HR Function

What does “blended workforce” mean?

employees on video call

According to Forbes, we will see even more companies building a “blended workforce” in 2017. But what is a blended workforce?

A blended workforce is a variety of employees who have a range of different contracts. For example:

  • Permanent full-time employees
  • Part-timers
  • Temporary workers
  • Contractors and freelancers
  • Agency workers

Forbes explained that the reasons behind this growing trend of a blended workforce, is that more companies are hiring on-demand (using platforms like Wonolo on-demand staffing )so that they can solve problems quickly, while bypassing on-going costs associated with permanent employees, such as healthcare.

But is this trend really happening? You bet it is.

According to Intuit, roughly 25-30 percent of the US workforce is classed as “contingent”. This means freelancers, temps and part-timers.

But how can your business benefit from managing a blended workforce?

Advantages of a blended workforce

There are plenty of benefits to be gained by managing a blended workforce. These benefits go beyond simply avoiding the recruitment, on-boarding and insurance costs of maintaining a permanent full-time workforce. For example:

  • Happier staff. Blog Talk Radio says that contingent workers are happier, because they feel good about profiting from their own business acumen, and they have a better work-life balance.
  • Better problem solving. Sunil Bagai, CEO of Crowdstaffing, says that a blended workforce brings a more diverse mix of perspectives and solutions to the table
  • Access specialist skills. Goodhire suggests that a blended workforce gives you better access to specialised skillsets.

Challenges associated with a blended workforce

If you want the benefits, you have to face the challenges. And just like anything else, a blended workforce brings its own set of challenges for you to deal with. Such as:

– Blurred lines. EBN states that one challenge can be dealing with the blurred lines between employees and contractors. For example, how do you integrate contractors into your talent management system?

– Conflicting schedules. Genesis HR mentions that one problem to overcome, is that of your contingent workers having different schedules to your permanent employees. Even if you live in the same time zones, it isn’t always possible to control the schedule your contingent workers keep.

– Higher hourly rates. Contractors tend to charge more per hour than you pay your equivalent full-time employees. However, this is a bit of a red herring – Contractor UK is only too eager to remind us that contractors are not necessarily more expensive overall.

Do you manage a blended workforce?

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Is it good for business? Did you ever manage a team made entirely of permanent full-time employees? Which approach do you prefer? Let us know!