Kjetil Olsen

Member Article

Smart SMEs hire and manage in the cloud

Kjetil Olsen, VP Europe with Elance, the leading platform for online work, outlines the advantages of hiring and managing in the cloud

Despite the current economic challenges, there’s never been a better time for SMEs. The UK government has pledged more support for start-up businesses. There’s a thriving community offering support, advice and sharing experiences both online and at events. There’s more information and support out there than ever before to help entrepreneurs turn that seed of an idea into a viable business.

However, the real driver for SMEs is the emergence of the human cloud. More and more businesses now go online to hire and manage talented staff on an hourly or project basis. The UK is at the forefront of this global trend – Elance’s recent European Online Employment Report revealed that in the past year alone, there has been a 55 percent increase in the number of UK businesses hiring online, and the UK is now the second largest economy globally for hiring online.

There are five key advantages to hiring and managing through the human cloud:

1) Flexible staffing

Ask any SME and they’ll tell you payroll is a significant expense. This is why small businesses in the UK have been so quick to adapt new hybrid hiring models, combining permanent office based staff with online talent sourced through the human cloud to complete projects. Hiring through an online platform for work such as Elance gives businesses the flexibility to hire contractors at a project or hourly rate, accessing skills and talents not available locally and significantly reducing overheads.

2) Agility

An SME needs to maintain agility to stay ahead of the competition and hiring online can help with this. Cloud workers will often tend to work from project to project and can balance their commitments and will only take on work where they have capacity. This is in contrast to an internal employee or agency, which will often need to juggle a number of tasks at a time.

3) Timely growth

Whereas in the past, SMEs would experience slow shifts in growth over time, the new human cloud-hiring model allows SMEs to adapt to customer demands, as well as seasonal peaks and troughs in demand. This avoids missed opportunities, capacity issues and allows an SME to be more responsive to the needs of customers and changing market conditions.

4) On-demand experts at your fingertips

Think that hiring experts is a luxury only large companies with money to burn can afford? Think again! The human cloud has levelled the playing field for businesses of all sizes and gives SMEs access to a world of talented online contractors available for work.

5) Two heads are better than one

An often unexpected benefit of hiring online is diversity of ideas it can generate. Working with a cloud based contractor on the other side of the world who is used to completing projects for a number of different businesses means a different perspective, different cultural references and a totally fresh outlook.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Kjetil Olsen .

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