By all reports, Q2 of 2018 promises to see a welcome increase in workload for many main contractors following a slightly quieter first quarter of the year partially owing to some continued economic uncertainty within our current political climate. Private commercial orders are on the up and potential profitability figures appears encouraging.
While the order books seem to be moving in the right direction and projects continue to hit site; when there is less reassurance around continued workload, freelance workers can offer a great solution for new projects and shorter-term cover roles, alike.
As a freelance consultant, I am something of a cheerleader for freelance recruitment, but this is not without good reason as I have seen the value that freelance workers can add to an organisation.
One of our freelance workers was recently recruited by a contractor to help cement a relationship with a new client for them. He had just completed a project for this client with his previous employer and has been able to utilise this knowledge and existing relationship to ensure the client is satisfied and increase the likelihood of this contractor securing future work.
Another of our freelance workers was willing to work over 100 hours for back to back weeks without returning home to help ensure that one of our client’s major projects was delivered on time and he has subsequently been kept on for their next showcase job.
The recruitment of freelance workers can be an excellent way to mitigate risk until market conditions stabilise, but we often encounter some resistance to this idea because of preconceived beliefs about freelance staff. I would like to take this opportunity to challenge some of these objections and highlight how freelance staff can be an asset to your business:
1. Freelance staff are expensive
Did you know that the overall cost of hiring a freelancer is often markedly less than hiring a permanent employee? A freelancer does not incur the same cost for insurance, a benefits package, training, and potentially the cost of replacement or redundancy should things not work out. Recruiting freelance can actually make good financial sense.
2. Freelance staff are not as committed
For many people, working on freelance contracts is a career decision and a freelancers’ reputation is everything. Abandoning a job early does them no favours and they know this. The longevity of their contract and the securing of future opportunities is almost entirely dependent on the quality of their work and the testimonials that follow. Freelance staff can be a lot more driven to deliver results than you might first expect!
Further to this, although the successful delivery and profitability of a job are less consequential to a freelance worker – the reason that many candidates choose to work this way is to give them the freedom of choice to only work on projects where they feel they can make a real impact and will enjoy working. We all prefer to do the things that we are good at so working freelance is often a labour of love where they can be open about their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Freelance staff do not integrate with company culture
While this may ring a little truer than the first two objections – this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing! Many freelancers are incredibly experienced and have worked on projects with several different contractors, some of whom may even be competitors of your own. Freelancers can offer insight on how things are done differently elsewhere and are always learning as they go. You never know – they might be able to offer the fresh perspective that your business needs!
4. We don’t have the time to invest in policy and procedures training
A new recruit would also need parameters and expectations explained to them in the same way that a freelancer would but in addition to often being available at very short notice - freelance staff are more accustomed to hitting the ground running and require less training to get them up to speed.
Recruiting freelance staff can be a great strategy to ensure that your business retains the ability to scale itself and adapt to changes in the market and subsequent workload. With a number of excellent candidates with main contracting experience available – why not get in touch to find out how they could benefit your business?