The way companies build a work force and manage talent is changing, with freelancing becoming more and more popular. In fact, freelancers represent a large and growing population that offers unique advantages such as access to required expertise, reduced startup time, top expert input and an influx of new best practice ideas – all at a fraction of the price of hiring someone fulltime. As such, one would think that the role of human resources (HR) has never been more important. Yet HR, by and large, tends not to be involved in getting freelancers involved in a company, typically leaving this to individual managers. This is a mistake, and one that could cost companies as well as HR personnel themselves.
Managers need skills in how to work with freelancers, especially if they manage a blended team of freelancers and onsite, fulltime staff. Most managers often lack the requisite skills to do this. This is where HR can provide valuable input and help increase the impact of using freelancers. Moreover, if HR fails to understand this trend and remains distant from freelancers, HR functions will increasingly be viewed as something someone else can take care of, making HR expendable in the eyes of many executives. Now is the time for HR to flex its knowledge and demonstrate the value it can add to the freelance process.