The rise of the freelance economy has been gaining momentum in recent years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Not only are our own clients here at AllWork increasing their freelancer hiring but this is something the workforce is seeing across the board. Over 36% of the US working population now identifies as freelancers, contract, temporary, or gig workers. This shift in the way we work has led to an increase in the demand for flexible workforces, and technology has become a key factor in managing and supporting these workers. As a top freelancer management and payment platform, AllWork has been at the forefront of this trend, working with over 10,000 freelancers and helping luxury brands manage their flexible workforces.
The Importance of Freelancers in Retail
Freelancers are an integral part of the workforce in many industries, but they are particularly important in the retail sector. They are the face of the brand in stores, and without them, sales could come to a halt. Consumers today demand a personalized shopping experience, and freelancers are essential in providing that engagement. In fact, 75% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that personalize the shopping experience.
With the rise of flexible work, finding (and retaining) good in-store staff has been a significant challenge for luxury brands. This has led companies to look to freelancers to fill the hiring gap and provide a flexible workforce that can be deployed into stores during prime selling hours.
“Finding and keeping store staff is easily the number one pain point for most luxury CEOs and HR leaders right now.”Lisa Yae, Managing Partner of the retail and luxury goods practice at Hanold Associates
However, managing a flexible workforce can be challenging, and this is where technology comes in. Brands who are deploying technology specifically for freelancers driving in-person sales at retail are seeing the benefits from it and are ultimately pulling ahead because of it.
The Benefits of Technology for Freelancers
Technology has become an essential tool for managing flexible workforces. Freelancers want technology that can help them succeed at their job, be paid on time, and feel connected to their companies.
Here at AllWork, we’ve worked with brands ranging from startups to large, well-established companies who deploy freelancers into retail across the US and Canada. We’ve witnessed firsthand just how challenging this can be without the proper technology. Imagine you’re a brand sitting in New York and you have to manage 1,000 freelancers across the country. You need to send them schedules, make sure they have the most up-to-date educational materials, and pay them for their hard work. Trying to do all of this manually causes huge headaches for internal teams and can cause a lot of friction between a brand and their freelancers. That’s where AllWork comes in to help these companies onboard, manage, and pay these large distributed freelance workforces.
We’ve identified the top three reasons why freelancers want technology:
1. In Order to do Their Job Well
Today’s workforce expects their employer to provide them with the tools they need to succeed at their job. To in-store freelancers, success means selling more and engaging with your customers. Brands who give freelancers a way to easily see and respond to shifts, upload important sales metrics, and access branded and training materials are going to see that success metric improve. In fact, our brands see a 10% increase in retail sales after starting with AllWork. Especially if they weren’t providing freelancers with any technology before.
Imagine if your freelancers could now easily open an app to review training guides, product ingredients, and sales strategies and then immediately apply these to the customer right in the store. Freelancers can also see sales goals and report in-store sales so they know what is expected of them. This kind of success means happier more engaged freelancers. Freelancers feel a greater level of accomplishment and support from their company.
2. To Be Paid on Time
One of the biggest challenges that freelancers face is getting paid on time. The current state of freelancer payments is, unfortunately, a mess. 71% of freelancers have dealt with clients paying them late or not at all. The reason for this? Most companies do NOT have the necessary infrastructure for flexible freelancer payments. Before coming to us brands were trying to do it themselves and they don’t have a way to keep track of, and process, freelancer payments quickly.
Late payments can cause cash flow problems and lead to a loss of trust between freelancers and their clients. Technology can automate invoicing, facilitate secure transactions, and ensure timely payment disbursement.
3. To Feel Connected to Their Company
Freelancers want to feel like they are part of the company they work for, even if they are not full-time employees. Typically brands are managing large remote field teams all across the US and because they’re remote, there can be a disconnect between freelancers and managers. Technology can help bridge the gap between freelancers and their clients’ work environment by providing intuitive and mobile-first solutions.
We hear a lot from the talent who work for our brands how much they love that their brand is investing in them, making them feel part of the larger company as a whole, and making their work life more organized by providing all of their schedules, work materials, and communications in one place.
So, How Can Your Company Prepare?
To attract and retain top freelancers, brands need to prioritize technology. Here are some actionable next steps that your brand can take:
1. Make sure your brand is set up to handle quick, flexible payments.
Freelancers expect to be paid on time, and brands need to have the necessary infrastructure in place to facilitate timely payment disbursement. What businesses need is one centralized platform and system of record where they can easily pay each freelancer, track their spend, manage the work being done, and ensure that they are compliant with all state and federal laws for each freelancer whether they are classified as W-2 or 1099 workers.
That’s why at AllWork we brought together not just freelancer management technology but also an integrated payments platform specifically built with freelancers in mind.
2. Prioritize mobile technology.
It is HARD to connect with a remote team without mobile technology! By partnering with a company that gives your managers and freelance teams access to a mobile app, your team can communicate on the go. Giving them one place to record all of their messages and a quick way to connect with their team whenever they need to. It also encourages managers to provide feedback or praise to certain members of their team.
3. Focus on engagement – make sure freelancers feel like they are part of the company.
Brands need to foster a sense of community and belonging among their freelancers. This can include providing access to training and development resources, offering opportunities for feedback and input, and creating a culture of transparency and trust.
The rise of the freelance economy has created a significant opportunity for businesses to tap into a flexible and talented workforce. However, managing a flexible workforce can be challenging, and this is where technology can help. AllWork has been at the forefront of this trend, working with over 10,000 freelancers and providing an end-to-end solution for managing and supporting flexible workforces. As the future of work continues to evolve, technology will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping the way we manage our workforce.
Want to learn more about how AllWork can help you achieve these goals? Reach out to schedule a demo of our end-to-end freelancer management and payments platform!