As a UX staffing and recruiting firm, UX Hires has seen the value independent contractors can bring to startups and established organizations alike.
According to Freelancing in America 2016, a study by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, 55 million Americans (35%) are freelancers, with 19.1 million of those identifying as Independent Contractors. And as the demand continues to rise for UX work within teams and organizations, independent UX contractors are stepping in to solve pressing staffing needs.
If you’re still wondering whether or not independent contractors can help your organization, consider some of the big benefits they provide.
While there are many reasons to hire independent contractors, one of the biggest bottom-line benefits is the financial savings. Sure, contractors will likely be paid a higher hourly wage than a full-time employee for the same work, but there are many additional costs associated with employees that are not of your concern when hiring contractors.
Depending on your needs, office space can be a great expense. But many contracted hires are happy to skip the office and work from home, limiting the need for additional square footage and resources like equipment. And contractors don’t only come with their own computers, they come with their own health and insurance benefits too. Those numbers add up, considering the additional payments and contributions associated with Social Security and Medicare taxes, state unemployment insurance, or worker’s compensation insurance.
Without the responsibility and time commitment associated with all of that extra paperwork, independent contractors can cut down on HR demands. And when you work with a recruiting firm like UX Hires, we can cut it down one step further by handling payroll – saving additional time and resources.
Efficiency & Productivity
Often, when you hire an independent contractor you are hiring an expert in their field. This comes with a lot of perks that continue to save you time, and money – beyond the initial costs associated with compensation.
Hiring, onboarding, and training a full-time employee for your organization can take a great deal of time (and money). But contractors don’t need to be trained to perform their tasks, and anything they do need to know can be absorbed and adapted quickly. Their specialized expertise lends to them jumping right in and being productive, while an employee with a larger job description and broader list of responsibilities may require weeks or even months of training.
And according to Jakob Nielsen, this can be a big benefit. While everyone hopes to find that UX Unicorn – you know, the one who is an expert in all things UX – Nielsen claims they’re a myth. “UX constitutes many different specialties such as researcher, interaction designer, visual designer, copywriter, and information architect. Forcing one person to do it all is a prescription for mediocrity,” he explains. By highlighting his point with 2016 Olympic gold medal winning scores, Nielson compares the numbers of individual gold medal winners in 10 distinct disciplines, like javelin throw and shot put, with the results of the decathlon winner who excelled in all 10 events to bring home the gold. By doing so, it is quickly evident that those who specialize in a discipline, like javelin throw, have the edge. In fact, the gold medal javelin thrower threw for 90.3 meters, while the gold medal decathlon winner threw only 59.77 meters.
If you think about your contracted employees in the same light, it’s easy to see why hiring someone for a specialized skill can mean big productivity returns for your organization.
Recently, a rapidly growing and successful ecommerce company was being acquired by a much larger entity. With new hiring halted as the sale was finalized and internal systems integrated, design work was left in need of completion in order to meet the demand from internal stakeholders. Our solution was recruiting long-term contractors who were able to met the demands of the design work and keep productivity a priority. Additionally, UX Hires was able to handle the payroll demands, minimizing the need for additional resources within the organization.
Hiring independent contractors gives you the flexibility to hire for specific projects or needs, and end contracts when those needs are met or workload decreases. If your organization has fluctuating workloads, this can be particularly beneficial. And when another project begins or the workload increases, you can simply hire the contractor again.
Believe it or not, hiring contractors can actually provide stability within your organization. Some positions can have high turnover, especially when these roles are filled with young and entry level employees. And with UX in high demand, many organizations have seen employees following a higher paycheck and being less loyal to employers. But, when you hire an independent contractor and are able to build a strong relationship, you can gain stability in a role that may lack it.
Although some independent contractors would prefer to remain independent, sometimes, bringing independent contractors aboard can lead to a full-time hires.
A global Fortune 50 company with offices worldwide came to us with an urgent need for design talent in their NYC office, but budget for hiring designers resided with another office. Their solution was to bring on a team of long-term contract designers who were project based and could come on and off projects until their budget opened up for hiring. The Designers, when hired for full-time positions, already had the knowledge of the organization and the company culture that made them successful and productive new hires.
As we continue to connect independent contractor talent with organizations, we continue to see (and hear) the mutual benefits. If you have a need for exceptional UX talent and a full-time hire isn’t the right fit, hiring an independent contractor might be the perfect solution that not only saves you money, but suits your unique staffing needs.
About UX Hires
UX Hires (www.uxhires.com) helps you build your dream UX team or find you the perfect UX job. We are experts in User Experience recruitment and understand brands and agencies alike. Thanks to our affiliation with Motivate Design (www.motivatedesign.com), a leading User Experience research and design agency, UX Hires has an unparalleled understanding of the UX Design, UX Research, and Visual/UI Design space and reach within the community.
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