Organisations have historically used outsourcing agencies to find temporary staff. However, that’s starting to change with the growth of the freelancer economy combined with technology-backed marketplaces.

Businesses can now engage directly with outsourced talent using freelancer platforms like PeoplePerHour.com and Freelancer Management Systems (FMS) such as TalentDesk.io. It’s now much easier than ever before to connect with the talent needed for projects – and it has many benefits over the traditional outsourcing agency route. These platforms and systems will allow your organisation to:

1) Respond faster to business needs

When urgent tasks or projects materialise, businesses can find the talent they need, brief the freelancer and move to completion with greater speed. It means more projects can be fulfilled in less time with fewer bottlenecks to hold up activity, allowing businesses to deliver on their strategy.

As we pointed out in our article on how organisations need to be more agile, businesses must rethink their talent strategies when it comes to outsourcing. This will ensure that they remain competitive, innovative and are able to respond to the changing marketplace. Freelancer platforms and an FMS will support this process, making it quick and efficient.

2) Access more talent – locally and globally

By dealing directly through freelancer platforms and having an FMS in place, businesses have access to a much wider talent pool – along with the means to manage their growing number of freelancers. Organisations can easily search for the specific skill sets they need or publish a brief to encourage freelancers to respond directly.

As the IPSE guide ‘Flex: An Agile Approach to Talent Management in the Digital Economy’ points out, not all freelancers are willing to work through an agency – particularly those that are highly-skilled. But many may have a presence on a freelancer platform. Indeed, the best breed of platform and system providers also incorporate their own talent consultancy service within their fees, providing yet another benefit over traditional outsourcing agencies. These hybrid outfits combine the benefits of being expertly matched with the talent you need with all the efficiencies of managing your outsourced projects with an FMS.

3) Build relationships with freelancers

Whilst building up a pool of go-to freelancers, having direct access to your talent at any given moment means it’s much easier to develop a relationship with them over time. This is more difficult to do when sourcing through an agency as email addresses and contact details get forgotten, along with their skill sets.

With FMS systems you can keep an up-to-date view of the skill sets available allowing you to tap into the right knowledge just when you need it. Not only is it far easier to collaborate with multiple freelancers, but it also allows for consistency of work across different projects when re-engaging with talent who are already familiar with your business.

4) Improve efficiency without the middleman

Whilst outsourcing agencies carry out much of the legwork for finding and paying the freelancer, it’s an added layer of complexity between the business and the talent. This is particularly so where organisations start to work with larger pools of freelancers over time.

Along with the speed with which you can search for talent, both freelancer platforms and FMS’ will incorporate payment features, making invoicing a straightforward and painless process.

It avoids wasted time, energy and effort in briefing an agency, the multiple phone calls and meetings that are often required to make sure that you find the right freelancers. With the right marketplaces and technology in place, the process becomes much more streamlined and efficient.

5) Reduce outsourcing costs

The increasing use of freelance talent to carry out one-off projects or to fill skills gaps can mean less cost in the long run. This is particularly the case where outsourced talent is – or will be – an integral part of your business model. 

Many executives are implementing an FMS not only to support the business today but also to prepare the business for tomorrow. When you take into consideration the commission costs of some outsourcing agencies – which can be steep – these all add up over time.

In fact, research by Oxford Internet Institute highlighted that some larger firms found they were making up to ‘60–70% aggregate savings’ when compared to ‘conventional sourcing channels’. And while participants in the research said it could take up to eight weeks to hire a freelancer using traditional outsourcing agencies, Samsung found ‘a freelancer and completed a project within a two-day time frame’ using freelancer platforms. 

When weighing up what’s right for your business, it’s important to think not only about where you are right now but where you want your business to be in the future. With freelancers becoming an ever more prevalent part of fast-paced, innovative organisations you’d be wise to consider your options. 

With the best providers offering a triad of services – freelancer platforms with integrated FMS (or vice versa) alongside consultancy options – organisations can finally have the best of all worlds. From hiring and onboarding to project management and payment, never before has there been this level of flexibility, speed and cost-effectiveness in finding great talent.