The Shadow Workforce: Rallying Support

Headlines dominating recent news cycles have grimly tallied the number of layoffs at high-profile corporations, especially those among organizations in the technology sector. The figures measure the toll on permanent employees, but they almost never include the job cuts among contingent laborers. There’s a reason this group sometimes goes by another name: the shadow workforce.

Too often, there are workers who go unrecognized or unaccounted for by organizations, industries or governments. They may be temps, freelancers, gig workers or independent contractors, and may work off the books or outside of traditional employment channels. Even in professional settings, where employees tend to escape the sometimes-harsh treatment of seasonal and migrant workers, and other blue-collar temps, members of the shadow workforce may face unfair labor practices, lack certain rights and protections, and receive unequal compensation for the same work as permanent employees.

These workers are far less visible, but no less valuable than their permanent counterparts – even as the former group outnumbers the latter in many organizations. Google, for instance, employed 120,000 permanent employees as of March 2019, while using 123,000 contractors and temps, according to the New York Times. But the company’s shadow workforce didn’t just find recognition elusive. Its members were often separated from the company’s permanent workforce in significant ways, not only being denied perks (such as free company shuttles to the office) but even basic safety considerations (an email regarding workplace security concerns that only permanent workers received).

The Value of the Shadow Workforce

It’s hard to imagine any industry today remaining productive and profitable without the contributions of the shadow workforce. Contingent workers provide specialized skills and expertise on an as-needed basis, providing organizations with access to valued human capital without the long-term commitment and overhead costs associated with permanent employees.

This relationship can be a win-win, with contractors and other members of the shadow workforce often able to work at higher income rates and take advantage of flexibilities that may not be afforded to permanent employees. But this isn’t always the case. And the less attention that is paid to this workforce, the more likely its members are to be exploited or given fewer opportunities for pay increases, advancement and even more basic workplace considerations.

Shining a Light on the Shadow Workforce

Certain requirements under U.S. legislation should theoretically level the playing field for the shadow workforce. The WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) is a federal law that requires employers with 100 or more full-time employees to provide advance notice to workers ahead of a mass layoff or closure. Under the WARN Act, qualifying employers must give at least 60 days’ notice to workers – in writing and including specific information about the event – or risk liability for back pay, benefits and possible civil penalties.

But many smaller companies use contractors, too, meaning that members of the shadow workforce contracting at 30-, 60- and 90-employee operations are unprotected by the WARN Act. And although many companies treat their contingent laborers with dignity and fairness, there are too few protections in general for the shadow workforce. Given their ability to allow organizations to scale operations and staff projects as needed, the shadow workforce is an incredibly valuable commodity to industry – a group that should be celebrated, nurtured and safeguarded from exploitative practices.

Want to learn more about how you can leverage contingent labor? Contact a PeopleCaddie representative today.

sgruenThe Shadow Workforce: Rallying Support

Step Up From Support Staff to Critical Talent

Whether explicitly or unofficially, employers have always classified their workers based on those employees’ perceived utility to the company. To be clear, this classification doesn’t fall along the lines of permanent workers and contractors, full-timers and part-timers, or staff employees and temps. It’s about value. Even if organizations no longer publicly refer to workers using phrases such as “skilled” or “unskilled” labor, they still categorize their employees in other telling ways. When technology companies think about their contract workers, for instance, they tend to label them as “critical talent” or “support staff.”

Critical talent usually includes employees who write code or provide specialized, difficult-to-replace labor that is key to driving revenue. Support staff can encompass many types of employees, but they generally are viewed by the company as being less essential than their “critical” counterparts.

What may seem surprising about this dynamic – and what should be considered most important to contractors – is that an employee’s status can shift over time. A worker who may be deemed “critical” upon hiring may find themselves in a supporting role if, for instance, the innovation project they were brought aboard to complete is suddenly decommissioned by leadership. This may be doubly concerning to contractors, who are generally considered to be more expendable than permanent workers. So it begs the question: How does a contractor go about stepping up from support staff – or, if they’re already there – maintaining their status as a member of an organization’s critical talent?

How Employers Assess Contractor Value

Generally speaking, the process companies follow when evaluating their talent amounts to a two-dimensional analysis: reviewing a worker’s skillset and examining the total expense that employee represents on the company’s bottom line. But much of the evaluation hinges on that first component.

Consider a scenario: A tech contractor is hired to shore up a hot project for which the company has high aspirations. But within two years the initiative fails to pan out, so leadership decides to reduce or eliminate the company’s investment in that area. In the meantime, the worker’s skill set hasn’t changed – and, in fact, has probably been enhanced. But those skills no longer align with the organization’s strategic priorities. This is how a contractor with specialized expertise, a worker who may be highly valued by the general market, can suddenly find themselves with a target on their back.

How to Play a ‘Critical’ Role

The same recommendations given to any worker with career ambitions or concerns about job security apply to contractors seeking to stay on the right side of the support/critical axis: take advantage of training opportunities, learn how other areas of the business interact with yours, make efforts to be a strong collaborator and team player. But returning to our theoretical tech contractor, there’s even more work that can be done.

For any specialized tech talent, it may seem to go without saying, but it is crucial to stay on the cutting edge of technology. The tech world moves quickly, and there is always new talent coming up that has more recent schooling or training on new innovations. Additionally, keeping your profile and resume updated to reflect your key skills – and any training or experience in new technologies – can be a differentiator

Equally as important, however, is periodically taking an objective look at your organization’s strategic priorities. If your own skills and experiences align with those priorities, you’re more likely to land in the company’s critical talent group. If, on the other hand, you seem to fit into your organization’s support staff, you’ll want to seek out specialized training or volunteer for opportunities in areas that are higher priorities (read: revenue drivers) to the company. Network to find mentors or advocates in departments that are more closely aligned with the company’s goals than your own department. Make your efforts transparent so that management and perhaps leadership are aware that you understand organizational objectives and are taking a proactive approach to making them your own.

Interested in learning more about PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud? Here is how talent clouds help improve a company’s HR strategy.

sgruenStep Up From Support Staff to Critical Talent

Part-Time Executives: Everything You Need to Know

One of the more significant effects of the pandemic on the business world was the mass rethinking of work-life balance that followed. For some, that meant carving out more free time, travel opportunities or work-from-home flexibility. For others, it meant answering a simple but hugely significant question: Should I continue working at all? Most of the attention around the topic has landed on rank-and-file workers, but they weren’t alone in pondering these thoughts. Many executives who had already spent years (and in some cases decades) serving in C-suite positions also sought change. On the surface, that might have seemed implausible: Companies typically have high expectations of the time and focus their leaders invest in their duties. But as employee empowerment has grown in recent years, business has begun adapting and developing new opportunities based on the shifting tides. In the same way that other workers have recently discovered more flexibility and fulfillment in contract work, many C-suiters are finding a new, gratifying professional path as part-time executives and through consulting engagements.

Why Part-Time Executives Are on the Rise

As front-line workers have used their leverage to push for – and earn – more consideration from employers in recent years, C-suiters have gotten in on the act, too. More executives are negotiating nontraditional arrangements with employers, especially as companies are discovering the advantages of bringing on “fractional” leadership.

“This is a solution to a problem that a lot of small- to medium-sized, rapidly growing companies have, which is they need certain sets of skills in order to grow effectively,” Jesper Sørensen, an organizational behavior professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, recently told the Wall Street Journal. “But oftentimes they don’t have enough scale to get the kind of experience and expertise that they really want.”

So will the C-suite of tomorrow resemble the contingent workforce of today? To a certain extent, yes. Fractional executives can bring extensive experience and valued thought leadership to businesses that otherwise might not be able to afford a full-time exec with similar expertise. And because fractional executives essentially operate as contractors, they reap benefits by working on their own terms, sometimes for more than one client at a time, while continuing to build their executive resume in positions such as chief financial officer or chief marketing officer.

The downside for an executive working on a part-time or contingent basis? Although wages can still be lucrative, companies are paying only for an exec’s time – likely something in the range of the going rate, but at a percentage of a typical full-time C-suite salary. Additionally, compensation for fractional leaders (like so many contractors) likely doesn’t include health benefits. Bonuses, pensions, stock options and other components of the traditional executive compensation package may also be harder to come by for leaders in a fractional arrangement.

The PeopleCaddie Advantage

Executives who might be interested in increased flexibility in both their lifestyle and professional opportunities might be reluctant to give up their benefits, and may also view part-time employment as a downgrade of sorts. But PeopleCaddie helps turn both of these potential disadvantages into plusses for aspiring fractional leaders.

A talent cloud that strives to find superb mutual fits between contractors and employers, PeopleCaddie uses a proprietary platform to put executives in front of top companies – many that are open, and even eager, to explore fractional relationships with C-suite leaders. PeopleCaddie also offers its contractors health insurance benefits, which would provide a semi-retired exec both schedule flexibility and peace of mind while allowing another C-suiter to earn like a full-time exec but engage multiple companies and expand their opportunities. Nothing “fractional” about that.

If you’re an executive looking to remain in the workforce under more flexible circumstances, PeopleCaddie can help. Contact us today to add yourself to our talent cloud.

sgruenPart-Time Executives: Everything You Need to Know

Evaluating Contractor Relationships

Many organizations today have talent needs for seasonal or project work, while others find that fluctuating business demands require a flexible, on-demand workforce. Independent contractors can be an excellent solution to both challenges. But the savviest businesses don’t simply hire contingent laborers as needed – they take measures to learn the value of those workers, identify how to best deploy them and then build a comprehensive contractor strategy that optimizes their skill sets and availability. Part of that process includes regular evaluation of a company’s strategy and looks to build contractor relationships.

The Importance of Evaluating Contractor Relationships

Most organizations that employ independent contractors already keenly understand what contingent labor brings to the table: virtually instant access to specialized, high-quality expertise. A contractor’s terms of engagement – as needed, and without the commitment and administrative overhead associated with permanent employees – help make for an affordable, flexible contingent workforce. But taking a plug-and-chug approach to contractor hiring, while possible, sells short the benefits this talent pool can deliver.

Any company that employs (or is considering employing) contingent laborers would do well to follow these basic steps toward making the most of that workforce:

  • Conduct a full-scale assessment of short- and long-term production needs, workflow projections, and staffing estimations
  • Create and curate an in-house network of trusted contractors with proprietary knowledge of your business
  • Engage a third-party hiring agency or talent cloud, such as PeopleCaddie, to recruit additional experienced, high-quality contractors

From there, consider quarterly, annual and/or end-of-term relationship evaluations with all of your independent contractors – even those you plan not to use again or who are believed to be underperformers. Sometimes they can tell you more about your business – and specifically about pain points in the employer-contractor connection – than your best contractors can.

End-of-term relationship evaluations may be the most valuable of all. A worker who has fulfilled their contract with a company will still have fresh thoughts about their employer and potentially fewer inhibitions about full transparency in a post-employment interview. They likely also will have begun or just completed the process of finding their next contract, a period during which they’re thinking critically about what they want to get out of their contractor engagements.

Questions to Ask Contractors as Part of Evaluations

So you’ve scheduled meetings with each of your independent contractors to discuss their relationships with your company. What now? Is there a standard line of questioning for each? And what do you do with all that feedback once you’ve gathered it?

Simplify your approach to independent contractor relationship evaluations as much as possible. Codify certain questions about the company, separate departments and a contractor’s specific role. Spend a little time with each contractor’s supervisor to develop a few unique questions – these can lead to key insights. Be sure to ask every contractor at the end of the conversation if they would like to discuss anything they weren’t asked about or have anything further to add. The content of questions could cover (but need not be limited to) an employee’s performance, professional aspirations, morale and more.

Compare feedback from standard (and similar) questions and home in on common themes and details. Closely examine and discuss feedback from the individually customized questions. Gather leadership and supervisors to discuss broad findings, then discuss the disparate finer points of contractor feedback individually with supervisors.

There’s no single step-by-step approach to evaluating contractor relationships, but every company can benefit from developing their own best practices. Investing time and organizing resources to ensure a robust and regular evaluation process can lead to better decisions about the contractors you hire, stronger retention rates and more productivity over time.

PeopleCaddie can help your organization develop more relationships with contractors.

sgruenEvaluating Contractor Relationships

Contingent Labor Strategy for CISOs

The job description of a Chief Information Security Officer doesn’t typically include “building a contingent labor strategy.” That responsibility usually lands elsewhere within the C-suite. And yet, if you’re a CISO without thoughts on independent contractors and how they should fit into your company, you’re overlooking an important opportunity to help shore up both your organization’s security and productivity.

How Can Deploying a Contingent Labor Strategy Help CISOs Meet Their Goals?

The demands of executive leadership don’t leave a great deal of time for the minutiae of prospecting, hiring and onboarding, but finding and retaining great talent should be a priority across the C-suite It’s time to focus on strategic planning to ensure the proper execution of talent acquisition, especially when it comes to contingent labor.

Contingent labor offers a pipeline to critical and sometimes difficult-to-find skills and specialized knowledge on an as-needed basis. With a virtual bench of talent, a CISO can be proactive in sourcing, implementing and scaling emerging technologies. That translates to the freedom to focus on delivery and meeting objectives by bringing in the appropriate talent when you need it in order to ensure projects get done well and on time.

Best Practices for a CISO in Approaching Contingent Labor

Because the design and implementation of a contingent labor strategy usually originate elsewhere, a CISO should begin thinking about their side of the process from a collaborative standpoint. It’s helpful to take into account the needs and approach of HR and other business units, but a CISO should also be sure to bring their own needs to the table during the larger conversation.

Start by identifying your organization’s security priorities and determining where you need to augment your existing staff with contingent workers. Consider factors such as the types of projects you undertake, the types of skills and experience required and the timeline duration of the projects. Additionally, risk assessment is a critical component for any CISO, and the use of independent contractors introduces unique security risks that should be weighed and addressed as part of any contingent labor strategy.

The PeopleCaddie Advantage

Contractors offer flexibility and cost savings that are too valuable for any organization to ignore, but neither can a company be indifferent to the special security concerns they pose. CISO’s are responsible for cybersecurity and information risk, so picking the right hiring partner can help mitigate much of that risk for an organization at the first step of the process.

PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud services help connect companies with contractors who bring specialized skills and expertise to bear on projects and initiatives at a moment’s notice. Critically, PeopleCaddie carefully vets every prospect before any engagement with a client, providing access to valuable talent without exposing that company to additional security risk. Contact a PeopleCaddie representative today to begin building your contingent labor strategy and connecting with the talent needed to not only boost your organization’s productivity but also protect its business interests.

Are you a CISO interested in learning more about how contingent labor can level up your department? Contact PeopleCaddie today.

sgruenContingent Labor Strategy for CISOs

Is the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Right for You?

As the last of the Baby Boomers begin to retire from the U.S. workforce, a longstanding approach to employment within American culture is being retired with them. The shift from a live-to-work to a work-to-live mindset , accelerated by the pandemic and a large-scale adaptation to remote work, is in full swing. The average worker, who once prioritized salary, retirement benefits, upward mobility and job security, is now being driven by flexibility, purpose, work culture and life experiences. Many of today’s workers are even taking things a step further, setting up operations far from both the office and home, and using remote work as an opportunity to see and experience the world. Often described as digital nomads, these employees have discovered the formula for mixing business and pleasure – and they are a rapidly growing section of the labor force.

A recent study found that 16.9 million American workers currently consider themselves to be digital nomads, an increase of 131 percent since 2019.

Thinking about joining their ranks? Know this first: There are plenty of perks that come with the digital nomad lifestyle, but it isn’t for everyone. And even those for whom it’s a good fit should learn about any downsides to combining globetrotting with gainful employment. Here are some thoughts to consider before taking the plunge into digital nomadism:

It takes planning. Lots of planning. Depending on wherever you may roam, you’ll need a visa, translation services, vaccinations and more. And for each change of address, those plans become exponentially more challenging. If you’re truly mobile (think van life or an RV), brace yourself for the inevitable: Somewhere along your travels, you’ll run out of water or clean clothes, and your wifi connection will let you down. It happens. But thoughtful preparation can mitigate most issues that may detract from the joys of life as a digital nomad.

There are no borders. This is what you signed up for, yeah? The open road, no-holds-barred wanderlust and absolutely no cubicles. The ability to indulge nearly any travel whim is one of the key features of the digital nomad lifestyle, but remember: indulging every travel whim can derail your work productivity. You still have a job to do, and every detour creates a new set of circumstances – and, potentially, unintended consequences. Again, have a plan. Work ahead when you can. Build buffers into your schedule to allow for the occasional bounding down the rabbit hole.

It’s not a working vacation. As alluded to above, you’ll need to maintain a certain level of focus while on the road. That can be difficult for the art lover who has found a cheap Airbnb in the heart of Rome or the history buff in a cute rented cottage just outside Dublin. You may have decided to no longer live to work, but you do still have to make time for work to live the digital nomad life.

Contract work is the key. Most companies have certain expectations for where and when their staff employees show up to work. Even if yours offers a certain amount of flexibility, chances are you have project deadlines, client meetings and other workday rhythms that aren’t all that conducive to life on the road. In that case, contract work may be the perfect alternative. By seeking out contracts with durations that match your preferred lengths of stay in any locale, you can plan in stages and handle your big moves between gigs.

PeopleCaddie posts thousands of contract roles for contractors to select from on our proprietary platform, many of them featuring flexible schedules and responsibilities that align with the digital nomad lifestyle. Who says you have to put off travel until retirement or jam a tour of Europe into a two-week vacation? With contract work and a professional network partner like PeopleCaddie, you can have the best of all worlds.

Interested in becoming a digital nomad? PeopleCaddie can help. Check out how our talent cloud can help you secure contract labor.

sgruenIs the Digital Nomad Lifestyle Right for You?

Abolishing Noncompetes May Stimulate Contractor Market

In January, the Federal Trade Commission announced a proposal that, if successful, would represent a seismic shift in the way business is conducted across a variety of sectors: abolishing noncompetes. The practice of contractually protecting specific corporate interests, which has existed in some form for hundreds of years, is likely to come under more scrutiny over the next few weeks and months than ever before.

What could all that wrangling mean for employees (specifically contractors), and how might it affect employers – particularly their bottom lines? We’ll know more after the FTC closes the public comment period March 10, but any subsequent decision will likely be met with opposition from employers and business groups. The final word on the subject may yet be a long way off, but here’s a quick primer on how a ban on noncompete clauses could be expected to affect employers and employees – and possibly even stimulate the market for independent contractors.

Business as Usual for Employers?

There are legitimate reasons businesses can point to for pushing back on a the potential of abolishing noncompetes. The hiring clauses help insulate companies from the widespread sharing of trade secrets and proprietary information that could unfairly benefit competing organizations. The argument for noncompetes, which often prevent employees from working for or consulting with a company’s competitors for a prescribed length of time, can be compared to the spirit behind the pharmaceutical industry’s intellectual property protections: “The patent system,” according to PhRMA, “strikes a balance between promoting innovation and affordability for patients who rely on new treatments, improvements and cures.”

Noncompetes help safeguard the profit motivation, ensuring that businesses aren’t investing in new technologies, initiatives and employee growth simply to see their hard-earned gains passed on to business rivals. Companies that make sound decisions and smart investments, reasonable minds would surely agree, deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.

However, the FTC argues that noncompetes actually hinder innovation and notes that employers “have other ways to protect trade secrets and other valuable investments that are significantly less harmful to workers and consumers.” At least one labor law opinion asserts that restrictive covenants can and should be written more narrowly: “The restrictions themselves should be no broader than necessary to protect those legitimate interests, and they must be reasonable in terms of duration, geography and scope of activities prohibited.”

And after all, employee movement flows both ways. Over time, shared knowledge feeds corporate innovation that tends to be a tide that lifts all ships. Abolishing noncompetes ultimately could boost rather than curb business.

More Freedom for Employees and Contractors

Employees understandably disagree with the current deployment of noncompete clauses. No small amount of anecdotal and empirical evidence indicates that noncompetes suppress wages and professional development, handcuff employee mobility and make it difficult for workers to render services to multiple companies over a relatively short period of time – an especially problematic sticking point for contractors. The FTC estimates that a ban on current noncompete practices “could increase wages by nearly $300 billion per year and expand career opportunities for about 30 million Americans.”

Even those on the employer side agree that a noncompetes ban would prompt organizations to become more creative in retaining talent, leading to juicier compensation for permanent employees while ensuring less restrictive movement between assignments for contract employees.

Whether noncompetes stay or go isn’t an issue that’s likely to be resolved soon. But in the meantime, a more focused, transparent approach to noncompetes could help both sides find a common ground that would benefit all parties.

Looking for more guidance on the contract market? Check out PeopleCaddie’s blog.

sgruenAbolishing Noncompetes May Stimulate Contractor Market

Talent Leaving California: How Industries Can Capitalize

If an observer following the headlines coming out of Silicon Valley in recent months didn’t know any better, they would have to assume the bottom is currently dropping out of the technology industry. An estimated 70,000 jobs were shed by Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other tech giants in 2022, and some predict that the sector isn’t finished making significant cuts. All of this means talent is leaving California. 

Yet a deeper analysis of the space reveals a less-discussed resilience (overall employment is down only about 5,000 jobs) and one gargantuan elephant in the room: a sweeping redistribution of tech talent that appears to be happening before our eyes. The recent migration of tech talent to Austin-area companies and startups is one example of this phenomenon, but lately, a new trend has emerged: traditional, publicly traded corporations best known for their work outside the technology space are suddenly showing interest in top tech talent – and receiving it in return. This competition is also a contributing factor as to why tech talent is leaving California. 

A Case Study: Detroit Automakers

Top American automakers, quite literally, have been nuts-and-bolts operations for decades. But recent advances in vehicle software, automation, and electric power – as well as the growing expectations of auto consumers – have forced Detroit to rethink traditional hiring practices. According to the Detroit Free Press, for example, General Motors confirmed that it has thawed an existing hiring freeze in order to make a run at the tech talent made available by the recent layoffs in the space.

“Two years ago, a software developer or engineer in Silicon Valley was not taking GM’s call,” Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the Free Press. “Today, they are actively looking to work at GM. GM has fully bet on their electric vehicle future and under the hood they are a very mature company that is essentially an entrepreneurial startup-like in spirit.”

GM is hardly the exception to the rule. Not only are familiar automakers such as Ford, Nissan and Volvo vying to become the leader in EV and tech-forward automobiles, but newer entries like Tesla, Rivian, Nikola and Lucid are driving the demand for engineers, programmers and other tech talent in today’s version of the space race. And that’s just in the automaking space. Ives says that for every 10 workers cut loose by tech organizations, one or two will move on to “transformational industries,” including but certainly not limited to electric automakers.

The Next Move for Tech-Thirsty Hirers

As our world becomes increasingly computerized, digitized, electrified and automated, entire industries are being overhauled to make way for more productive, efficient and affordable technology solutions. Those developments will unfold within the tech sector, of course, but they’ll also extend far beyond. More businesses than ever now require tech talent to compete – and their corresponding HR departments and hiring staff often lack experience in identifying, vetting and bringing aboard those workers.

Simply put, these organizations may not fully understand their labor needs on the tech side. Companies unaccustomed to building out or incorporating tech initiatives into their core business run the risk of over- or under-hiring, particularly if they don’t have a firm grasp on their new hires’ capabilities and limitations. In cases like these, contingent labor is frequently a company’s best option.

Contingent labor offers a publicly traded company the freedom and flexibility to make adjustments to a workforce as needed, materially reducing its financial risk and allowing for quick responses to changes in the economy, market or organization. A third-party talent cloud such as PeopleCaddie can help your business identify and connect with top-quality technology contractors – and even assist you in creating a contingent labor strategy that meets your needs – no matter your familiarity or comfort in hiring tech talent.

PeopleCaddie can help your organization address its need for tech talent. Here is how our talent cloud can work for you.

sgruenTalent Leaving California: How Industries Can Capitalize

Contingent Labor and Hospitality: A Guide to 2023

The hospitality industry has long marched to the beat of a seasonal drum. Urged on by events, pilgrimages and weather patterns, travelers have typically vacationed – and worked – around the world in only semi-predictable patterns. And in the aftermath of the pandemic, the ebb and flow of tourism-driven business has been as mercurial as ever, which should prompt decision-makers to consider how contingent labor and hospitality jibe. 

What we do know is that global travel is coming back. U.S. travel in 2022 had nearly matched 2019 levels by May, and hotels had already outperformed 2019 numbers by midyear. And while some of 2022’s bounce-back can be attributed to revenge travel, Economist Intelligence projects that global tourism arrivals will increase by 30 percent in 2023.

Making up a significant portion of that surge will be the travel of digital nomads. Already an upwardly trending lifestyle pre-COVID, the practice of travelers combining tourism with remote work – which increased almost three-fold, to 15.5 million, from 2019 to 2021 –  has become big business for the hospitality space. In fact, some of those workers will wind up being critically important to helping hotels and other service businesses meet their workflows in the coming months. Here’s how the hospitality sector can benefit from contingent labor in 2023:

A seasonal workforce.

Travel and tourism demand may be up, but it is anything but steady. Predictability in the hospitality industry is relative even during the most stable of times, but Covid surges, a volatile economy and shifting societal tides are making it more difficult than ever for companies whose business hinges on travel and tourism to appropriately staff up at any given moment.

Contingent labor allows hospitality businesses to quickly add contractors for short-term projects, seasonal work, and unanticipated demand without overcommitting long-term payroll and benefits to positions that may not be needed tomorrow. A pipeline to talent that can be turned on and shut off as needed may be the difference between insolvency and profitability in the sporadic hospitality space.

Mix and match.

Hospitality businesses seeking contingent labor would do well to work with a third-party partner like PeopleCaddie to help fulfill their contractor needs. A talent cloud teeming with qualified contract workers, PeopleCaddie offers its clients access to a network of vetted talent – and can accommodate a hospitality sector that tends to break down labor by verticals.

PeopleCaddie provides white glove service that helps connect your business – which may include multiple locations and complex staffing needs – with skilled contingent professionals such as accountants, auditors, developers, cybersecurity specialists, CMS experts, and more. Contractors with whom you’ve already worked, or would like to work, can even be added to our network to help you secure the exact talent you have in mind. We’ll even take care of all the admin work surrounding that engagement. Which brings us to…

Fewer admin responsibilities.

Because PeopleCaddie handles payroll and related administration, the best contractors are attracted to our network by bi-weekly paychecks and access to insurance and other benefits (a rarity for contingent labor).

Your business is then bolstered not only by a dynamic pipeline of top talent, but also by the time and energy it saves. As the circumstances around W-2 and 1099 classifications become more muddled, you can count on PeopleCaddie’s team of experts to comb over the fine print – and free you up to focus your efforts on taking care of your guests. No more getting bogged down by administrative tasks made more complicated by the seasonality of your business. PeopleCaddie has you covered.

Reach out to a PeopleCaddie representative today to learn how we can help you meet all your workforce needs and optimize your business operations.

sgruenContingent Labor and Hospitality: A Guide to 2023

Misconceptions About Contract Work

There are false perceptions that persist all around us. Not every salad is “healthy.” Millennials aren’t teenagers. (They’re all 27 or older, grandpa.) And in Monopoly, sadly, the racing car token doesn’t guarantee you victory. The same is true of contract work: Many people don’t understand the modern gig economy, and it may be costing them a crack at valuable work experience, career advancement and a more desirable lifestyle. Here are four misconceptions about contract work that could be holding you back from what may be a better brand of work:

Blue collar, white collar, all collars.

Driving Uber and Doordash is honest work, but the gig economy expands well beyond rideshare and delivery jobs. Independent contracting comes in all shapes, sizes, industries, salaries and levels of expertise and experience. From IT to accounting to engineering, these high-end, specialized gig positions often pay well and offer the sort of lifestyle flexibility that typically is difficult to find in a “permanent” staff role. Don’t make the mistake of assuming the contractor community isn’t for you based on misconceptions about the work itself. You could miss out on multiple opportunities of a lifetime.

Everyone is participating.

Misconceptions about contract work begin with a failure of imagination that has kept some workers from even considering it as an option. The perception that the gig economy is meant only for the semi-retired who are supplementing their income, or for workers who aren’t able to land traditional employment, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Contingent labor is part of the gig economy, and people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of education and expertise are opting in. And for good reason: Compensation for some gigs is equivalent to an annual salary well into the six figures, and the corporate world’s recent embrace of contract workers has opened up numerous new opportunities across industries.

Finding gigs is often easier than you think.

Although the gig economy literally has no barriers to entry, many staff workers assume the perks of independent contracting are either out of reach or require a grind that would be too grueling – or risky – to keep up. After all, finding new gigs can feel like a full-time job all its own, right?

It doesn’t have to be. A staff employee can always dip a toe in the gig economy without giving up their full-time role to gauge whether contracting is right for them – or just to build up a solid freelancing foundation. Once you’re ready to take the plunge, word of mouth often spreads and your work speaks for itself. Take it a step further, though, by signing on with a staffing agency – or a talent cloud like PeopleCaddie. Third-party intermediaries help you connect to eager employers looking for people just like you.

You don’t have to wait.

There’s no threshold of experience that freezes out a certain demographic of workers from the gig economy. A significant portion of independent contractors are younger pros who have gravitated to contingent labor as a lifestyle choice – and there is no shortage of employers willing to put them to work and pay them fairly.

A foundation of past work will always help a candidate in their search for the next job, but the reality is that companies hire people of all ages and experience levels for gig work. There’s no 10 Commandments of Contracting that requires a worker to “pay their dues” before trying their hand at contracting. The flexible schedule, reduced stress and handsome pay that often comes with professional gig work may be within your grasp right now.

Interested in learning more about contract work? Check out how PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud.

sgruenMisconceptions About Contract Work