Flexible working probably is here to stay for most companies.
According to research by Fuze, “89% of employees believe flexible working should be how we work, not a benefit.”
One element of flexible work is the increasing freelance and contract employee market.
It is reported 47% of millennials are freelancing. 36% of the US workforce freelances and will surpass the non-freelance market by 2027.
IT teams need to keep infrastructure and systems running while also implementing new technologies such as machine learning and computer vision. In fact, Upwork observes approximately 50% new technology skills appear every quarter.
Contractors often are skilled workers with relatively specialized subject matter expertise. Full-time IT employees tend to need a broader skill-set that enables them to cover more of the business’ tech. One is a jack-of-all-trades, and one is an SME.
Freelancers can be perceived positively as knowing so much more in an area than the full-time IT employee, but also can be treated negatively as outsiders.
The Employee-Contractor union isn’t always productive. It can be an us-versus-them dynamic in a lot of organizations. In the worst situations, the two groups see each other as competitive rivals.
Friction builds when contingent employees don’t get the resources they need to do their jobs.
This includes knowing whom to contact for access to systems and data, understanding who’s responsible and having a sponsor on the IT leadership team who supports their presence on the project. In other words, proper onboarding.
A survey by Harvard Business Review found that while 88% of organizations provide administrative arrangements for new hires, only 29% “facilitate culture familiarization.”
It’s important to connect the contingent employees to the right people and help them relationship build. IT leaders must help contingent employees make those connections and lead the partnership of contingent and full-time employee.
IT leaders should not view contingent talent as a commodity.
One solution is for IT teams to invest in communications tools that allow for face to face engagement and bring people together periodically. It helps avoid misunderstandings and prevents tasks falling through the cracks.