Managed Service Providers: How to Properly Manage Freelancers

More than ever companies are trending toward maximizing the value of a contingent workforce—the engagement of non-permanent workers. Across business units, the benefits of leveraging freelance workers are palpable on both sides of the equation: Cost containment and the ability to enhance productivity with the flow of business for the corporation, flexibility and freedom of choice in the hands of the freelancer. As the contingent workforce continues to grow in size and complexity, organizations are increasingly challenged with managing such resources, driving savings and improving efficiencies, putting a structure around data. In light of these challenges, companies are turning toward the use of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to oversee and optimize the utilization of freelancers.

Navigating Worker Misclassification

The meeting and event industry has shared in the global uptick in contingent workforce utilization while leveraging MSPs to corral these channels of flexible labor. As with any other niche, meetings agencies and internal corporate event teams are reaping the rewards of the freelance economy, but this is not without risk. Stakeholders are free to select meetings specialists by specific skill set without adding fully burdened employees to headcount. Using an industry-specific external model to manage this process lends unquantifiable expertise, but just as importantly helps navigate the potentially hazardous terrain of worker misclassification.

Experienced, industry-specific MSPs function to provide clients with the information and arms’ length necessary to properly leverage contingent labor. Specifically in the realm of corporate events, freelancers too often run the risk of resembling full-time employees. Not only is it necessary for an outsourced model to bring a track record of industry-specific knowledge, but they must also be able to advise and consult corporations on the game changers of risk:

  • Do you control or direct how a freelancer performs services?

  • Does the freelancer maintain his/her own business?

  • Does the freelancer perform the same services as your full-time employees?

These are few among many indicators that your usage of contingent labor approaches a costly line.

Choosing the Right MSP

Your MSP of record should maintain both in-house counsel in addition to external legal advisors when assessing worker misclassification and co-employment risk. Further, a sound MSP should be a technology-enabled company, allowing you to request talent on your terms without the worry of such legal implications. Ensure that your MSP proactively sees where you’re at risk.

Regardless of the size of a corporation or a meeting planning agency, that company will have complex needs, a demand for top talent and repeatable processes. Without an MSP versed in your unique niche, the responsibility of outsourced team enhancement trickles down from department to department; resources inevitably vary along with quality, rogue spend intensifies. The way we work is evolving, your organization’s usage of contingent labor will continue to grow, access to a curated pool of talent is a tremendous tool for your company in any business unit, but centralized management of these workers can be overwhelming. The use of freelance marketplaces can invite risk; allow an MSP to find the precise skill set according to your needs and not blankly bid out opportunities. Leveraging an MSP grants access to the best industry talent from thought leaders to meetings software experts, but alongside lends a finger on the pulse of evolving contingent labor laws state-to-state, country to country, driving program adoption, delivering you a robust strategy for the future.

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The material above is expressly for informational purposes and maintains the opinions of Plannernet, Inc. No portion of the above is intended as legal advice.