Deciding to hire independent contractors can raise a lot of questions—especially if this is new territory for your company. There are many common misconceptions about the independent workforce, a 51-million strong talent pool.
One important distinction to note is that independent professionals don’t just make up the on-demand economy. Rather, this segment of the independent population generally represents occasional workers who pursue these jobs on a part-time basis—Uber and Lyft drivers, side giggers, etc.
On the other end of the spectrum are full-time independents: a highly-skilled workforce that has built businesses around their expertise. As you navigate the waters of engaging independent talent for your business needs, keep these 10 myths in mind.
1. I Won’t Find the Skills I Need
The independent contractors you will engage for projects or specialized work have a wide range of skills. Remember, these full-time independents have built a career out of being experts in their industry. These are workers whose talent is highly sought after, especially in competitive areas such as IT, marketing, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Many earn more than $100,000 annually from their work, and almost half have college degrees. If you have concerns about a contractor’s skill level, review their resume, portfolio, and past client reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or review detailed questions upfront.
Check out: 5 Reasons to Hire Independent Contractors
2. It is Risky to Engage Independent Talent
As the use of independent contractors becomes more widespread, organizations today can engage these individuals with minimal risk. The key here is to ensure that you have a worker classification policy and guidelines in place as well as a written contract for all independent workers.
In the news, you’ve probably heard about high-profile employee misclassification lawsuits. Partnering with an organization experienced in independent contractor engagement, such as MBO Partners, can help you put the right measures in place to minimize risk and ensure compliance.
3. The Project-Based Economy is Just a Trend
In fact, numerous studies have pointed out the opposite: the project-based economy is here to stay. Independent talent provide organizations with several benefits including financial incentives, staffing flexibility, and access to specialized expertise.
On the other hand, many traditional employees are turning to independent work for the freedom it provides. Over the next five years, we anticipate that 50% of the population will have tried their hand at independent work.
Learn more: What is Project-Based Staffing, and Why Does it Matter?
4. Independent Contractors are Only Useful for Short-Term Work
While one of the benefits of using independent talent is staffing flexibility, that doesn’t mean they are limited to short-term work only. Many independents work with clients on long-term projects that may span a year or more. The ability to establish long-term relationships with contractors who work well with your company is another benefit of using this talent pool.
5. There Are No Financial Benefits
As competition for top talent increases, the price of employment will continue to rise. Engaging independents on an as-needed basis is often more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee who may not be needed in the long run.
Because independents are experts in their field, they can save businesses time and money on training, onboarding, and management. Independent contractors are also responsible for their own health insurance, taxes, and other employer-provided benefits. Independents generally have a set bill rate, so you’ll know what to expect cost-wise.
Up next: 3 Reasons Independent Contractors Are Cost-Effective
6. Independent Contractors Would Rather be Employees
It is true that independent work is not for everyone—some only turn to it out of a need to supplement their income between traditional jobs. But our research finds that the 51-million strong population of independents has a 38% growth rate year-over-year. And more than 50% of people will have been or will be independent in the next five years.
7. Finding High-Quality Independent Talent is Complicated
The market today is saturated with a wide variety of marketplaces where businesses can source independent talent. While many of these marketplaces are geared towards freelancers looking for gig or part-time work, platforms like MBO’s provide a direct sourcing solution for organizations looking to compliantly source and engage skilled independent contractors. These networks allow you to invite, build, and manage your talent to help reduce supply chain costs, minimize onboarding time, and re-engage with talent you’ve worked with in the past.
Learn more: Access Independent Talent On-Demand
8. Managing Independent Contractors is Hard
A successful contractor-client relationship begins with communication. By starting with a clearly written RFP that states your goals, vision, and project requirements you’ll be able to attract the right talent from the start.
Once you’ve found the right person, work together to draft a contract that defines the scope, methodology, and project requirements. Starting out on the right foot in terms of communication will help to create a positive working relationship.
9. Independent Contractors Aren’t Motivated
Running your own business as an independent isn’t easy. Independents worry about having an unpredictable income, planning for retirement, and are constantly on the lookout for the next project.
At the same time, however, independents are incredibly motivated and love what they do. The ability to be their own boss, have greater work-life flexibility, and follow their true passion are all reasons they’ve chosen to dedicate their careers to helping clients solve problems.
10. Engaging an Independent Contractor is Just Too Confusing
Because the regulatory environment for independent contractor engagement is complex, many organizations don’t know where to start when it comes to creating an engagement process that isn’t geared towards traditional employees.
Often, it is helpful to work with an organization that has experience in this area. Companies like MBO Partners can help you develop an independent workforce program tailored to your specific business needs to quickly and efficiently find, engage, and manage independent talent.
Check out: Gain the Talent Access, Agility and Cost Efficiency Needed to Succeed in the Future of Work