According to the latest study conducted by IFOP (a French market research firm), the number of independent workers in France stands around 2.3 million, and a further 14.3 million – i.e. half of the total working force – declare themselves ready to switch to freelancing. Be they photographers, content writers, designers or developers, many have chosen to work in their special field as independent contractors.
Despite this growing trend, french freelancers have to deal with many obstacles when looking for missions, chief of which is the complex and lengthy process of finding the right interlocutor in each company they target. As a result, large firms often end up depriving themselves of these new talents born out of the digital economy.
At comet, we firmly believe that hiring a Chief Freelance Officer is a first decisive step that all large corporations should take. We are convinced that opening such new roles would be a major asset for their competitiveness, on top of being a strong signal of confidence to independent contractors.
ENHANCING COLLABORATION WITH FREELANCERS
A freelancer is much more than just a mere service provider. Yet most HR managers seldom treat them as equal to internal collaborators, and Purchase managers often place them on a par with other suppliers. But freelancers should be handled quite differently. Appointing a dedicated interlocutor and setting up transparent communication is another big issue in order to understand their needs and expectations. For instance, paying them at the end of every month should be a no brainer, just like employees. Companies cannot submit them to the 60-day delay rule applied to regular suppliers.
DEVELOPING AN EXTERNAL POOL OF TALENTS
Another mission for the Chief Freelance Officer would be the development of an efficient strategy for acquiring and retaining external talents. As the person in charge of both negotiating contracts and guaranteeing follow-through, he would be responsible for creating a genuine employer brand adapted to this new type of collaboration. This includes designing an appropriate sourcing process, and watching for emerging frameworks and onboarding tools, in order to create a hotbed of motivated talents available on demand.
ADVOCATING FOR A BETTER PERCEPTION OF FREELANCERS INTERNALLY
Another major duty of the Chief Freelance Officer lies in conducting positive internal communication about freelancing. He must educate Human Resources teams on the why and the how of hiring independent workers. To collaborate and retain with the best experts, it is essential to offer them missions in line with their career choices. The talent acquisition process must therefore be reconsidered, which necessarily includes making relationship with freelancers a part of the company’s overall strategy.
CHAMPIONING THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE COMPANY
Scaling up/down a team on demand, allowing new work practices (such as remote work) to bloom, creating a culture which fosters open innovation, optimizing costs: the list of arguments in favor of collaborating with freelancers is quite long. Yet those many advantages often remain little known inside big companies, hence the necessity of having an in-house expert.
CHIEF FREELANCE OFFICER: A JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES
As a transversal and multi-skilled executive, the Chief Freelance Officer is depositary of a crucial mission. Operationally-minded and able to command a strong vision, he is an agility facilitator inside the company. He is also a major asset on whom to rely in a context of talent war and digital transformation.