Who’s Who? Temp Agencies vs. Freelance Marketplaces

Who's Who Temp Agencies vs. Freelance Marketplaces

Temp employees, freelancers, outsourced workers—when taking a first step into the non-traditional workforce, it’s easy for companies to feel overwhelmed. Where do you find top talent? How can employment agencies help? How do you ensure a candidate is a strong fit?

For many organizations, finding an partner to connect you with top talent is an important first step. However, before connecting with an agency, you’ll want to understand who they recruit and what type of work their candidates are best suited for. Most importantly: should you partner with a temp agency or a freelance marketplace?

Temporary Employment Agencies

Temporary employment agencies, also known as “temp agencies,” match workers with businesses through short-term contracts or open-ended positions. In most cases, the temp agency acts as a Human Resources department both for the hiring company and the candidates. For the hiring company, the agency can manage much of the recruitment process, including pre-screening candidates, conducting background and drug testing, and sharing information about the role. For the candidate, the agency is a helpful resource for landing them in a job and perhaps opening the door to a permanent, full-time role.

While temp agencies offer a suitable option for companies in a hiring bind or needing to cut costs, they are rarely a perfect solution to a hiring challenge. First, there is a question of candidate quality. Due to the large pool of applicants in an agency’s system, there is a risk of attracting lower quality workers.

In addition, the temporary nature of the work assignment doesn’t always lend itself to commitment to the role or company. Communication issues may arise between outsourced contractors and the business itself. Due to the lack of familiarity of the contractor with the company’s policies, procedures, and even politics, the temporary employee may be at times at odds with company goals.

Freelance Marketplaces

Distinct from temporary employment agencies, Outsourcing or Freelance marketplaces connect companies with workers who specialize in a specific skill set. This is a great solution when companies need to onboard someone quickly with an expertise or skill level that doesn’t already exist within the organization. Outsourced professional services can include call centers and customer service, payroll and bookkeeping, and advertising and public relations.

Unlike temp agencies, businesses should consider hiring outsourced workers when looking for a more specialized, long-term resource to support specific projects. Partnering with an outsourcing or freelance agency is an attractive option both from a cost point or view and the level of expertise being offered.

Whereas an organization might hire a few temp workers to “fill the seats,” freelance workers are used to drive efficiency and quickly bring a team member on board to support a specific project or initiative. This, in turn, allows the organization to focus on its core competencies while delegating specialized tasks to the outsourced contractors.

The Right Decision for Your Business

As companies face a tight labor market and competition for top talent, exploring temporary and fractional work options can be a helpful solution to staffing challenges. However, as previously outlined, the non-traditional workforce has complexities of its own. It’s important for each business to carefully consider staffing needs and make the right decision for the organization.

There are a few key considerations when deciding on future staffing needs:

  • Temporary workers make up a large portion of the job market across the professional and creative services as well as many other industries. With plenty of people to choose from, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who you’re looking for and what type of expertise they need to have.
  • Know your budget. Cost is often a key driver in bringing on alternative team members, so it is important to have a clear understanding of project and staffing budgets.
  • Before embarking on a project, set yourself up for success. Ensure both the full-time team and the virtual employee have the tools they need to effectively communicate and work together.

Key Advantages of the Freelance Marketplace

A key advantage in partnering with a freelance marketplace—rather than a temp agency—to address evolving staffing needs is just that: partnership.  Creating alignment around goals and objectives among the company, agency, and candidates will ensure project success in the long-term, and the right staffing partner will drive these goals forward.

These principles apply to businesses big and small. Forbes credits an R&D outsourcing initiative at Procter & Gamble with boosting “innovation productivity by 60%, to generate more than $10 billion in revenue from over 400 new products.” For small business owners, outsourcing key projects helps startups grow quickly and avoid employee burnout. Whatever your business size and project scope, outsourced team members can elevate your business.

Approaching the Freelance Marketplace

As the workforce continues to grow and evolve, each business needs a team to grow with it and for many businesses this will include carefully-vetted, highly-skilled non-traditional workers. A freelance marketplace gives companies a leg up by offering access to top industry talent, while maintaining the flexibility to hire on a project-by-project basis. . By finding a partner in the freelance space companies can leverage an array of highly-performing and specialized talent. These team members provide the flexibility modern businesses need to thrive and grow.

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