Mitchener Media is a specialist digital and creative agency, based in Southampton. Founded by Tom Mitchener, they have grown by 300% in 12 months. Now working with clients across varied sectors, they have 2 permanent and 12 freelance staff. They have implemented freelancer management systems to support their growth and allow them to focus on delivering more for their existing clients, new client acquisition and securing repeat business.
Part and parcel of that growth has been hiring the right staff with diverse skills to uncover areas of improvement. In the digital world, there is no catch-all job description and there is no one person that can cater for all customer needs.
There is, however, an enormous talent pool to choose from. Being so vast, there are pros and cons when it comes to shortlisting the right person for the job.
The obvious pro is that there are so many skilled individuals, bursting with energy and ideas to get started on their next digital project.
In the UK alone, there are 5 million freelancers, which represents 15% of the total workforce and many predictions suggest that number could be between 15-20million by 2025.
With the sheer number of marketers and digital creatives in the market, the range of skills is incredibly diverse. If there’s a skill you desire in a marketer, you’ll be able to find it. Quantity or quality, talent in numbers is a good thing.
Having so many freelancers and outsourcers to choose from is time consuming and resource sapping. Sifting through CVs and LinkedIn profiles is not a good use of anybody’s time.
Paying recruiters to do the leg work is often the remedy for this, but when agencies require a new team member for an interim period or one-off project, the return on investment becomes much harder to reach due to the upfront and recurring recruitment costs incurred.
Relying on personal recommendations can lead to lack of referrals and strength in depth is an important strategy when using non-permanent staff. There is seemingly no middle ground which addresses the hiring cost issue, time commitment and the difficulty finding the right people.
The UK Freelance economy has grown by 25% year on year since 2009. It now generates £109 billion per annum and thanks to social and economic factors, it will continue to thrive in the years to come.
What did they need?
- Source the right people on-demand – they needed real-time access to global talent. This global talent needed to include skills including Web Developers, legal support, branding experts and specialist social media Marketers. They needed freelancers specialising in certain fields, with a pre-determined rate and a set time for them to be available.
- Customisable onboarding – the creation of templates specific to your organisation which allow you to control screening and generate user profiles for new hires. In addition to their own internal hiring criteria, they wanted some insight into previous projects, including reviews and references from other marketing agencies.
- A platform that offered unlimited access to talent without charging upfront fees. This would move Mitchener Media away from the traditional recruitment model without restricted communication.
- A centralised, custom built talent pool where they could filter and search quickly using keywords, e.g. Facebook advertising or legal.
- A way in which to reduce their admin tasks, ideally a centralised portal which could handle timesheet submissions, approvals and reminders, budgets, purchase orders, ratings and reviews etc.
- One invoice regardless of how many freelancers they had taken on. Coupled with this, Mitchener Media required a managed payroll at set periods of the month.
- The assurance that they would be adhering with regulations such as IR35 and GDPR
- Production of legal contracts for both parties
- Protection of both the buyer (client) and seller (freelancer) transactions
How did they benefit?
1. The time and costs of hiring and managing freelancers dramatically reduced. 8 hours has been stripped to 1 hour completing the following tasks:
- Recruitment: job specs, comms, job posting & attending interviews.
- Timesheets: submissions and approvals
- Project documentation
2. Removed the risk of hiring bad freelancers:
- Customisable templates to capture important details for a new hire
- Simple review system
3. Quality at all stages:
- Screening and interviewing process – opposed to a cold hire on a freelancer platform
- Multiple methods of communication
- Strategic relationship building – longer term relationships are now forged, rather than gig based work.
- Freelancers are not charged any fees which allows Mitchener Media to negotiate their rates and secure top talent at better prices
- Win more business from existing clients
- Core service focus to power outbound sales and marketing campaigns
- Flex in line with customer demand
- Generated £5,000 per month in additional recurring revenue in the past 3 months.