A short piece from Alexander Garrett in Management Today that does a great job of making the case for using freelancers: essentially, “expertise on demand”.
The market of freelancers continues to grow as businesses seek to become increasingly agile. For National Freelancers Day last year (23rd November), the Professional Contractors Group unveiled research which suggested there are now 1.4 million freelancers in the UK generating a combined £82 billion in turnover. Around the same time, the business intelligence firm Experian reported a 181 per cent growth in the number of micro-business entrepreneurs in the “Business management and consultancy” sector since 2005.
The implication for management is interesting. Garrett’s piece alludes to the difference in relationship but as the use of on-demand expertise develops, managers will need to rebalance their skills in ways which will more resemble project management than traditional (employee) team management. They will need to be able to select, form and inspire teams on a shorter term basis and will need to quickly convey organisational culture, norms and expectations efficiently and regularly. Network management too will be a required skill as managers need to maintain relations with a looser network of potential team members for future projects. And, of course, they will need to maintain their own leaner team of core employees.
Excitingly agile times ahead.