Employers needn't worry about current record-low unemployment numbers. After all, the rising tide of the freelance economy has deepened the talent pool immensely. A growing swell of top talent is ready to offer its skills to your organization. And with that expertise will come a much-discussed commodity: diversity.
By embracing innovative technology and freelance practices, such as remote working, companies can better remove the biases and geographic constraints around hiring.
The Gig Economy as a Corporate Diversity Booster
The macro trend that enables this new level of diversity is the workplace's shift from purely full-time workers to outsourcing projects and tasks of all sizes to freelancers. This evolution to measuring productivity more quantitatively (i.e., through projects and tasks) allows organizations to hire freelancers on the sole basis of their abilities to carry out projects.
Technology has helped facilitate inclusivity, allowing companies to judge people on ability, without factoring in convenience. Companies can source their own professional networks for this diverse talent, and also tap job boards, message boards and other global platforms to find their ideal hires.
Because freelancers come from all backgrounds and are hired on a project-by-project basis, they generally aren't hired on the basis of appearance, gender, age or other common sources of unconscious biases. They're judged first and foremost on the ideas and experiences they bring to the table and, in turn, assessed on how much value they can provide to a project and a company.
A more adaptable working environment fosters the beginnings of a company that's unconstrained and naturally diverse.
While freelance workforces help restrict the chances of unconsciously biased hiring, they can also widen the scope employers use to bring the best and brightest onto new projects. For so long, companies have existed only as far as their geographic boundaries have allowed them. Freelance workforces promote borderless companies whose ability, physical space and employee demographics have no limits.
How to Set Up a Diverse Remote Workforce
Use the following to help incorporate diversity into your company when hiring your freelance workforce:
1. Establish freelancer hiring policies.
After deciding to hire freelance-based personnel, adjust your hiring practices to fit remote-working needs. Take your own operational policies into account, too. If employees are in different parts of the world or have different routines that affect their productivity, ask them what those are. Do they work better in the morning or the afternoon? When and what time is best to communicate with them? When would they prefer their deadlines to be? Remember that as you bring more remote people into the mix, you'll undoubtedly want to continuously improve your policies.
2. Build distinctive freelancer recruitment and onboarding procedures.
You may love someone's resume and portfolio, but you need to know that person is committed to you. For that reason, seek out freelancers who place a high value on communication and other soft skills.
Then focus on onboarding measures that leverage remote-friendly technology. Account for your remote workers when determining how best to communicate with your teams. Record a welcome video, dial freelancers into all appropriate meetings and discontinue all discussions once video chat ends. This keeps them in the loop and less at risk of feeling alienated.
3. Offer flexible work-from-home policies.
Employ strategies—flexible vacation, remote resources, technology, etc.—that showcase the corporation's belief in work-life balance. This not only will ease the burdens of non-remote people, but it will also keep good employees on staff should they have to relocate and work remotely.
A more adaptable working environment fosters the beginnings of a company that's unconstrained and naturally diverse. The more diverse your freelance roster is, the more chances you'll have to tap workers in other parts of the world for their unique skill sets and experiences. And you never know whether those workers will be the ones whose ideas take your company to the next level.
Inclusivity isn't a hollow buzzword—it's a concept that concerns talented workers and a company's ability to appeal to them. The remote freelance economy is an opportunity for every company to implement objective hiring practices and promote diversity.
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