A Blended Workforce: The Benefits, Drawbacks and Solutions
Businesses in every sector are moving toward the growing trend of blended workforces, meaning they rely on a combination of workers ranging from full-time employees, contractors and consultants. This approach allows employers to tap into different talent pools previously unavailable to them. It also provides executives with excellent new methods to adapt to changes in their business environment.
Blended workforces are not without their challenges, particularly when it comes to managing such a diverse staff. However, many viable solutions exist, which is why blended workforces remain on the rise.
Who Makes Up a Blended Workforce?
A blended workforce consists of a collection of workers within a single organization, who have different types of relationships with the company. The contract types listed below are commonly found in the mix:
- Full-time employees
- Part-time employees
- Temporary workers
- Independent contractors
Blended Workforce Savings: Time, Money and Resources
The blended workforce model minimizes the long-term risks and costs associated with an exclusively full-time employee roster. The benefits of utilizing a blended workforce strategy include:
- Decreasing ongoing operating expenses by using independent contractors that are paid upon delivery.
- Minimizing the cost of health insurance and other employee benefits.
- Economizing overhead by allowing contractors and other non-employees to work remotely, when appropriate.
- Filling a specific skills gap of your employees for particular projects or goals.
Complications to Consider
When transitioning towards a blended workforce, there are two inevitable hurdles that employers can and should prepare to overcome.
First, hiring such a diverse group requires a huge cultural shift within the company. It takes time for personnel to adapt. Making sure to get buy-in early, especially from your HR team, is essential to successfully manage a blended workforce. This means putting strategies for proactive communication and clear processes in place from day one. Another complication that arises when bringing contractors onto the team is that of knowledge transfer: coordinating who will train the contractors and consultants to ensure they have all the information they need to accomplish their tasks.
Once all hands are on deck, the next concern is management; it becomes quite complex with the multiplicity of contracts and contingencies - which can be difficult to coordinate. What's more, this expanded workforce becomes much more of a challenge to control internally, particularly when it comes to varying schedules, rates of pay, devising unique contracts, multiple employers et cetera.
As the contract comes to an end, it's also important to ensure that contractors and consultants accurately transfer their knowledge to the appropriate employees before they leave. This means coordinating who needs the information, when the relevant parties can meet to discuss it, what resources the worker will leave behind, and whether or not he/she can be able available to assist after their contract has ended.
Overcoming the Challenges of a Blended Workforce
To make a blended workforce successful, a company must develop a strategy to manage their full-time employees contractors, and consultants.
A third party, such as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is one highly effective option. Using an MSP to manage your blended workforce allows you to:
- Quickly and efficiently onboard and terminate contractors.
- Evaluate quality of work and identify high-caliber contractors or consultants to return to over time.
- Focus on people management and marshalling the cultural shift, rather than worrying about tracking hours.
There's a reason for the rising trend in blended workforces: they create operational efficiencies, mitigate risk and achieve more on smaller budgets.
Implementing this employee structure requires careful coordination and organization, with a clear strategy for facilitation. A Managed Service Provider can oversee employees, contractors and consultants to minimize the obstacles and maximize the benefits of a blended workforce.