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The external workforce includes many types of nontraditional work arrangements, such as: independent contractors, temporary workers, online task contract workers, freelancers, service delivery contract workers, on-call contract workers, subcontractor workers, and others.
A new survey by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and SAP SuccessFactors finds the the top three challenges of using the external workforce are:
- Managing their turnover and transition (41%)
- Scheduling hours, tracking time, and other logistical issues (36%)
- Aligning/engaging them around the company’s purpose and culture (27%)
The other challenges of using external workers include ensuring their engagement and wellbeing (26%), motivating them to deliver high-quality work (26%), and avoiding conflict/tension between external workers and internal employees (26%).
Among the respondents, the study took into account the views of both 1,178 HR professionals (SHRM members), as well as external workers and internal employees.
Types of external workers
Given that the gig economy is still an upcoming trend, the study laid out the various types of external workers as a useful guide:
Independent contract work
Workers find customers or companies either online or in person who pay them directly to fulfill a contract or provide a product or service. Examples include an independent consultant or a freelance worker.
Online task contract work
Workers are paid for doing tasks done entirely online and the companies they contract with coordinate payment for the work. Examples include transcribing information, completing surveys, or completing online personal assistant activities such as booking appointments.
Service delivery contract work
Workers are paid for performing short in-person tasks or jobs for customers who they meet through a website or mobile app. Examples include using your own car to drive people from one place to another, delivering something, or doing someone’s household tasks or errands.
On-call contract work
Workers are paid for doing work where they are prequalified and placed in a pool of people who can be called on an as-needed basis to cover specific work shifts or assignments. This may vary from working a few hours to working several days or weeks in a row. Examples include substitute teachers and construction workers supplied by a union hiring hall.
Workers are paid by a company that contracts services out to other organisations. Examples of work include security, landscaping, computer programming, construction, project management, or maintenance.
Workers are paid by a temporary service or staffing agency that contracts time out to other organisations to perform temporary tasks and jobs. Examples of work include manual labour, administrative tasks, and other activities that can be performed with little or no advanced training.
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