To stay one step ahead in today’s competitive environment, companies often depend on the unique expertise of professionals who support digital transformation. Because this is still a mammoth task for all industries. In times of a shortage of skilled workers and a cultural change in the working world, forward-looking companies rely on a so-called “liquid workforce” – and work, in addition to their workforce, with highly qualified freelancers: inside together.
The corona pandemic has provided a far-reaching digital push in many companies. From cloud-based administration to the e-commerce boom, it seems that most industries have woken up from their analog slumber in the wake of the pandemic. The digitization measures are reacting to changing customer needs and the increasing competitive pressure from up-and-coming tech startups. However, companies need many specialists to implement the digital transformation – from IT architects to data security or e-commerce specialists.
The increased need for personnel quickly poses financial challenges for companies. And even if there is a sufficient budget, they often fight for suitably qualified personnel. The competition for the best talent is not new, but it has been intensified by the Corona crisis – especially in the technology sector. This year alone, 41% of open tech positions were classified as “difficult to fill” . And it is expected that the shortage of skilled workers will continue to be a significant problem for companies in the future: by 2025, 90% of companies worldwide are expected to lack workers with IT skills . The value of quickly available, highly qualified freelancers becomes very clear in this context.
The Changing World Of Work
At the same time, the corona pandemic has triggered a structural and cultural change in the world of work, which ensures that the number of companies that regularly work with freelancers is constantly increasing. The decisive factor for this is the broad acceptance of “remote work.” In many industries, the switch to home office happened more or less involuntarily, but it was quickly recognized that the employees’ productivity did not suffer as a result. This promptly removed the significant stigma surrounding the “remote work” model. Today, employees are demanding flexible working models and regular home office hours, and employers have positive experiences with less rigid organizational structures and new forms of employee management. Movements like New Work,
Added to this is the nationwide introduction of digital tools in collaboration and communication. These have also paved the way for new forms of flexible partnership. Because through the digital exchange, individual workers’ knowledge can be better combined, and necessary adjustments can be made more quickly. In this way, even complex projects can be managed within the framework of virtual teamwork – which was still considered unthinkable in many areas in the past.
Liquid Workforce For More Resilience
So Corona has caused many changes. Also, it has been shown how quickly business models can change when in doubt – for example, when companies have to set up online sales channels overnight to continue to reach their customers. This has partly led to companies rethinking their existing personnel structures to be better prepared for crises and changes in the future.
Against this background, an organizational structure based on the “Liquid Workforce” principle can ensure lasting improvements. According to this principle, the work in the company is distributed in an agile manner, and the human resources are adapted to current conditions – for example, to declining business or peak times. Depending on current needs, the existing group of employees is supplemented by a complimentary team of specialists. For companies to access human resources quickly and cost-effectively without going through the lengthy processes of permanent hiring, they should have a large, freelance talent pool with different qualifications. Even if the permanent workforce will always make up the majority of employees in the company in the future,
When Freelancers Are Used
Startups, in particular, like to fall back on freelance experts when it comes to setting up and expanding their companies. A recent survey of founders revealed that over 70% of them work very regularly with freelancers at least once a week. There are numerous application areas for freelancers – be it to implement (digitization) projects with special requirements or to intercept short-term operational peak phases in a wide variety of disciplines. These reasons speak for the use of freelancers: inside:
- More flexibility in the team – freelancers can be involved on a project basis or at short notice as required, for example, in the event of seasonal higher workloads. Compared to permanent employment, companies bear a lower financial risk.
- Development of new skills – Freelancers are often used because of their unique know-how, which the core team has not yet reflected – for example, implementing special IT projects, doing translations, or taking over marketing. Freelancers can also act as a trainer and train permanent employees on new skills.
- Use of year-end budgets – Excess budgets at the end of the year can be turned into meaningful projects with the help of freelancers.
- Catching downtime of employees – especially in small and medium-sized companies, the absence of employees due to illness or vacation is often a challenge. These gaps can be closed with the help of freelancers.
A New Mentality
For many people today, freelancing is a conscious decision and no longer just an emergency solution between two jobs. It suits the modern, digital way of working and living. As a freelancer, you enjoy maximum flexibility: you can arrange your place of work and working hours freely and – with suitable qualifications – pick out the most exciting customers and projects. Many benefit from an improved work-life balance. Since the corona pandemic, more and more people are open to working as freelancers – especially in the IT and telecommunications industry. Reasons for this are that they want to continue working from home, and freelance work flexibility is attractive. Therefore, the supply of highly qualified freelancers who support companies in the transition to digitization is increasing. This means there are always new opportunities for both sides.