At last! Good press for freelancers

How nice to read that freelancers day has seen entrepreneurs and freelancers commended for their contribution.

With all our consultants operating on a freelance basis, for us this is good news and fair recognition for some unsung and hard working heroes.  I would echo Karen Brady’s comments about the value and flexibility this resource brings to business.

Our freelance associates are our front line, and deliver some fantastic support to a wide range of people who have lost their jobs.  Our outplacement results are outstanding, especially when compared with the government’s Work Programme statistics .  Testament to the great work that is ensuring those we help who have lost their jobs stay outside of those national figures.  Most get their next job without placing any demand on the benefit system.

Many years ago, the outplacement industry was full of employed consultants, psychologists and career specialists.  Now this industry is dominated by a self-employed model.  Chiumento led the way and was first to establish a strategy of delivery through entirely self-employed team.

Why was a self-employed team better?  It meant we could offer an individual, flexible and agile service that delivered results.  Our aim was not to fill the diaries of the employed team on our payroll.  Instead our focus was on ensuring those we supported were helped by someone with a relevant background, location and skill set to match their particular needs.  We were free of the constraints an employed consultant resource brings.

Our clients quickly saw the benefits.  As well as offering their referred people a tailored service, from a commercial perspective, it meant that in quieter times we had no base cost to carry.  This in turn meant we could be more competitive.  In fact, our competitors have since all adopted a similar model now standard in the outplacement industry.

The fear was that commitment would be less.  Yet our team showed all the signs of motivation and commitment that you need in this work.  The assumption that there is greater loyalty from an employed team than from a self-employed one is simply false.  Commitment comes from being motivated, not from being employed.  It is internally not externally driven and the reality is that each of our self-employed consultants is keen to protect and effectively promote their own brand – in effect, themselves.

This made me wonder what it is that makes the self-employed approach attractive for career consultants.  Reflecting on our Career Carousel research motivation is key.  Given the work they have chosen to do, most are likely to be a blend of True Believer and Achiever with perhaps some Protectionists wanting to get their work-life balance in order (a definite advantage for freelancers – who love their independence and love having a purpose).  In this business this translates into a genuine desire to see those they support succeed.

Whilst our first team of freelancers joined us some 20 years ago, we have reviewed and continued to retain our strapline that emphasises the importance of the individual approach.  Now, working freelance is a much more popular career option.  For us all, it’s a win-win.  What could be better?

Sarah Chiumento

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