can review CVs, skill sets, and recent experience, and check availability with the click of a button. By combining the existing team with experts on demand, you can cover skills gaps seamlessly and deliver projects to the highest standard.
There’s also the option to tag and create lists of freelancers. So, for example, if you wanted to organise freelancers by teams as opposed to capabilities, you can create a tag to access that list of freelancers instantly. When there’s no time to lose on an RFP, this dramatically streamlines the path toward putting together the perfect team.
The Freelance Management System also creates a coherent community amongst your freelance talent pool. With the forum function, you can put queries to your talent pool, or seek knowledge from the wider network. With this tool, you have instant access to expertise, no matter how big or small the request.
How does it help me streamline administration?
These tools are supported by the Outvise team behind the scenes. With Outvise’s administration service, we offer an end-to-end solution for consulting firms, centralising their contracts and invoices through a single provider.
Outvise generates compliant contracts with electronic signatures to onboard freelancers with ease. Then, when the project is underway, our internal system automatically generates invoices every month. Invoice clearing is fully automated and synchronised with the billing process to facilitate seamless financial management.
This, in turn, provides a single point of contact for freelancer registration, billing and management. Instead of trawling through multiple procurement registrations, which can often take several weeks or even months, the recruitment and payment process is managed through a single supplier.
What functionality is in the pipeline?
We’re committed to continuously improving our service. That’s why we’ve got several new features in the works beyond the Freelance Management System’s existing tools. In the fourth quarter of this year, we aim to integrate a messaging interface so you can chat directly with experts to check their availability, ask for references, and more.
Later, we’re going to add a document repository and archive so you can manage any paperwork relevant to your company’s hiring policy or the freelancer in question. We’ll also integrate different login privileges for different users, so internal staff can access information according to their seniority.
Remember, if you want to hire a freelancer through Outvise, you’ll always need to use the platform. Without Outvise, you can’t take advantage of all these benefits and functionalities, so make sure you maintain us as your single point of contact for your freelance talent pool.
Contact the Outvise team for a full demo
If you have specific questions or would like to explore the Freelance Management System in more detail, get in touch with our team. They’ll be happy to run you through all the features and demonstrate how they can help you meet your organisation’s talent objectives. Simply click the button below and fill out the form and an Outvise team member will be in touch to confirm your preferred date for a call.
The talent revolution is well and truly upon us. Get the tools you need to stay ahead of the game.
Denis is part of the initial Outvise team and has been involved in managing freelancers since 2016. As a Product Manager, he is leading the development of our Freelance Management System.