Let’s face it: plenty of companies require complex staffing plans, as they regularly conduct business far outside of the “normal” 9-5 hours. In these cases, a blended workforce are engaged and implemented so that a roster of personnel that is custom-tailored to the needs of the operation can be utilized, both in the day-to-day as well as over the long-term.
Definition of a Blended Workforce
According to HRZone, a blended workforce is a program that blends a variety of categories of contractual workers. Included in this are:
- Full-time staff
- Part-time staff
- Temporary workers
- On-demand workers (like Wonolers)
Generally speaking, the term “blended workforce” is only utilized when at least one-quarter of a company’s staff consists of temps, on-demand workers, contractors, or freelancers.
Benefits of a Blended Workforce
At the beginning of 2017, SyncHR named “the blended workforce” as being one of its ‘5 Trends of 2017 to Watch’. As more and more companies of all sizes get hip to the wonders of the gig economy, the idea of adopting this staffing strategy is becoming quite prevalent.
Here are some reasons why the blended workforce is emerging as a lasting trend in HR:
- It fills a highly-skilled position quickly and cheaply. If a veteran forklift operator suddenly quits during a holiday peak, the last thing a warehouse manager is going to want to do is to go through a lengthy hiring and onboarding process to replace that one operator. Instead, they can hire one – or even several – contractors, temps, or on-demand workers to fill those shoes. These new team members are experienced and are much cheaper than a full-time employee, as they don’t require the costly benefits of a full-time or even part-time worker.
- It allows for flexible scheduling. This detail is especially enticing to companies who have defined peaks or are preparing to scale. Making use of a blended workforce scenario allows the operation to augment its staff for a temporary period, say 6 weeks at a time, while still having the ability to go back to the normal plan once the high-volume period has finished.
- It grants more time to companies who are recruiting. In a perfect world, each team would be given ample time to replace an employee or add a position, but we all know that’s rarely how these scenarios unfold. To buy more time when searching for the best candidate, trusted freelancers can be used to fill in while the new hire is still being courted or is in the process of onboarding. Sometimes, companies even serendipitously find their perfect candidate in this very same temp-to-hire situation!
- It uncovers workers with unique skillsets. Looking for one worker who can lift 50 pounds, speak Spanish and French fluently, drive a big rig, and write catchy product copy for you? If so, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find the right candidate via a traditional job search, but it’s actually possible to find an on-demand, temporary, or freelance worker with a diverse skillset like the one described. Often, this category of freelance worker has amassed an eclectic skill set and is used to working unorthodox schedules.
How to Successfully Implement a Blended Workforce
Now that you likely recognize that the concept of a blended workforce has been around for years (the definition is just rapidly expanding with the gig economy!), you’re ready to implement a form of one in your company.
In order to do this, you will need to first set up a sourcing tool. Too often, this is where companies go the traditional temp agency route, but these days, there are more cutting-edge, fuss-free alternatives.
Take Wonolo, for instance. It’s a platform that costs a whopping 40% less than most staffing agencies and comes with an average fill rate of 90%. As the platform allows for hand-chosen talent, it’s a great option for interactive HR teams and managers who want to be involved in the hiring process, even if the worker is only set to fill in for a single day. It’s also the perfect solution for companies who may not have the ability or desire to get stuck in a long-term contract; with Wonolo, payment is only processed when the job is completed.
Of course, not every type of job can be filled by on-demand staffing platforms, so in these cases, it’s imperative that your HR department uses all of its available resources to connect with the right types of freelancers and/or contractors. In doing this, hiring managers might post job descriptions on various online platforms, they may make calls to recruiters, or they might even turn to social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, to find candidates. Once contact is initiated, these freelancers and contractors can be kept on a list and called on when necessary.
As you can see, the blended workforce is far from being a new invention, but as alternative staffing solutions continue to evolve, it’s becoming a much more valuable tool for companies who are in need of flexible workers.