When organizing all aspects of freelance management to ensure maximum efficiency, staffing agencies face many external pressures on top of their already busy and challenging day jobs.
As a result, dropping the ball seems inevitable...or is it?
Here we'll examine some of those internal and external pressures and provide advice on better-managing freelancers to ensure the best possible outputs.
There's lots to cover, so grab a cup of coffee and let's get down to business!
So, when it comes to managing freelancers, what external pressures are staffing agencies facing?
Some notable concerns include the following:
High resignation and turnover rates
The increased push from candidates to work from home.
The statistics bear this all up:
Economic uncertainty: Although inflation rates across Europe and the US are slowly inching down (8.5% in Feb, down from 8.6% in January for the former, and 6% in Feb, down from 6.4% in Jan for the latter), we see inflation going up in the UK (10.4% in March, up from 10.1% in Feb). This could impact recruitment as inflation can adversely affect wages and compensation packages as well as hiring in that employers may have more limited budgets while navigating periods of economic uncertainty.
High resignation and turnover rates: 47.4 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, and many resigned across EU member states. In addition, a recent Linkedin report found that globally some roles have higher turnovers than others (HR at 14.6%, research at 13.1%, product management at 13%, marketing at 12.9%, consulting at 11.7% versus an overall average of 10.6% for all types of roles. It stands to reason that high turnover rates increase the strain staffing agencies are under to fill vacant positions while juggling tighter budgets due to economic uncertainty.
Working from home: In the EU, in 2019, around 5.5% worked from home, rising during the pandemic to 12.3%. Fast forward to 2022, the UK and Germany had the highest share of remote workers in Europe. Staffing agencies may be caught between employers (who want workers in the office) and workers (who want to work remotely or in a hybrid environment). One study by Slack shows just 12% of employees prefer to be in the office full time, versus 50% of companies demanding their workers return to the office.
These are just a few of the pain points staffing agencies are struggling with in their quest to find and retain candidates to fill temporary roles. Of course, there are others, but we don’t have the space to go into them all here. So, now let’s turn our attention to some of the internal pressures:
As hinted at in the intro, by ‘internal pressures,’ we’re referring to the day-to-day burdens of managing freelancers, contractors, and temporary workers.
On average, managers lose around eight hours a week to manual tasks. Likewise, other data tells us that we waste about 25% of our working week on repetitive tasks such as data entry across multiple spreadsheets and other online systems.
The same goes for operating a manual onboarding and compliance system for each freelancer. It's more time-consuming and potentially open to error, with the risk of some aspects of compliance or onboarding being missed or bits of paper getting lost.
Similarly, operating a manual invoicing system, where each individual freelancer emails in their invoices or where you run a paper and spreadsheet system combined, is slower and less efficient. Why? Because you have to deal individually with each email (and run the risk of missing invoices) and flip between paper systems and spreadsheets.
But, while agencies may not be able to influence the above-listed external factors, they can help themselves by easing internal pressures. For example, staffing agencies can save time and optimize workflows by finding the best solution for managing their freelance talent pool.
Cue, high-quality freelance management software.
For the uninitiated, this is an online software program that provides the tools you need to manage your freelancers from one centralized place.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at some of the ways best-in-class freelance management solutions can help improve your staffing agency’s efficiency:
1. Reduce Admin Time
Every staffing agency employee knows that hours spent on administrative duties is time away from more critical, money-making tasks like sourcing great clients and first-rate talent.
Perhaps you’re wasting time using multiple tools to manage projects and freelancers? For example, Excel, payroll platforms, project management tools, as well as good old-fashioned paperwork kept in a filing cabinet. Flitting between many apps, tabs, and potentially physical drawers is a time drain.
Fortunately, the right freelance management software can help you consolidate your admin systems by centralizing all administrative-related tasks in one place. From inviting freelancers to join your talent pool to onboarding, managing, and paying them, such a system is the most efficient way to manage a freelance workforce.
2. Faster Onboarding and Compliance
Recruiting freelancers doesn’t have to be onerous. However, offering a consistent onboarding experience that includes compliance-related matters is vital. Not only does it give your reputation a boost, but it means you’re more organized, communicative, and productive. One Gallup study found that just 12% of hires felt their company did an adequate job of onboarding. The study also notes that onboarding is more than just paperwork; it should also focus on communication and clarifying expectations.
Again, suitable freelance management software can make onboarding more straightforward. Typically, they provide everything you need for freelancers to complete, sign, and securely store compliance-related and other onboarding documents/information. For example, freelancer classification checks, non-disclosure, and confidentiality agreements, GDPR documents, tax, and social security information, etc.
Some freelance management software like Bubty enables you to store legal and onboarding documents within each freelancer's profile for easy access.
Taking a proactive approach to compliance by including it as part of your standardized onboarding process goes a long way to protecting your agency from costly penalties. Not to mention offering a seamless onboarding experience will hopefully prevent you from being one of the 88% of companies providing a poor onboarding experience, hindering your productivity. In fact, Research by the Brandon Hall Group for Glassdoor found that organizations with a strong onboarding experience improve new hire productivity by more than 70%.
3. Simplify Invoicing and Payments
Freelancers, like employees, expect to be paid on time. Yet one report found that 74% of freelancers aren’t getting paid on time, and 59% are owed $50,000 or more. If you want to avoid your agency gaining a reputation as a late payer, freelance management software may help.
It stands to reason that if you’re wading through multiple spreadsheets and bits of paper to get your freelance payments done on time, it won’t happen. Human error at some point or another is near-on inevitable.
Thankfully, an FMS with a built-in payment system simplifies things, allowing you to approve, manage, and keep track of costs from one place. On the freelancer side, they can upload, generate and import their invoices to the FMS and, hopefully, get paid faster.
It’s also worth noting that in an ideal world, a robust freelance management system will integrate with your existing payment systems, such as Quickbooks or Xero, to simplify, streamline and speed up all aspects of invoicing and payments.
4. Better Match Freelancers to Relevant Projects
Imagine one or more of your clients needing to recruit freelance skills for a specific project. But, again, you’re hindered because you have to switch between online and paper systems or rely on your memory to pinpoint talent with a suitable skill set.
Instead, freelance management software eliminates that unreliable and slow way of working by allowing you to create your own freelance database that you can filter by skill set and availability. This makes it much easier to quickly match the right talent for the job.
Speaking of availability, ideally, your freelance management software will integrate with the calendar tools you’re already using, such as Google calendar, so you’re better positioned to ensure everyone’s schedules are fully synced.
In addition, once you’ve matched a freelancer to a project, you can provide them with all the info they need to hit the ground running from the ease of one platform. For instance, their brief and its timescales and deadlines, what’s expected of them, how much they’ll be paid, etc.
5. Ensure Everyone’s on the Same Page About Your Freelancers
The old-school method of relying on word-of-mouth information or paper references from colleagues and clients doesn’t have to be the only way you and your colleagues can stay on the same page about freelancer performance.
Instead, a decent freelance management system should allow you to view each freelancer’s experience and pay rate in one place. Preferably, you should also be able to add notes to freelancer profiles (only visible to your colleagues) so that you can list the pros and cons of working with each freelancer and how much time they’ve spent working on specific projects/assignments. This can help simplify and speed up future project matches.
Some platforms like Bubty even allow you to assign freelancers a one to five-star rating for each project they’ve worked on.
Can Bubty Help Boost Your Staffing Agency’s Efficiency?
The point of using freelance management software is to simplify all the practical aspects of managing your staffing agency’s talent pool. Instead of using different systems and tools to manage freelancers, most of the more demanding aspects of doing this can be automated with freelance management software such as Bubty.
Staying ahead of your competition in a difficult external climate is challenging. However, it’s much easier when you employ a robust, organized, cost-effective freelance management system such as Bubty.
Bubty can help your agency streamline your workflows so that communication and systems between you, your client, your colleagues, and your talent pool are more efficient.
Are you interested in learning more about how we help our clients be more efficient? Book a demo today to see how we can help.