September 12, 2018
Perhaps you’ve heard the term ‘blended workforce,’ and you’re wondering if this is something that could work for your business. Blended workforces can be called a variety of things, such as on-demand or variable staffing models. These types of workforces use independent workers or contractors to fill in the gaps, looking at the skills and expertise that is needed and then hiring from there. The great thing about this is that extra expertise and manpower is at your fingertips just when you need it.
Having a stable core group of employees is a must, as having freelancers come in to help with different projects can be a significant change. Your employees have the experience to drive growth in your business, and the last thing you want is for them to feel unstable or dislike the new atmosphere and leave. High employee turnover is awful for business, both in terms of reputation, work completed, and time/money spent on training new employees.
Let’s use fieldengineer.com as an example; our on-demand service platform. You can consider this service an Uber of the telecom industry, with over 40,000 engineers registered in 170+ countries. We are offering their services to telecom companies as on-demand engineers to go onsite at customer premises and install routers/switches/wireless/voice equipment. This saves money for the telecom companies who do not have enough work, but at the same time need someone who can go to their customer’s premises when required. This is the perfect example of the ‘blended workforce,’ helping service providers on-demand. The workforce is ‘elastic’ meaning that is can expand and contract when needed as per project demands.
Something you’ll commonly find behind a blended workforce is the short-term need for a unique skill set. A company may sometimes require a skill that is outside of their full time’s team knowledge. Instead of turning the contract away and losing out, they’ll hire a contractor who is highly recommended and skilled to complete the job instead.
The blended workforce model can also be used to better align with a business budget. If you have the opportunity to work in another state, you may not want to turn that down. At the same time, you may not want to add travel expenses to your operating expenses, so it can be a tough thing to call. Instead, you can engage your on-demand workforce, or ‘feet on the street’ as they are sometimes called, expand your geographic reach and satisfy the customer. Everybody wins!
The kind of employees and members of your team will depend on what your business does and where you work. However, you’ll almost certainly have full-time employees, whose skills fill your ongoing business needs and require an onsite present so you can be sure of their availability during business hours.
Long-term contractors are often found in a workforce, and they may take care of things that are important but not essential every day, such as accounting and IT related jobs. A long-term relationship with this type of employee is necessary.
Then there are on-demand workers, who are often needed to work with a customer outside of a company’s region, or even support a national rollout. You may also hire short-term staff to fill specific needs and/or cover for employees on family leave or extended absences, for whatever reason.
The reason the blended workforce works so well in this day and age is due to the exceptional power of the digital age. Everybody is connected these days, and people can work remotely, although still able to collaborate with other team members through software and other applications. Individuals also tend to like the flexibility and work-life balance this on-demand lifestyle can provide.
Here, we’re going to break down the benefits of a blended workforce.
Knowing how to handle a blended workforce is imperative if this strategy is going to work for you. You must embrace these professionals as part of your team, and avoid cutting costs. Attempting to reduce costs when hiring freelancers and other temporary professionals are one of the worst things you can do. Your employees want to know that the people being brought on board, even temporarily, are professional and qualified. You will end up paying more in the long run if projects take longer to complete, or do not quite meet the standards that your company is used to. You may end up losing staff, customers, and money. It’s a dangerous thing to do, so choose wisely.
It is also worth remembering how making your freelancers feel like part of the team will benefit you. They are probably used to getting replaced as they work on various things with various companies at once. However, by creating a strong relationship with them, you can make them feel more stable and ‘at home’ with your company. This ensures they do a better job for you, and perhaps even move you to the top of their priorities.
However, just because you want your blended workforce to be happy and feel stable, doesn’t mean you can’t give feedback. In fact, many freelancers and temporary employees highly value feedback so they can improve their work and grow their business. You can also ask for feedback, making sure they let you know if there’s anything you can do to strengthen your relationship with them. This makes it a two-way street and a happier, healthier business relationship.
If you’re a telecom service provider, Professional Services or Resellers and System Integrators, looking to bring in efficiency and provide cost-effective, timely support, fieldengineer.com have what you need. We can provide companies with on-demand engineers to go onsite at customer premises and install routers/switches/wireless/voice equipment, so get in touch with us for more information today.