At a glance:
The hybrid approach is all about identifying, hiring, and creating a happy mix of full-time employees and freelance talent. In today’s competitive hiring landscape, employers who want to attract and retain top talent can adopt the hybrid model to ensure their teams stay relevant and can keep up with the dynamic changes in their industries and workforce.
We witnessed a historic move in the 2020 job market due to the Pandemic, driving businesses to change faster and at a larger scale than ever before. To not only survive, but thrive over the last two years, many businesses became virtual, digital-centric, and agile; all at record-setting speed. As such, remote work and using freelance talent have become the norm in many companies.
Kate Smaje, senior partner and global co-leader of McKinsey Digital, states:
Business leaders are saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months. That kind of speed is what’s unleashing a wave of innovation, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The crisis has forced every company into a massive experiment in how to be more nimble, flexible, and fast.”
McKinsey’s research also highlighted how “leading companies just operate faster, from reviewing strategies to allocating resources. For example, they reallocate talent and capital four times more quickly than their peers.”
To make the best of the new reality and deliver results, business leaders need to redefine priorities and rethink talent sourcing. This is where freelance (or open) talent comes in, as a collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled, rapid-cycle way of doing business. When done right, utilizing freelance talent can provide more opportunities for companies and employees and foster diversity. It also helps organizations better manage costs and accelerate results by effectively managing their in-sourced vs. outsourced workforce.
The hybrid talent model isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; there are lots of ways to structure flexible teams. Evaluate the strengths and pitfalls of each to understand what fits best for you.
The pitfalls of in-sourcing
Believe it or not, no organization can produce everything in-house. Here’s what happens when a brand tries to do too much in-house:
- The Echo Chamber – When there’s no diversity, the brand suffers. Diverse talent brings in unique skill sets that can improve the performance of an entire team. Want to serve and work with a diverse customer base? Unlock talent pools in other locations and create an organization full of variety, various expertise levels, and backgrounds.
- Standing Still – Business is evolving faster than ever, and so are the demands on marketing and creative teams. To remain relevant, businesses must learn and grow alongside their customers. The riskiest thing a business and marketing leader can do is nothing.
- Misused FTE Budget – Although team leaders often make a case for in-sourcing, headcount tends to be finite in every planning cycle. Marketers (among other teams) need to do more with less, and fractional, outsourced talent can bring faster results at a lower cost – an opportunity missed with a model solely based on FTEs.
- Agility Loss – Large, bloated organizations move slowly and don’t like change, failing to deliver on new business priorities. Hybrid talent models can bring in top-shelf talent on short notice and quickly pivot to meet shifting demands.
The strong case for open talent
Businesses have unique talent needs and this is where an open, flexible talent model can help an organization thrive. Sometimes it’s all about speed to market; other times, a deeper understanding of the business is needed to crack an idea. In any case, a fresh perspective and a new set of skills mean businesses are one step closer to delivering high-quality work in less time.
Overall, companies that embrace open talent are more cost-efficient and can reduce large fixed costs, which makes them more competitive. A hybrid approach of in-sourcing and out-sourcing enables organizations to improve their creative output, better manage their cost structure, and get to market faster than the competition.
What the hybrid talent approach looks like
There are several ways to operationalize the hybrid talent approach to diversify your talent pool and create a happy mix in your workforce to streamline recruitment. Here are the most common components of a hybrid talent model:
- The in-house team – In-house teams should function as the strategic heart of the organization. That doesn’t mean they need to execute everything, but they should be involved at the highest level. The key to this is having leaders who can seamlessly switch between leading the internal team and inspiring external agencies, partners, and freelancers.
- Flex staffing – The amount and type of work that needs to get done changes throughout the year. Even if the internal team does a great job planning (and sticking to the plan), they will still cycle between planning, ideation, execution, and optimization. As priorities keep evolving, establish a way to alternate the efforts of an in-house team with those of reliable, external talent to help meet changing needs.
- Using consultants – Your organization can cut back on costs by having an in-house team working together with a team of specialized consultants. These are thought leaders who reached a point in their career when it doesn’t make sense for them to work at an agency anymore because they can make more money freelancing. Many enjoy the freedom of contracting or are starting their own businesses. They are top strategic, creative, technical, or operational talent, eager to do great work, and they don’t come with the additional cost of ‘agency of record’ agreements.
- Thought partners – A growing number of specialists can add massive value to your business, often in marketing innovation spaces. For example, the rise of growth marketing goes hand-in-hand with measuring the performance of marketing organizations against revenue. Rather than hiring F/T roles to execute in-house, businesses can achieve more cost-effective results by partnering with vendors specializing in Search, Website Development, MarTech adoption, etc.
- Production partners – Once an idea has landed (internally or with a partner), you need to create assets to support the vision. Previously, agencies used to manage this process, but with a hybrid talent approach, businesses can pivot these tasks to cheaper production partners while managing the process (and therefore, costs) internally.
The future of work
Going fully digital comes with the benefit of having access to top-tier talent. By expanding the search focus worldwide, companies see not only an increase in quality of expertise but also the quality of work. With remote work and open talent here to stay, rushing people to the office seems expensive and inconvenient, whereas the hybrid approach is delivering great benefits for both employees and employers.
Talent platforms are creating better ways to staff teams and projects, enabling businesses to fill talent gaps, deliver cost efficiencies and innovate at scale. Those that fully leverage open talent will gain a competitive advantage by bringing in better ideas, faster execution, and stronger results. The best way to remain competitive is to build and maintain a strategic talent pipeline now.
With Communo, finding trusted, specialized and skilled talent has never been more accessible. Communo helps businesses grow their revenue asap, not months from now. Hiring the right mix of talent for different projects results in a better brand experience, more flexible scheduling, and smaller overall budgets.
The hybrid talent model, in short, helps hiring teams focus on what’s most important: becoming more agile and streamlining the hiring process by building a sustainable talent-led organization.