Get Agile: A New Talent Management Strategy for a New Era
In this week’s edition of our Insider Report, we look at the following activity in the on-demand economy:
- If agile talent management is the question, we know the answer.
- Crowdfunding is helping those who lack paid maternity leave
- The “age of the freelancer” is changing the nature of business
- An app to help freelancers track tax-deductible expenses
Determining who’s in charge of “agile talent”
In a March 14 post, Harvard Business Review not only makes excellent use of the term “agile talent,” but hits on a key point regarding the use of outside workers and consultants: Whose job should it be to manage freelance talent?
As framed by authors Jon Younger and Rishon Blumberg, even as “organizations in every industry and geography are increasingly indebted to external talent,” those organizations are also learning that managing such workers can have its own particular challenges.
The authors conclude that “business and government leaders have much to learn about designing their organizations” to get the most out of agile talent and benefit all parties.
Younger and Blumberg find room to briefly plug their own business interests (one of which is a book titled, unsurprisingly, Agile Talent), but they also provide some ideas on how to address this challenge, such as creating a specific “external talent manager” role.
An alternative solution – one not yet on Younger’s and Blumberg’s radars – is OneSpace’s talent management platform.
The OneSpace platform, which is currently accepting applications for participation in the beta release (due to hit the market in Q2 2016), is specifically designed to help companies develop and manage workflows, better leverage internal team members’ skillsets, and supplement their workforces with on-demand external talent when needed.
Working moms turn to crowdfunding for time off after childbirth
Many U.S. employers do not include paid maternity leave in their benefits packages. As Cora Lewis reported March 10 on BuzzFeed, this has prompted some new moms to try crowdfunding to bring in extra cash, so they can take additional unpaid time off once their PTO has been exhausted.
Excluding government workers, only 12 percent of Americans have access to paid leave following a child’s birth, Lewis notes. That’s why GoFundMe, one of the top sites for crowdfunding personal finances (as opposed to business ventures), has seen a big upsurge in campaigns to cover maternity-related cash crunches.
Lewis quotes Josh Chapman, CEO of GiveForward, another personal crowdfunding site, as saying there’s less stigma attached to starting such campaigns as participation grows, leading to more adoption of the model.
Are we entering the “age of the freelancer”?
Mashable says so, and if Mashable says so, you can trust – well, you can trust that the story will be viral, at least.
This March 9 post by contributor John Rampton doesn’t really contain any breaking news, but its very existence is indicative of how mainstream this economic shift has become.
As the post notes, people who might never have considered becoming independent contractors before are increasingly aware of its potential as a viable alternative to the pure employee life.
According to Rampton, who founded the online payment company Due, using freelancers is especially beneficial for entrepreneurs such as himself. He says entrepreneurs have “found talent [that] understands what it’s like to start a business and wear many hats – so advantageously, they are both doing the same thing.”
Rampton also makes a point of noting that clients need to appreciate that freelancers have financial considerations different than those of employees.
“[M]any freelancers often list themselves as self-employed and end up with higher taxes and insurance costs,” he writes. “They also have concerns about saving for retirement. While entrepreneurs are not responsible for these costs, it is still important to understand … and listen carefully when they propose an increase in their rates over time.”
Helping freelancers track expenses in a flash
In a recent edition of the Insider Report, we reported on Bonsai, a tool designed to help freelancers more easily get paid.
Now there’s also Xero TaxTouch, an iOS tool its developers claim will let freelancers track business expenses with just “the swipe of a finger.” (As with Bonsai, OneSpace has no promotional relationship with Xero TaxTouch.)
Xero, which creates accounting software, announced the mobile-only app March 8 on its website’s blog. Post author Jamie Sutherland says the app is “designed specifically for self-employed individuals like dog walkers, taxi drivers, real estate agents, consultants, yoga instructors and hair stylists.”
Sutherland notes that TaxTouch users can separate business expenses from personal ones by swiping right for business or left for personal on an iPhone.
According to the post, Xero surveyed independent contractors about their experiences with finances and taxes: “Almost 50 percent didn’t know how – or that they could – deduct expenses against their business. It’s a large, underserved market.”
Although the post doesn’t get into these specifics, a quick search shows that the app is only for iOS devices at least for now, but a note on the Xero site says it’s “not yet available on Android phones,” so it sounds like that’s in the works.
A subscription to the app costs $5.99 a month, but some yearly subscription discounts are available, and it also appears to have a free trial. Freelancers who struggle to keep up with deductible expenses might want to check it out.