During a worldwide crisis of such an unprecedented scale, businesses are quick to either adapt or perish. It sounds harsh, but the truth is that “only the adaptable survive.”
Meanwhile, top business leaders are rethinking their strategies. They are trying to develop new scaling models (about their businesses and their tech teams) before technology makes them obsolete. This is ironic, considering information technology was what enabled that same growth in the first place.
The bottom line is that the pandemic facilitated much-needed changes in most tech organizations, leaving it up to the top brass to figure out the details. One of these so-called “details” has been manifested in the shift to online on-demand platforms (to find developer talent) compared to traditional employment channels.
Here’s how it all came to pass and how you can leverage this change to get a leg up on your competitors sooner rather than later.
The emergence of talent-on-demand platforms
On-demand talent, or freelance marketplaces, is not a new concept. It has existed way before anyone could have predicted its main use-cases (as a concept) and will continue to exist long after the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic takes its last toll.
Some are even asking the proverbial question: could on-demand talent become the future of work?
As a business model, the freelance economy plays well alongside several emerging fields. These include artificial intelligence (and the promise for general AI in the years to come), healthcare, fintech, supply chain management, and many others.
Considering all that, coupled with the chronic shortage of skilled workers, leading organizations now face an emergent but existential challenge. How can they “fill in their ranks” with the right people, who in turn have the right skills and are willing to do what is needed at the right moment?
Workplace demographics are shifting too. Using United States of America linguistics, what is considered “Boomers” are exiting the labor market at a rapid pace, while the so-called “Millenials” and “Gen-z” are entering in their stead.
This unprecedented change makes tectonic shifts to the entire business strategy, which organizations are quick to address, mitigate, and solve in the upcoming years with the help of talent-on-demand platforms.
The major players in the field
If there is something that we’ve learned over the past years, it’s that whenever a gap appears in the supply-demand paradigm, there are usually several players who come onto the scene to fill in that gap.
In terms of digital talent (which inevitably led to a major digital transformation of the existing tech workforce, planning not excluded), names like Upwork, Toptal, PeoplePerHour, Fiverr, and our own Proxify come to mind.
These platforms offer a talent pool of a highly skilled digital tech labor force leading enterprises can pick from, giving full-time employees a run for their money.
Types of talent-on-demand platforms
As the on-demand economy has “proliferated” across multiple popular and promising industries, three types of online platforms have broken through:
- Premium talent platforms
- Freelance worker platforms
- Crowdsourcing innovation platforms
Premium talent platforms
Talent platforms that source elite on-demand developers include Toptal and Proxify (again, that’s us!).
Businesses usually turn to such marketplaces when they prioritize quality, fast turnaround times, and when looking to fill in more senior roles such as software project managers to work long-term on complex projects.
These projects can last anywhere from days to weeks to months, and most organizations usually hire more than a single developer to boot.
Furthermore, what makes this model effective is that it allows fast team scaling without undertaking unnecessary risks on the company’s side. We at Proxify match professional developers with a company in a matter of days, and if the business decides they need a better match, we are quick to provide that as well.
Freelance worker platforms
Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour all fall under this category. Historically, enterprises turn to these online marketplaces when they need a professional (or multiple) who can work on a per-project basis.
Example projects include designing a logo, translating documents and other types of texts, as well as completing discrete tasks such as exploring new digital channels for an upcoming marketing campaign.
The dominant workforce that offer their services on these freelancer platforms are well-versed in multiple technologies and tools, or at least it could be said they are “tech savvy.” As for professional software developers (front-end and back-end), they too can be found here, although to a lesser extent than on dedicated platforms such as Proxify or Toptal.
Crowdsourcing innovation platforms
Crowdsourcing platforms work a little differently. They allow businesses to post a wide variety of technical challenges in front of a large crowd of technically adept professionals. In this way, companies can seek solutions from a wider array of talent (that operate in multiple industries) and improve their chances of solving the problem.
These challenges can be anything from adding a short snippet of code to solving multi-billion dollar issues about a complex engineering problem, like optimizing the supply chain of electricity across a country (Enel, an Italian energy enterprise, has often turned to these types of platforms to “source” solutions from the crowd).
The incentives for professionals are twofold: every challenge creates a competitive environment that seeks to develop the best solution possible, and companies usually offer monetary prizes to the winners.
Examples of the most prominent crowdsourcing innovation platforms include Kaggle and InnoCentive, among others.
How can your tech team benefit from using the talent-on-demand model?
Tech teams, their managers, and the company can greatly benefit from working with on-demand talent. The three most important benefits include:
- Scaling your teams up or down depending on fluctuations in the market
- Incurring a greater cost flexibility
- Increasing your company’s resilience during disruptive times
Scaling your teams
One of the most tangible benefits of using the on-demand model for recruiting new talent is the possibility to scale your teams up (or down) according to your company’s needs.
If your project requires more than a single developer on-demand, you can easily decide to continue or stop using your platform of choice’s services to scale your teams in either direction.
To that extent, on-demand hiring should be an extension of your in-house hiring to avoid a drop in candidate quality and other unforeseeable “hiccups” (not the right fit, not having the right skills).
Improving your budget flexibility
The second most prominent benefit of on-demand hiring is that it gives you a more expansive “wiggle room” regarding your operational costs. A typical hiring strategy is more rigid: you must comply with all federal (if applicable), regional, and state labor laws. Compared to that, on-demand hiring is more flexible in this regard.
On-demand developers can join the team whenever there’s a need for their skills and services, which allows companies to retain their on-demand workforce as long as necessary.
On the other hand, given it was previously agreed with the employee, you can let your on-demand talent go if their service demand suddenly drops.
Increasing your business resilience
In today’s unpredictable employment market, talent-on-demand hiring models can meet the exact needs of your business at the right time. Knowing that you can “dial down” your hiring process or even stop it outright can save your business from going bust.
Given its track record of highly competitive space, the IT industry can use on-demand hiring to:
- Keep top candidates in high confidentiality
- Provide support to your in-house hiring efforts regularly
Finally, talent-on-demand platforms can provide that elusive “x-factor” that will separate your business from the rest and help you scale comfortably.
If your aim is to scale your tech teams quickly, on-demand hiring is surely the way to go.
What remote working trends should businesses follow to future-proof their model?
To remain competitive, business should pay attention to several different factors regarding on-demand remote working models:
Talent-on-demand platforms have become the norm - Open talent work models have slowly paved their way into the mainstream of work in general. Today, businesses are using them on a regular basis, and more frequently than some would imagine. A huge chunk of the active workforce is now open to a hybrid, on-demand working model. What once used to be existing on the fringes of everyday work (remote working) is now considered an actual mainstream approach in the marketplace.
Talent moves the needle - Horizontal talent strategies are starting to replace the more traditional vertical hierarchies, and almost everyone is getting in on the fun. Instead of being siloed, work is now delegated in specific chunks through multiple channels, allowing for greater flexibility in the way teams—and especially tech teams—respond to different challenges. Now companies can rely on multiple arms to solve a challenge, including their in-house teams, freelance contractors or crowdsourcing platforms—to name a few.
Company culture will change as technology improves - Over the course of recent history, we’ve seen that changes in culture (state, societal and corporate) are usually preceded by “mammoth” changes in technology. As the talent-on-demand working model will continue to evolve, businesses will try to catch up in order to remain competitive. State rules will closely follow. To that end, companies will have to rethink a large part of existing practices, systems, and reward incentives that will no longer apply to the current market landscape.
The future of work is the work of the future. It seems like those unwilling to embrace the remote, on-demand working model will either fizzle out or fail.
Either way, most businesses are showing greater flexibility as we’re seeing these changes rolled out across the labor marketplace.
The bottom line is if you want your business to remain competitive and relevant going forward, not excluding the potential for growth and scale, using the talent-on-demand model via proven platforms can help you achieve just that.