Are on-demand experts becoming the workforce of the future?

Nataša Ćurić Martinčević
 June 19, 2018.

Experts-on-demand services increasingly change the way companies engage and manage their workforce. Such a service enables businesses quick and easy access to highly qualified and experienced independent experts. By applying modern technology, the future of the workforce is changed and enables the ability to complement the skills for a shorter period or just one project. Encouraged by the growth of experts-on-demand, the workplace of the future will be very flexible and will consist of mixed teams – permanent employees and independent external, on-demand experts.

The total number of self-employed persons (freelancers) makes about 15% of the total number of people employed throughout the European Union. The largest increase in the number of freelancers is in the Netherlands, where the number has increased by as much as 92% in the past 10 years. The Italians have 23.4% of self-employed professionals, and in Slovakia, whose market is roughly similar to Croatian in size, every 9th person is a freelancer. Currently, around 35% of freelancers are present in Russia and the United States, while a steep trend in self-employment is underway in the United States. It is estimated that up to 50% of the total workforce in the US  will be self-employed by 2020.

Permanent recruit or expert -on-demand

When a company intends to hire a new specialist, it is customary to start the recruitment process. This process is usually long-lasting and expensive. A job is advertised, applications are collected, and candidates are evaluated. We then give a job offer to the selected candidate, and if accepted, then a probationary period begins. Then his training may take several months before we can enable a person to do a productive job. Alternatively, using an expert-on-demand service makes this process significantly shorter and cheaper. The company can quickly and easily connect with an expert, and those selected engage through a contract for the duration of a project or need, or through a fixed-term contract. When the project finishes, the expert is easily redirected to the next project or employer by leveraging the high flexibility of business relationships.

More Equitable Employer – Employer Relationship

 Traditionally, a company’s organization was built in a hierarchy where employees are subordinate to employers. Employees apply for a job in the company and must earn their salaries. However, the workplace of the future is based on the mutual need of the company and independent experts. On the one hand, experts offer their specific skills, expertise, and experience across the technology platform, while on the other hand, companies are looking for specific experts at a particular time. In this way, companies can quickly and easily find a needed project team member, without the need for a long-term employment process and with much less risk of a wrong choice. On the other hand, experts enjoy the flexibility of working outside of the often strictly organized organizational structure, with greater freedom to choose places, dynamics and work time.

Experts-on-demand  are not replacing but upgrading existing employees

Expert-on-demand services are not an alternative to permanent employees in the company. Rather, they complement and empower them, filling in all the limitations of the skills, experiences, and knowledge required. Companies can thus take advantage of sharing economies through mixed teams in which independent, on-demand experts integrate with the employees to secure the required set of competencies. This allows the company to save time, money and stress, and employees are more satisfied because this enables them to focus on applying their own expertise instead of covering the team’s lack of competence. However, mistakes can happen. Previous experience suggests that the biggest mistake the company make with experts-on-demand when management seeks team members on short notice. It can then easily be mistaken with the duplication of skills that already exist within the company or by employing more external experts than needed. These mistakes unnecessarily increase the cost of the project and will probably upset the employees. By combining permanent employees and independent experts-on-demand, companies must be sure they invest only in specific skills that their in-house teams do not own. To avoid some of the mistakes that companies often make, it is essential to have a comprehensive overview of the key skills of the employees and to carefully identify the competencies that need to be strengthened by on-demand experts. No less important advantage of mixed teams is the flexibility to change team members according to project needs at any time. The key to creating cost-effective teams high-performance teams is to thoroughly assess the specific requirements for the skills required for the project, and determine which of them cannot be met by your internal team.

The large increase in demand for experts-on-demand already today significantly influences the future of work in Europe and the world. Specialized sites offering such services record a very large increase in registered specialists for various areas and functions.