The expanding Talent Gap and growing employee preference for flexibility, illustrated by the rise of the gig economy, is forcing companies to develop their contingency workforce strategies. According to the latest report by Everest this is the main factor for growth on the global Managed Service Provider (MSP) market, which is maintaining its double-digit growth and is expected to hit 160-165 billion USD in 2019. However, many companies are investing in vendor management platforms, such as Fieldglass and Beeline, to help them acquire and manage directly sourced contingency workers.
One of the emerging trends and an important aspect of the Gig Economy is the Human Cloud. Digital platforms enable the establishment and completion of projects, and in many cases also provide management and feedback solutions. Although Human Cloud providers usually attract freelancers, they can form teams and are able to connect big players with smaller service providers (Talent Alpha is an example of the latter solution).
According to Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), global Human Cloud transactions were worth $126.3 billion in 2018. We are witnessing a rapid expansion of Human Cloud used traditionally in smaller organizations (where this solution helped to fill positions that are financially unattainable via full-time hires) into enterprises. Large companies, facing a Tech talent gap, are increasingly more open to reaching potential talent across the world through a flexible model. Staffing firms are also more open to cooperating with a human cloud service. These companies are already working with some (13%) or are considering acquiring a human cloud service or partnering with one (34%). Last but not least MSP & VMS providers are increasingly integrating with human cloud vendors.
There are many aspects as to how the Human Cloud can be commercially beneficial. It can be a fantastic source of specialists with niche skills and who can complement internal resources. An efficient platform provides greater flexibility and process transparency. In many cases, the service is effective both in terms of time and costs. However, there are three important factors you should take into consideration when implementing the Human Cloud into your total workforce strategy so that your projects achieve great results:
1. Secure availability
Your Human Cloud platform should be able to provide you with a scalable talent pool, which is available now or in a very clearly specified timeframe. The beauty of Human Cloud solutions is that you can search the inventory and choose the specialists you need on demand. However, you must be sure that they are still available and have not changed their mind. The database should also be large enough to secure a replacement if someone is either not in a position to join a team or does not fit a project team’s profile. The major advantage of cooperating with external Human Cloud providers over an in-house solution is that your provider is responsible for securing availability and can provide a bigger inventory because of serving many clients.
2. Make sure your provider takes responsibility
Quality of service is the main concern for a company utilizing the Human Cloud. It is also the main challenge for platforms providing freelancers. Although their profiles can be very attractive there is a huge need for efficient monitoring systems and management models which will secure and maintain the highest quality. Make sure your platform provides them. In an ideal model, the Human Cloud partner will take full commercial and legal responsibility for the service. They should also be insured in case of any unexpected circumstances so you that you can be sufficiently compensated.
3. Really knowing the Talent you choose
Make sure the profiles you search through on a Human Cloud platform are real and that the skills they show have been accurately measured and vetted through reliable and valid tools. Ask platform providers how many data points are measured (e.g. Talent Alpha collects nearly 500 data points) and what kind of tools are used to confirm the depth of technical expertise (preferably using objective measures such as DevSkiller, Codility or HackerRank test results – they are more informative than self-assessments). It is also important to know the cognitive and personal traits of the person – think about what kind of personalities would best suit your project and working with your team. Search for solutions such as those provided by Pearson TalentLens and Mettl.
4. Invest in Teams
The last point is not so obvious for companies that are already working with Human Cloud platforms. As has been mentioned earlier, a lot of these platforms can attract freelancers and gig workers. However, it is coordinating them that is a major challenge. So what about engaging teams that are ready to ‘hit the ground running’? A team e.g. from a small IT software provider would be battle-tested, experienced in working together, well organized and supervised by their own manager who can effectively monitor them. If you want to hire a team, also ask a platform provider if they match candidates with their prospective fellow team members – it is important to have complementary skills and personalities that enhance and not hinder a team’s productivity. Engaging a team that already works well together will speed your time to productivity and quality of any final solution