ADAPTIVE STAFFING: FLEXIBILITY FOR THE WIN

Jul 20, 2022

The volatile economy and competitive state of hiring has been a roller coaster for both organizations and workers. First, Covid shut everything down, which caused massive layoffs. Then, the return to work placed massive demand on understaffed businesses. And now a pending recession carries the real fear that more layoffs are on the horizon (and which are already happening in certain industries). 

The staffing pendulum swinging back and forth – and the whiplash it’s causing – is forcing many businesses to rethink their long-term staffing strategies. Amid a 40-year record high for inflation, they can’t afford to keep spinning in the vicious cycle of hiring and firing. Frankly, they shouldn’t operate under this pattern regardless of the inflation status. 

Adaptive staffing, or what many call “Open Talent,” is a proactive and purposeful staffing strategy that includes freelancers, contractors, part-timers, and consultants working side-by-side with full-time permanent employees. It creates stability for your organization so you can ride the waves as they come.

A quick recap of adaptive staffing benefits

By now, companies know the major benefits associated with using freelance and contract workers: cost efficiency, specialized skills, and flexibility. What many fail to consider is the other major benefit: it’s proactive

Experts agree that proactive thinking and behavior, compared with reactive thinking and behavior, is a key to greater stability, less stress, and more control over your business and, ultimately, your life. 

By using a set percentage of full-time employees and a set percentage of freelancers or contractors at all times, companies are better equipped to shift when the economy shifts and evolve as company goals evolve – without going into panic mode.

One additional benefit of a freelance team is that it offers companies the ability to “try before you buy.” Both parties can test the possibility of a longer engagement or full-time opportunity without the upfront costs and commitment. At Uncompany we call this the “Test Drive.” Think of it as dating before saying “I do.”

OnDeck: Connecting clients to freelancers

Even when companies know all of these benefits, the hurdles associated with onboarding, vetting, processing, and managing “temporary” or “short-term” employees might overshadow the advantages of using an adaptive staff model. After all, it does require upfront work and takes practice to incorporate freelance staff into the company culture. 

Uncompany was created to break down those barriers and connect the large pool of freelance workers with clients, simply and directly. That’s why we developed OnDeck – a system built to reduce loss of time, increase transparency, and promote an integrated freelance staff.  

OnDeck gives clients direct control and access to their custom team and allows them to quickly and easily start projects, review timesheets, and track budgets in real time, all managed through an online dashboard built to include your customized freelance team.

Maari Casey, Uncompany’s Founder and CEO, says, “I’ve seen OnDeck help a small marketing team grow to the power of a fully built staff with capabilities and experience but at about 15-25% of the cost. OnDeck not only gives small marketing teams growth and flexibility power, but it also gives clients with heavy content churn the ability to manage the flow of projects without burning out their staff.”

Like it or not, adaptive staffing is the future

Estimates suggest there are 1.56 billion freelancers globally, with freelancers making up about 37% of the workforce in the US. Experts predict that the freelance economy will continue to gain momentum, and by 2028, they will make up more than half of the total US workforce.

The pandemic has afforded many the opportunity of a more flexible and desirable life-work balance. Remote work has opened the door to a new approach to hiring. Companies who use this adaptive staffing model will have access to a larger net of skills for many times less than the cost of an agency or single full-time employee. This will give them scalability and flexibility to test positions, ramp up or down based on business climate, and access necessary, unique skills on a project basis. 

If you need some help deciding when to hire or use a full-time employee and when to outsource, use our Adaptive Staffing Calculator. Enter your budget, your needs, and estimated required hours, and it will offer you a recommendation.

With OnDeck, you’ll be able to build highly skilled freelance teams and maintain flexibility to grow, manage risk, reduce layoffs, and innovate more than ever. Adaptive Staffing or Open Talent – whatever you want to call it – will be the norm in the future. There will be fewer staffs made up of 100% FTEs in favor of a combination of full-time, remote, hybrid, freelance, contract and part-time. The rise of the hybrid staff is well on its way!

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