Tuesday, April 8, 2014

OnForce and ICon Announce Partnership to Offer Leading Freelancer Management Platform with Robust Compliance Solution

BOSTON and Foster City, Calif., April 8, 2014 OnForce, a leader in technology-enabled workforce management, and ICon, a leader in independent contractor compliance, today announced a partnership that will give organizations across industries the ability to engage, manage and pay their private networks of freelance workers while ensuring that their contingent workforce management practices are compliant with state and federal regulations.

Recent studies estimate that contingent labor accounts for up to 30 percent of an organizations total workforce mix, and forecasts indicate that independent workers will account for more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020. With the heightened scrutiny of worker relationships by all levels of government, organizations need to proactively address the logistical challenges of engaging and administering contingent workers as well as manage the compliance risks related to the use of independent contractors.

Independent contractor compliance is one of the greatest concerns of companies seeking to capitalize on the efficiencies of the freelancer economy, said OnForce CEO Peter Cannone. With this go-to-market offering between OnForce and ICon, enterprise customers have the opportunity to manage the growing trend towards engaging freelancers while mitigating these state and federal compliance risks.

Organizations across industries now have the ability to use OnForce Converge, a cloud-based Freelancer Management System (FMS) for managing an enterprises private network of independent workers, along with ICons full-service automated compliance solution. Available in subscription-based models, these freelancer management and compliance solutions provide enterprises with the most efficient way of engaging, managing and paying their dynamic, variable freelancer workforce.

Theres really no debating that the use of independent contractors is one of the most advantageous strategies for companies to achieve greater workforce optimization, said ICon CEO Patricia Griffin. Were enabling companies to leverage these benefitsvia our technology integrations and partnerships, while also providing the assurance that they are adhering to the full scope of complex compliance regulations.

About ICon Professional Services

ICon is a leading provider of Contingent Workforce Management solutions which include 1099 contractor compliance, payroll and benefits administration.Since 1997, ICon has applied experience, technology, and process execution to create solutions that deliver on the promise of an independent workforce by expertly navigating the complexity of government compliance. Our award-winning iConnect technology platform remains at the forefront of the industry and provides powerful competitive advantages in terms of cost and performance. This technological advantage, along with our dedication to providing superior customer service, has earned ICon a long list of awards and satisfied customers. For additional information, visit www.gotoicon.com.

About OnForce

OnForce, a leader in SaaS technology-enabled workforce solutions, empowers companies of all sizes in all industries to gain a competitive edge in how work gets done. Its business model allows customers to rapidly grow their businesses, lower service costs, extend skill-sets, and generate new streams of revenue. For additional information, please visit www.onforce.com.

Izumi Barker
ICon Professional Services
(650) 378-4150
Alex Parks
Davies Murphy Group
(781) 418-2412

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Platform version 5.60.4 release

The OnForce team will be releasing an update to the platform tonight. Here’s what’s new: Add rich formatting to work order details

Are you making it easy to understand the requirements of your work? Are you providing clear and easy-to-follow instructions? In a fast-paced on-site environment, how quickly can service professionals extract important information from your job description?

As a service buyer, improving the readability of your work orders helps the service professionals you work with to quickly and completely understand job requirements and instructions — saving time on site, reducing errors and missed steps, and leading to better overall service.

OnForce service buyers can now apply rich formatting to their work order description, instructions, and terms of agreement fields, making the scope of work and service instructions easier to read, understand, and follow. With our easy-to-use formatting toolbar, you can add any of the following formatting and styling options to your work order text:

  • Bold Italics
  • Numbered lists 
  • Bulleted lists 
  • Horizontal rules 

Some tips for improving work order readability:

Avoid using all capital letters

Part of the way our brains make sense of printed text is by recognizing letter shapes. Because capitalized letters are all the same height, we actually have to work harder to distinguish between them. A study in the American Journal of Psychological Research concluded that using capital letters for emphasis actually decreases reading comprehension. What to do instead: Use bold or italics to emphasize important details and highlight critical steps or procedures. Break up large blocks of text

Presenting job details in large blocks of text increases the amount of time required to read and decreases comprehension and retention. It’s much easier for our brains to assign meaning to what we read when visual characteristics, such as lists and spacing, are used to help us understand how the information is organized. What to do instead: Use section headings, spacing, and horizontal rules to organize your work order into smaller, more manageable sections. For example, maybe you want to provide instructions for what a Pro should do prior to going on site, while they’re on site, and when they are closing out the job.

Want more help?

Our support and account management teams are here to help you if you need pointers on how to structure an effective, easy-to-read work order.

Reference: OnForce Blog

Thursday, November 21, 2013

OnForce CEO Among Staffing Industry Top 100 Most Influential

Peter Cannone is the president and CEO of OnForce, a workforce solutions company that delivers proven offerings to today’s pressing labor management issues for the Fortune 1000 and beyond. He brings deep insights regarding trends in the staffing and service sectors and an extensive understanding of the technology services industry. Through Cannone’s leadership, OnForce recently won the prestigious Red Herring 2013 Top 100 North America award. As an award winner, OnForce joins the short list that honors the year’s most promising private technology ventures.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mitigating the Biggest Risk in Hiring IT Service Professionals

Posted by Peter Cannone, CEO of OnForce

If you haven’t caught the latest Gartner global analysis on IT staffing trends, it’s certainly worth a closer look. One of the key findings from this year’s report is that staffing remains the largest cost category for the IT budget, representing a global average of 41 percent. Along with that news is the recent PayScale survey, which found that tech companies have the highest reported turnover rate.

When you consider how much of the IT budget is allocated to staffing, the high turnover in our industry, an unemployment rate holding steady at 7.4 percent, and shrinking employee benefits packages, it’s clear that a new business model must emerge for identifying and vetting IT talent. Reinforcing the need for a new model is the results from a recent survey, which found that 60 percent of IT service professionals voluntarily joined the ranks of the self-employed.

Combined, these factors have resulted in the emergence of the Workforce-as-a-Service model, where businesses hire skilled IT talent for contract assignments to address short-term business needs.

It sounds ideal for the IT service professional who wants to be their own boss and it’s a viable alternative for businesses that need to keep the business running whether they’re quickly growing, needing to sustain a product line or are managing gaps in the workforce.

Yet as this new WaaS business model emerges, companies and independent contractors need to prioritize the “business of their business.” Specifically, protecting themselves from liabilities should anything go awry during the course of the assignment.

These incidents can range from simple falls resulting in physical injury to more complex scenarios driven by the fact that the IT service professional has access to sensitive information and infrastructure.

What often happens when a 1099 employee comes on board is that both the client and the IT service professional have a standard contract in place. It’s not uncommon for both parties to give the contract a cursory glance and assume they’re safeguarded against any physical incidents or compromises of intellectual property. And if a third party introduces the IT service professional to the service buyer, it’s often assumed that the assignment is fully protected.

Yet what is not widely known is that in many instances the assignment is only partially protected. Or worse, the IT service professional opted out of obtaining insurance.

Of course, the last thing anybody wants to think about when they’re bringing on an IT service professional is that something could go wrong. And sure, insurance isn’t always the sexiest topic to discuss – until something goes wrong and it creates a substantial impact and/or captures the attention of the mainstream media.

So what should service buyers prioritize before they enter into an agreement with an IT service contractor?

  • Insurance that covers liability, workers’ compensation, and errors and omissions. 
  • Proper classification of contract employees according to federal and state guidelines. 
  • Full background checks and client reviews. While background checks are table stakes these days, let’s not overlook recent innovations in technology that allow us to check on the public ratings and service buyer experiences of working with individual IT service professionals.

As more businesses look to maximize returns on that 41 percent of the budget they’re allocating toward IT staffing, it make sense that they look to the independent workforce to augment their teams on an as-needed basis. In fact, many service buyers report a cost savings of between 30-60 percent through the Workforce-as-a-Service model.

Yet before the service buyer signs on the dotted line, they need to be sure the proper mechanisms are in place to protect them and their business before any IT service professional steps foot onsite.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The New Staffing Reality: Workforce-as-a-Service

Posted by Peter Cannone, CEO of OnForce

Let’s face it. The dynamics of the workforce have radically changed over the past few years. Unemployment is holding steady at 7.4 percent. Unsteady economic growth is prompting employers to think twice about their staffing models. And without the safety net of employer benefits, a lot of talent is switching from being a traditional W2 employee to join the growing ranks of independent contractors. In fact, when it comes to IT professionals, 60 percent of them willingly joined the independent workforce.

What all of these factors have created is a new staffing model where businesses bring on skilled professionals for short-term assignments. For example, let’s imagine you need extra hands to quickly seize a hot market opportunity or you want to reallocate your staff to focus on a new initiative, yet need to sustain your existing product line. For companies in various stages of growth and development, the independent contractor model makes sense because it allows businesses to focus on operational efficiency and maximize productivity while reducing, if not completely eliminating idle time.

Of course, the concept of hiring 1099s is not exactly new. In many scenarios, a former colleague or a friend-of-a-friend was brought in for a specific task. What is new, however, is the way that independent contractor talent is identified, vetted and secured.

Specifically, advances in technology enable us to not only access a skilled pool of talent that is located right under our noses, but also publicly share feedback on our experiences with the independent contractor. This way, we’re able to find the right talent when it’s needed, a.k.a. “Workforce-as-a-Service” (WaaS).

Going beyond job boards, online marketplaces or social media sites to identify and hire talent for short-term assignments, the WaaS model has three critical differentiators.

1. Each assignment is fully protected with insurance against general liability, workers’ compensation and errors and omissions.

2. The contract professional is properly classified as a 1099, therefore mitigating risks for the service buyer.

3. There is a 100 percent service buyer satisfaction guarantee to support quality outcomes before the independent contractor is paid for completed work.

Let’s examine these three differentiators a bit more closely.

The insurance factor is significant yet can be easily overlooked. What service buyers and independent contractors need to be mindful of are gaps in coverage that can expose both of them to risk. Before a contract is put into place, make sure that the assignment is not just partially covered or that insurance is optional. You need the guarantee that each assignment is fully insured before an independent contractor arrives to a job site.

As for the second differentiator, we’ve all seen or heard about the huge financial burden associated with misclassification of independent contractors. As more businesses look to the WaaS model, they need to be sure due diligence is executed when it comes to properly classifying independent contractors.

Finally, in fairness to all parties involved in the engagement, satisfaction ratings must be consistent and specific to the task.

WaaS is the natural, next step in the evolution of our workforce. Yet for the model to be successful for service buyers and independent contractors, both sides must agree to and enforce the principles outlined by those three critical differentiators.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Firm Takes On-Site Approach to Online Staffing at Enterprise Level

Online staffing and services firms continue to roll out enterprise-level offerings for large customers. OnForce, an online services provider, last week announced two new enterprise-level offerings — its “workforce expansion” and “workforce optimization” services.

OnForce allows client companies to find independent contractors online, manages the flow of work and facilitates payments. Buyers can find independent contractors online or use OnForce to build a network of independent contractors through its database of U.S. and Canadian independent contractors.

Online services is one part of the "human cloud" category that includes online staffing (firms such as Elance and oDesk) and crowdsourcing (firms such as Crowdflower).

OnForce differs from other types of online staffing and services firms in that buyers use its online platform to send independent contractors directly onto a site where work is to be performed. On other online platforms, the work takes place entirely online.

The company’s workforce, for now, includes information technology specialists and consumer electronics specialists (whose work includes product repair).

“We provide a variable workforce virtual engagement, but do local delivery,” said CEO Peter Cannone.

It’s “workforce optimization” offering will design a customized workforce model for enterprise customers, an optimized labor plan and provide key performance metrics.

The “workforce expansion” offering allows large companies to add to their workforce to expand a product line or conduct a new product rollout. One example is a cable television provider who wants to provide network installation along with other installation services provided by its workers so customers have one place to go. Instead of hiring more workers, the company is providing the network installation through the OnForce platform.

Resource - Staffing Industry Analysts

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Offering Shifts Online Staffing Model

By Andrew Karpie

OnForce, a provider of platform services that enable businesses — like cable companies, electronic equipment providers, etc. — to engage and dispatch “field service contractors” across the U.S., has introduced a set of service offerings that enable any kind of large enterprise to deploy an IT-related “managed contractor workforce” in almost any U.S. location.

OnForce announced yesterday it is introducing two new service offerings coupled with its sophisticated online contractor management platform. The company places both of these service offerings in a new enterprise workforce solution category that it calls “workforce-as-a-service.”

Effectively, workforce-as-a-service provides an enterprise with a fully managed workforce of contractors who can perform work assignments on demand. But unlike a managed service program/vendor management system kind of model, where contingent workforce suppliers (like staffing firms) are managed as vendors, in this model OnForce manages the contractors directly, and provides crucial services such as workers’ compensation, general liability, and errors and omissions, as well as risk mitigation for misclassification of independent contractors. In this sense, OnForce acts as a general contractor, but one which can provide different kinds of (highly-flexible, even on-demand) managed contractor workforce service offerings based on its digital platform.

The two managed workforce solution offerings being launched are:

  • Workforce Optimization, a solution is designed for businesses that need to increase operational efficiency and maximize productivity due to a variety of reasons such as the need to sustain existing product lines while new ones are in development. 
  • Workforce Expansion (a solution designed for companies that need to rapidly expand to support a product rollout or new line of business, especially in a new geographic market area.

This is an important development in the shift toward online platform models enabling innovative, flexible, on-demand work-outputs for large enterprises. Online platforms typically have been leveraged to support remote freelancers in virtual work categories like software development. Now we are seeing online platforms deliver ‘boots on the ground’ in offerings that shield businesses from independent contractor compliance and similar risks. These new offerings are unique in that they provide companies with a “managed workforce” service that delivers work outcomes as opposed to workers.