Corporate offices used to pride themselves on arranging all their employees neatly in cubicles. Employees would sit at the same desk for years or even decades enduring the 9 to 5 grind. But things have changed, and your new work colleague could be located 10,000 miles away on another continent.
Technology has removed geographical barriers and enabled a new breed of freelancers. It’s not just limited to independent contractors. Even full-time workers are building their side-hustle to ensure so they too can live life on their own terms.
More than one in three workers are now freelancers. The workplace is evolving, and businesses are building a very different relationship with the staff that they hire. Many often struggle to find a candidate with the right skills to fit their new requirements and are increasingly expanding their search for freelancers geographically.
The allure of lowering costs and meeting project needs makes freelancers incredibly appealing to businesses. Technologies such as cloud computing are also growing to accommodate the 21st-century worker. But, where does an enterprise begin to find the best freelancers? And how do they avoid poor performers who over promise and under deliver?
Vibrant marketplaces such as Upwork appeal to both businesses and freelancers alike with their rating system. These ratings enable a company to read first-hand accounts of their freelance history. How a freelancer helped them overcome problems, their strengths and also their weaknesses.
Other rating systems on traditional platforms such as LinkedIn are starting to look little dated. Anything that favors reciprocity is hugely misleading and offers little regarding value for either party. However, in an extremely competitive market, even Upwork’s rating system has weaknesses that can cause more problems than it solves.
For example, anything less than a perfect 5-star rating can make a freelancer invisible to businesses who have filtered their search results to only show them perfectly rated talent for hire. What is the valuable lesson here? People have strengths and weaknesses just like platforms such as LinkedIn and Upwork.
The bigger question that remains is why do we only ever talk about strengths? Rather than avoiding the uncomfortable subject of weaknesses, why not tackle them head on and encourage continuous improvements? By embracing this different mindset, businesses and freelancers should have a much smoother relationship.
Project managers and business leaders need to know the rating of any freelancer in the gig economy. Equally, a business could miss out on the perfect candidate with the current system as they filter out any candidate with any sign of weakness. The global employment landscape has evolved into something entirely different to adapt in a digital world.
However, the way in which we rate and judge the suitability of candidates has changed very little in the last 50 years. For businesses to put the right people in the right positions, they need radical transparency and a new fresh approach.
For example, experiences in business along with the freelancer’s key talents and skills are essential. But cultural matching is equally as important to ensure when collaborating, both their work and personality are the right fit for the company.
Honest and constructive peer reviews and feedback can be used to create trusted profiles. Identifying freelancers weaknesses and helping them address areas for improvement are just as important and arguably more important than their strengths.
Businesses need the ability to see the bigger picture and understand exactly who a person is, what projects they enjoy and what types of work they struggle with. Only then can they begin to understand if they are the right fit for the organization and this should not be seen as a positive rather than a negative.
We have all encountered talented individuals who have excelled at other companies, but they just don’t fit into a team somewhere else. These are just a few reasons that highlight how the current system is fundamentally flawed and why we need something different than generic reviews from strangers online.
Every year we are witnessing the emergence of more and more online marketplaces linking talent across multiple industries and demographic categories. With an ever-increasing demand for freelance opportunities, businesses need a new way to get to know their freelancers better and determine if they are the right fit for the company.
The global workforce has changed forever, and the demise of the 9-5 is closer than may realize. As we head towards a future where the workforce could be 50% Freelance, maybe we should try something new and begin to celebrate both our strengths and weaknesses.
Tech Columnist, Writer, Blogger and Podcaster featured in @HuffingtonPost @TheNextWeb @Inc @ZDnet & LinkedIn Top Voice on Technology https://lists.linkedin.com/2015/top-voices/technology?trk=ranking-overview-b-ind#.