A Blended Workforce: Definition, Pros & Cons, And Best Practices

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A blended workforce is a combination of a variety of different employees such as full-time workers, part-time workers, remote freelancers, contractors, etc. Many would argue that a blended workforce is now a necessity for every company and can actually encourage diversity in the workplace. Let’s take a look at what the pros and cons of a blended workforce are and the best practices for managing a blended workforce team. 

What is a blended workforce?

A blended workforce is a workplace strategy that combines a variety of different employees together. The goal is to create a workforce that blends the use of full-time staff with freelancers and workers from the gig economy in order to meet the business needs of a company.

Typically, a blended workforce would be made up of:

  • Full-time and part-time employees
  • Freelancers
  • Direct contractors
  • Consultants or consulting firms
  • Staffing agencies and more.

Trying to balance and blend all these different sources – mostly managed by different departments within an organisation – is the real challenge for companies.

Classic workforce vs. blended workforce
Door A Vs Door B

The importance of a blended workforce: Statistics and facts

Due to the benefits offered by it, which we will further explore below, there has been a significant rise of the usage of a blended workforce over the past decade. 

In fact, ever since the pandemic, more and more companies have started to incorporate remote working into their workplace strategy. 

According to a report published by Field Nation, 74% of companies planned to contract with more freelancers by the end of 2020. The survey also suggests that the growth of freelance engagement has been staggering since covid-19.

What’s more, 88% of those surveyed in the above report indicated that they would increase their combined full-time and freelance hiring.

The main reasons for organisations to increase their hiring of a blended workforce is to remain competitive and attract top talent that will help reach business goals.

Freelancermap Survey 2022 - Mixed Teams
79% of freelancers already work in mixed teams (freelancermap study 2022)

During our own survey, it was revealed that 79% of freelancers currently work in a blended workforce whereas only 14% did not.

Having a blended workforce in your organisation is not a nice-to-have (feature), it is a necessity. Unless you want to face talent shortages, engage with blended and elastic teams.

Callum Adamson

Blended workforce advantages and disadvantages

Let’s dive deeper into what the pros and cons are of a blended workforce:

Pros & Cons of a Blended Workforce
Pros & Cons of a Blended Workforce

Advantages of a blended workforce

#1 Increased in specialised skills

One of the biggest advantages of having a blended workforce is access to specialised skills. If you are in need of a specific skill set for a project, you can hire a temporary worker or a freelancer that has perfected said skill set instead of hiring someone for a full-time position who won’t be as essential once the project is complete.

#2 Lower overhead costs and higher scalability

Hiring employees is an expensive endeavour – there’s no denying that. With a hybrid workforce, not only can you save on things like say bonuses and retirement packages, you can also work your way around budget cuts.

You’ll also be able to expand your payroll and contracts both, depending primarily on the work you need completed. This means that you can scale your operations as needed whilst reducing costs of things like office space.

#3 Improved diversity and innovation

Having a diverse workforce can lead to increased productivity and allows for smarter decision-making. With a blended workforce, you’ll be able to hire a diverse set of people by allowing those who might not be able to be there physically in the office become part of your organisation all the same.

This in turn leads to improved innovation within a company because you now have access to a diverse group of people who each have their own approach and perspective.

#4 Flexibility and agility

Offering employees the flexibility to work how they want shows them that you care about the work-life balance – something which has grown in importance over the past decade.

Plus, by employing a blended workforce strategy, you’ll be able to bring in top freelance contractors who will feel like they are more in control and thus help you reach your business goals.

#5 Increased productivity

When workers are more passionate and satisfied with the flexibility offered to them by their jobs, you can expect to see a surge in productivity. Remember, every worker is different – while some may feel more productive at home, others feel they do their best work in the office. 

Disadvantages of a blended workforce

#1 Management of remote workers

Perhaps the biggest hurdle in a blended workforce is the management of temporary and remote workers. This is especially true if you have workers from different time zones. You will need to then have a strong communication strategy in place along with the right tools. 

#2 Turnover

Another downfall of is the turnover rate. Independent contractors, freelancers and part-time employees are, understandably, not as committed to your company as full-time employees and can therefore result in a higher turnover rate.

#3 Higher hourly rates

Freelancers and other contractors usually charge a higher hourly rate than equivalent full-time employees. And while you may potentially save on overhead costs, the resulting hourly rates could prove to be much.

In addition, you also have to think about keeping track of fair compensation for all employees. 

#4 Conflicting schedules

Another pitfall of such a workforce is having to coordinate between different work schedules. Freelancers and independent contractors usually work on their own schedules. It’s therefore important that you be up front about the need for team members to be available during critical times throughout the length of a project. 

Every company should have a freelance talent platform strategy.

Barry Matthews (CEO Open Assembly)

Tips and best practices for a successful organisation of a blended workforce

To ensure a growing and well-managed blended workforce, there are some tips and best practices you can follow.

#1 Invest in good tech

Good tech allows you to streamline and manage most of your management processes which in turn helps build a blended workforce that will last. You should also consider investing in tools that support communication and collaboration between remote teams. 

This will not only improve productivity and business efficiency, it will also help you increase profits and lead to a better work environment.

#2 Support collaboration

Managing an in-office workforce is obviously different from managing a hybrid one. One of the best things you can do to support such a workforce is to encourage communication and collaboration between remote workers and their in-office counterparts.

Ensure that remote workers have people they can rely on in the office and vice versa. This will help work flow smoothly and lead to a better work environment.

#3 Implement an accountability system

A strong accountability system can produce positive and valuable results. You can implement an accountability system by clearly defining the company’s goals and values, and holding people to a common expectation.

Creating a solid foundation of trust and accountability can lead to all members of a team working effectively together.

#4 Value all your workers equally

This is crucial when it comes to fostering a good blended work environment. Make sure the work environment (both physical and virtual) is as hospitable and conducive as possible and ensure that all workers are treated equally. 

Open talent platforms – The right place to find skilled freelancers 

Initiating a blended workforce strategy can be hard. Luckily, there are platforms available (talent platforms or marketplaces) that can help you manage each an every part of the employee lifecycle including:

  • Sourcing
  • Screening
  • Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Retention etc.

According to Open Assembly, there are about 600 talent marketplaces, which makes this “ecosystem” quite complex. There are differences in how each platform runs in terms of the market(s) targeted, the business model and fees charged, the kind of users registered and offering their services (single freelancers, teams of freelancers, crowdsourcers, etc.).

The Open Talent Ecosystem
The Open Talent Ecosystem of Open Assembly

💡 freelancermap is also an open talent platform where your company can find skilled professionals in the tech industry from all over the world at 0% commission fees.

CHECK IT OUT


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Stefania Volpe

Stefania joined the international team at freelancermap in 2020. She loves marketing, the digital world, foreign languages and meeting different cultures. She moved from Italy to Germany thanks to an exchange program at the university and worked as marketing manager for several startups. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com.

By Stefania Volpe

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