Editor's Note: This post was originally published on September 10, 2018, and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
To reach growth and profitability goals, many companies have embraced outsourcing to independent contractors, freelancers, or so-called “gig workers.” Outsourcing helps when they’ve needed to scale up quickly to handle large projects or to fill in when employees are unavailable.
The most cited reasons from business owners when hiring outside resources relate to flexibility:
- They can hire quickly.
- They pay only for work performed.
- They avoid the complicated paperwork required with full-time employees.
Today’s so-called “gig economy” got its start decades ago.
An article in The New York Times reported that the gig economy had been a movement for at least 40 years. Consider these statistics presented in the article:
- 94% of net new jobs appear outside traditional employment
- Approximately one-third of workers – and half of young workers – participate in this alternative world of work, either as a primary or a supplementary source of income.
Other experts cite similar statistics, and most expect the gig economy to expand. Consider a few findings from Deloitte’s “2018 Human Capital Trends,” which suggest the trend will continue for at least the next two years. Deloitte surveyed 11,000 business and HR leaders from around the world and identified these trends:
- 37% anticipate growth in the use of outside contractors
- 33% expect an increase in freelancers
- 28% predict an increase in gig workers
These workers are available and ready to roll regardless of what they are called – temporary workers, contingent workers, contractors, freelancers, or gig workers. So how can field service organizations take full advantage of the availability of these workers? And what are the pitfalls to avoid?
Consider the best and worst things about gig workers.
In almost all markets, plenty of qualified, thoroughly vetted temporary workers are eager to participate in projects. Moreover, in most areas, multiple agencies vet these outside human resources, which helps ease the angst of putting workers in the field to represent the companies.
However, how do companies onboard these workers with speed and efficiency?
- How are workers trained on technology, systems, processes, company culture, and customer service?
- How can workers hit the ground running?
- How can companies ensure that confidential information stays confidential?
- How can companies ensure a successful experience for workers so they do not leave negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor?
Going back to the Deloitte study, many companies are uncertain about onboarding outside resources:
- Only 16% have established set practices and policies for “non-traditional” workers
- Only 32% of those surveyed said they track the quality of contract work
- Only 29% track compliance with contract terms
- Less than half (45%) provide these workers with training
- Just over half (54%) offer formal onboarding
While it can be challenging and time-consuming to onboard temporary workers in today’s gig economy, it is doable. However, every company engaging with these workers needs a plan.
Regardless of the projects and time spent on the job, there should be processes to ensure a positive experience for all involved- the company, the temporary workers, and the customers.
Become nimble and quick with the right tools and techniques.
In 2018, managing field service employees with an Excel file and printed work orders was no longer acceptable. Today, you need to empower your field service organization with a mobile solution that ensures an excellent experience for your customers, regardless of who shows up at their door.
Treating subcontractors as an extension of your team helps sustain your company’s integrity and protects the relationships you’ve worked to build. It also helps send a message to these temporary workers that they are valued.
A mobile solution like Gomocha’s FMP360 provides the critical link that connects the back office to the field. Perhaps even more important, FMP360 facilitates seamless communication between the organization and customers. In addition, a robust mobile solution enables field service crews to deliver first-time fixes efficiently and precisely. The result is happy customers and greater profitability.
FMP360 makes it easy to onboard subcontractors.
Onboarding field service subcontractors can be as uncomplicated as training them on how to use the platform. It’s a dynamic, easy-to-configure (and reconfigure) digital solution designed efficiently. Within a day or two, these workers will be up and running, equipped with everything they need to perform efficiently and professionally in the field.
- They can download the FMP360 app onto their own devices, so they don’t have to learn how to use a new device.
- Workers receive instructions on work orders, register time and materials, and request assistance.
- Workers receive briefings on customer-facing processes to represent your brand.
- You can give them access to the information they need.