Strategies for a more flexible marketing workforce:
In Jelber, we often have dialogues with customers about the strategies one can adopt to create a more flexible workforce that can quickly adapt to changing markets and the need for new skills, as well as optimizing performance and finances. In our view, this dialogue should involve all actors within marketing, which is why it is important to consider the optimal use of agencies, permanent staff, and freelancers/interims. Only through this can one achieve the overall goals of flexibility, the ability to adapt to changing business needs, performance, and cost-effectiveness. The following are the elements we believe should be included in such a strategy:
Talent mix: The strategy should address the specific skills and expertise required to execute the marketing plan, whether for permanent employees, freelancers, or agencies. The plan should include a decision on which competencies are strategic and business-critical and should be handled by permanent employees, and which can be handled by freelancers/interims and agencies.
Planning: Development of a resource plan that takes into account the availability and cost-effectiveness of using permanent employees, freelancers, and agencies. The plan should include an understanding of expected workloads and the resources required to achieve the company's goals.
Talent acquisition: A plan for using recruitment channels, selection processes, and onboarding for the different types of employees and partners.
Performance: Establishing performance matrices and goals for all employees, regardless of their employment status, as well as partners. Regular performance evaluations should be conducted to assess progress and provide feedback to improve performance. This also applies to freelancers and interims.
Communication: Establishing clear communication channels for everyone to ensure they are informed of the company's goals, objectives, and progress. Communication should also address any concerns or issues that may arise, including feedback, performance, and expectations. For example, the best companies ensure that freelancers and interims have access to internal channels, are invited to internal meetings, and receive ongoing feedback, etc.
Culture: Establishing a positive and inclusive work culture that values all employees and partners, regardless of their employment status and workplace. The best companies embrace both agencies and freelancers as if they were a fully integrated part of the organization.
Employer branding: Ensuring reasonable and fair conditions regarding hourly rates, payment terms, and sickness/vacation for everyone, including interims and freelancers. We have previously written about the importance of a good freelance employer brand here. The best companies we work with, for example, offer paid sick and vacation days to interims and help us communicate their brand, purpose, and strategy. This is particularly important for recruiting the best freelancers abroad, who may not be familiar with Danish companies (other than the largest consumer brands, such as LEGO, etc.).
Compliance: Have contracts, NDA's, data security agreements, how to get access to systems etc. in place to ensure compliance with internal regulations and local laws
Technology: Use technology to optimize processes, improve communication, and support collaboration. This includes the use of tools such as project management software, collaboration platforms, and communication tools to facilitate work across multiple teams and locations. The best companies we work with use Asana or other tools to manage projects and communication among all involved. Furthermore, with regard to freelancers, we set up time-tracking systems so that everyone can keep track of time and resource consumption.
4 models for a more blended workforce and use of freelancers
The above is the more generic parts of the strategy, but with regards to actually working with a more mixed workforce, we have developed 4 best practice models based on experiences from how our customers organize themselves:
1. Use of solo freelancers/interims. This is the most commonly used strategy, allowing for quick scaling up and down of resource usage during peak periods, sickness, maternity leave, project work, or other needs.
2. Hyper care. This strategy is often used as an alternative to using agencies (internal and external), where there is a desire for a flexible and cost-effective team to solve tasks. This strategy also involves the use of on-site project managers who handle and orchestrate the use of freelancers in the organization.
3. On-demand teams. This strategy is based on having a fixed team of permanent employees to handle strategy, planning, data, and project management. But all content development is handled by a fixed team of freelancers closely tied to the company on fixed contracts for longer periods (years).
4. Decoupling. Some companies have adapted a strategy where the focus is on using agencies for more strategic and creative tasks, but in terms of development and implementation, they work with freelance specialists in order to get more value for money.This requires good project management and a close corporation between everyone involved to be successful and then it can lead to better utilization of competences, quality in work and savings of up to 50%
Some clients use only one of the above strategies, but many use all 4 strategies to ensure flexibility, performance, and optimization of budgets.
Please feel free to reach out if you would like a more detailed review of the 4 strategy models or simply want to hear how we can help with a more mixed workforce at your organization.