OnForce Blog POWERING THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS AND WORK

Five signs you should invest in a T2T workforce

Wednesday, Jul. 16th 2014

Let’s face it, workforce management techniques of the 20th century are just not going to cut it for the 21st century.  That’s where T2T workforce management comes in.

But what is a T2T workforce you ask?

T2T (or “Task-to-Talent”) work arrangements are for shorter-term assignments (“tasks”) rather than lengthier traditional contingent work arrangements.  With T2T, you enlist freelancers or independent contractors with a specific skill set to complete highly specific tasks on-demand as needed.

If you answer yes to even one of the following signs below, it is essential for you to consider utilizing a T2T (Task to Talent) contingent workforce.

  1. You constantly struggle with matching the skills of your fixed workforce with the work that needs to be done.
  2. You are embracing “statements of work” as a means to extend your workforce.
  3. Your use of contingent workers is on the rise and isn’t expected to slow down soon.
  4. Your workforce is aging and you are expecting resource gaps as employees retire.
  5. You are caught between finance’s constant request to cut hiring costs for temporary freelancers/contingent workers and management’s desire to hire more short-term workers.

You can relate.  Now what?

Perhaps your company isn’t ready to embrace the T2T workforce because they prefer to do it the “way we’ve always done it.”

However, once you understand how much money and time is saved by using a T2T workforce, the executives would be remiss not to jump on the bandwagon. Let’s look at some example situations and solutions—to satisfy you, your finance department and management!

Do you have gaps in your business’s workload?

You are the creative director at a marketing firm and are responsible for the company’s website designers.  However, the amount of work varies throughout the year.  Your full-time employees are on a “roller coaster” working long hours with periods of down time (low utilization) sprinkled in between. Using a T2T contingent workforce can create a more stable and satisfying working environment for your employees while increasing overall workforce efficiency using variable resources on-demand.

Do you have a quick task that needs to be accomplished?

You handle the service projects for your company.  You have multitudes of POS systems that need to be installed by qualified technicians.  You currently don’t have the bandwidth to complete the installations internally.  Also, once the installations (tasks) are completed, you won’t need these technicians anymore.  With T2T, you get those POS systems installed on-demand when needed.

Are you spending money to train your workers in skills that they will only use once?

Let’s consider the example above.  Your staff technicians are great but many don’t have POS training.  And remember, these POS installation tasks may only be needed once depending on the projects you win.  Utilizing a contingent workforce that specializes in POS installation eliminates the time to train your employees.

Are many of your seasoned employees retiring soon?

You are the manager at a manufacturing plant. You have full-time employees that are soon retiring. At one time, their skills were needed on a full-time basis.  Today, their workload has waned and it fluctuates. While you will sometimes need workers with those skills, you won’t need full-time employees to replace the retiring employees.  A T2T workforce will allow you to “get the job done” on-demand thus increasing workforce utilization at a much more efficient cost

Let’s say you agree that Task-to-Talent sounds applicable to your business.

Obviously you still need to find qualified freelancers or independent contractors, submit work orders, manage the work and pay those workers.  This could be quite costly, cumbersome and time-consuming using the outdated “way we’ve always done it.”

But where can you find workers quickly, that are qualified, certified and insured for the task at hand and not need to worry about mitigating risk?

Reach beyond traditional staffing resources and choose an online workforce platform.

You will then be able to choose, manage and pay your freelancers and independent workers almost effortlessly.  An all-in-one freelancer SaaS or “WaaS” (workforce-as-a-service) cuts down on recruiting time, paperwork, invoicing, and insuring 1099 compliance.  Search through the platform for workers with those exact skills and their quality ratings. You are then assured of hiring qualified workers. The freelancers and contingent workers are rated by other buyers which allow you to choose only those with excellent ratings. You can post work orders and pay workers through the service.  They can even accept your work orders in real time on their mobile phones!

OnForce.com (okay, shameless plug here) is one option that can save you (a lot of) money, time and aggravation. In fact, OnForce guarantees your satisfaction on every work order. Peace of mind—we’ve got that covered.

You don’t have to jump off the diving board into the pool all at once.  Just put your feet in first and select an area where you know your organization is deficient in skills and capabilities.  Get some experience in using an online workforce platform. I believe you will find that it’s not just a way-out future solution to consider but is applicable to your organization’s business success right now.

For more information about the T2T workforce, download Task to Talent (T2T):

How Technology is Driving a New Contingent Work Arrangement Paradigm.

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10 Best Blogs for Freelancers and Independent Contractors

Wednesday, Jul. 16th 2014

Ask a Freelancer Perhaps my favorite freelancer blog, Liz Andrade, this self-proclaimedinternet nerd and crazy cat lady” writes helpful blogs including ones on becoming a freelancer, finding clients and how to use social media to increase your business.

This Freelancer Life Fairly new but informative, this digital magazine is written by freelancers and is available on iPad, iPhone and Android.

Fab Freelance Writing Angela Booth’s blog has great posts for freelance writers, particularly online freelance bloggers.

Self-Employment Tips for Independent Contractors This is actually a blog post from Kathrin Tschiesche on tips for independent contractors. If you don’t mind giving out your email address, you can also download a free ebook “Working as an independent contractor.”

Guerrilla Freelancing This is a robust blog written in a fun, “tongue-in-cheek” style.  Offers freelancers tips on gaining quality clients, setting pricing and getting paid on time!

Freelance Educator Tips from Creative Education A blog for teachers; it has posts about becoming a freelance educator and how to use social media to better your career.

Society of Professional Journalists Blog for Freelancers As the name suggests, a freelance blog just for journalists.  This one is updated often and features advice from staff but also guest bloggers.

Escape from Corporate America Pamela Skillings left a lucrative 12 year career as a marketing exec to start her own consulting business “Skillful Communications” in 2005. She offers blog posts with tips on how to begin a successful freelance career.

All Business Blog This small business blog has some great posts for IC’s including Becoming an Independent Contractor: Taking the First Steps and 10 Tax Tips for the Self-Employed.

Freelance Shack: This blog has a wealth of information for freelancers including how to brand and market yourself, how to generate more leads and how to increase your rates.

Read about the quickly emerging Task to Talent Workforce: The “Gig” Economy (and why this is great for you!).

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We will be at CompTIA ChannelCon 2014 in Phoenix Aug 4-6

Tuesday, Jul. 15th 2014

Members of the OnForce team will be headed to Phoenix, AZ this summer to attend CompTIA’s ChannelCon, set for Aug. 4-6 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.

ChannelCon is a big annual training and partnering experience for the IT channel. We like this show a lot because it gives us an opportunity to meet with OnForce Pros as well as OnForce Buyers. It’s also a great forum to learn about the latest training and resources offered by CompTIA.

“I look forward to this event each year because it allows us to engage with current OnForce members. These conversations help us identify new needs of pros and buyers and improve the way we connect our talented OnForce network of professionals with our service buyers,” reports Don Anderson, OnForce Workforce Solutions Director.

Both Don Anderson and George Derrico, our SVP of Sales, will be on hand in OnForce Booth #509. Be sure to stop by to chat with them.

Also, as a ChannelCon exhibitor, we are able to give you free admission to the show floor.  I encourage you to Click for Free Registration using our promo code: CC14OnForce (because admission is normally $250).

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Posted by Shannon Moynihan | in Media, PR & Events, Pros Community | No Comments »

Platform version 5.60.4 release

Tuesday, Nov. 12th 2013

v 5.60.4 – released Nov 12 2013

The OnForce team will be releasing an update to the platform tonight. Here’s what’s new:

Are you making it easy to understand the requirements of your work? Are you providing clear and easy-to-follow instructions? In a fast-paced on-site environment, how quickly can service professionals extract important information from your job description?

As a service buyer, improving the readability of your work orders helps the service professionals you work with to quickly and completely understand job requirements and instructions — saving time on site, reducing errors and missed steps, and leading to better overall service.

OnForce service buyers can now apply rich formatting to their work order description, instructions, and terms of agreement fields, making the scope of work and service instructions easier to read, understand, and follow. With our easy-to-use formatting toolbar, you can add any of the following formatting and styling options to your work order text:

  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Numbered lists
  • Bulleted lists
  • Horizontal rules

Some tips for improving work order readability:

Avoid using all capital letters

Part of the way our brains make sense of printed text is by recognizing letter shapes. Because capitalized letters are all the same height, we actually have to work harder to distinguish between them. A study in the American Journal of Psychological Research concluded that using capital letters for emphasis actually decreases reading comprehension. What to do instead: Use bold or italics to emphasize important details and highlight critical steps or procedures.

Break up large blocks of text

Presenting job details in large blocks of text increases the amount of time required to read and decreases comprehension and retention. It’s much easier for our brains to assign meaning to what we read when visual characteristics, such as lists and spacing, are used to help us understand how the information is organized. What to do instead: Use section headings, spacing, and horizontal rules to organize your work order into smaller, more manageable sections. For example, maybe you want to provide instructions for what a Pro should do prior to going on site, while they’re on site, and when they are closing out the job.

Want more help?

Our support and account management teams are here to help you if you need pointers on how to structure an effective, easy-to-read work order.

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Posted by Scott Epple | in Product Release | Comments Off

Top Three Ways to Deliver Exceptional Service

Monday, Aug. 12th 2013

Guest blog by George Harris, VP of Business Development at OnForce

Whether you’re a managed service provider, an OEM, a VAR, or even a full-service company in the 3rd-party arena, achieving exceptional service is always a top part of your organizational mission. Although your product or service may be very different from the company down the street, that goal remains the same.

As George Harris, VP of Business Development at OnForce says, “There are a hundred ways to bake a cake, but some taste better than others.” How can you make sure that your efforts are resulting in a robust, tasty strategy? Here are Harris’ picks for top ways to garner exceptional service.

  • With a certified, qualified tech trained on a specific product. When bringing in a tech, look for one trained by a manufacturer or who’s been through a formal training program — that way, they understand how a product is being used. Also, glance at work history and get a sense of a tech’s skills and knowledgebase. You want someone who can keep pace with innovation, and supplement existing skills with fresh ones in order to stay sharp in today’s rapidly changing business marketplace. So, find indications of that in a tech’s experience.
  • Bring in a tech who understands the business environment in which your product or service is being used — knowing the details of a product is crucial, but a tech should also be savvy about how that product is affecting your business or your industry.
  • Increase your company’s “soft skills” by utilizing techs who have exemplary listening and problem solving skills, as well as true passion for their work. A successful IT consultant will be flexible when on a project, dealing with unexpected issues and seeing solutions instead of problems.

Focusing on these types of strategies helps a company operate with lower margins, keeping costs in line, Harris notes: “You have a workforce that’s available now through an online platform, which helps mitigate most of the concerns through a strong vetting process, verification of certification, background and drug testing, performance reporting, and insurance, so why not make the most of that?”

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