What is the blended workforce?
If you refer to a traditional workforce, it consists of full-time personnel and employees paid on a W2. A blended workforce adds independent contractors, contingent staff, temporary staff, freelancers, and part-time workers into the mix.
Why would an organization consider variable workers?
The needs of a company change during various times at various stages. It’s become strategic, even common practice, to adjust the employee headcount per current projects and ongoing business initiatives at the time. There are two main reasons for a blended workforce:
- Teams no longer need to be in the same location to work together, and companies based in Poughkeepsie have access to a broader talent market that extends beyond regional limitations. Hiring flexibility allows hiring managers to locate talent with specific skillsets in any geographic location at the time of actual need. Conversely, most employees appreciate the flexibility and work-life balance that an on-demand lifestyle provides.
- Companies have more control over their expenses. For example, if a company were to take on a project outside their typical regions, using their traditional workforce would force logistical costs. With blended workforce capabilities, the company can forego travel expenses and meet client needs through contractors based at the assignment location.
Pros of the blended workforce
In recent years, the blended workforce has proved to be one of the more widely adopted HR trends, proving especially strategic during the pandemic. Here are some reasons why the blended workforce trend is here to stay:
- Avoided recruiting, onboarding, and the associated costs of maintaining a permanent full-time workforce.
- Avoided operational costs as less physical office space is needed.
- Better problem solving where a more diverse mix of perspectives and solutions are presented to the table.
- Better access to specialized skill sets that are generally outside of your company’s full-time knowledge base. This allows your company to adapt to its specific needs and hire workers as and when needed, rather than employing someone full-time that is perhaps only needed six months of the year.
- A flexible and agile workforce that can be engaged in an on-demand manner.
Drawbacks of the blended workforce
Managing a blended workforce brings its own set of challenges and complexities. Ultimately, it’s up to your leadership team to determine if the pros and flexibility of a blended workforce outweigh the costs. Some common drawbacks of the blended workforce are as follows:
- Turnover, as contractors, part-timers, freelancers, and gig workers are less committed to your team by default; these employee types generally experience a higher rate of turnover.
- Blurred lines and the sensitivities in dealing with employees and contractors all in a singular workplace.
- Organizing workforce data. A blended workforce requires additional layers of HR support in dealing with the legal differences between employee types.
- Conflicting schedules when your contingent workers in different time zones have different schedules to your permanent employees.
- Potentially higher hourly rates. Contractors tend to charge more per hour than you pay your equivalent full-time employees.
Best practices for building out a blended workforce
If a blended workforce makes sense for your company, it’s important to note these three best practices for implementing a blended workforce. There are so many benefits to the added flexibility, hence what makes this a mainstay HR trend!
- Implement blended recruiting by utilizing specialized job-search platforms that are catered towards variable workers. These platforms host the most experienced freelancers who have the specialized skill and variable worker mindset to get the job done well and efficiently.
- Onboard well, almost as you would a full-time equivalent (FTE). If possible, onboard your variable workers in person so that you can imprint clear and impressionable guidelines. Give the variable worker a taste of the company culture to feel included, and be sure to clarify expectations from work delivery, participation, and communication.
- Create a safe space for FTE’s and variable workers alike. Don’t segregate workspaces and make the environment as hospitable and conducive to work as possible. Creating an inclusive environment promotes a positive and happy workplace, one of the most overlooked qualities of great working environments.
Staffing and recruiting is our specialty whether your business opts for the traditional or blended workforce model. At SMART Staffing Group, Inc., we help companies in the Hudson Valley region build out their hiring strategy and attract top talent. We are a Minority and Woman-Owned business serving our valued clients since 2014.