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Freelancer Management in the Communications & Media Sector



Our team took over an existing, VMS-based payrolling program from a large, global provider within the communications and media sector. A key goal was to transform a complex, highly manual onboarding process with unpredictable volumes into an efficient, process-driven solution with minimal reliance on hiring managers and workers. The transformation required the creation of a front office decision process, new independent contractor (IC) classification processes, and restructured onboarding processes to accommodate very short term and unpredictable creative work (e.g., less than 8 hours on short notice).

The Challenge

One Size Does Not Fit All

Approximately 50% of existing headcount qualified as freelancers / ICs performing very short-term creative work on an unpredictable, as-needed basis. These workers required rapid onboarding and payment and were uninterested/unwilling to participate in the typical onboarding procedures associated with most staffing/payrolling programs. Training them was actually taking more time than simply onboarding them. A significant portion of freelancer onboarding was being performed by hiring managers, causing issues with both speed and accuracy (especially during peak volumes). Additionally, the standard payment terms (60+ days) were not conducive to short-term freelancers. The end result of these various challenges was a highly manual, inaccurate, and slow talent acquisition process that was frustrating to both hiring managers and freelancers.


Streamlined and Automated Freelancer and Independent Contractor Hiring Process

Our team reformed the process from the ground up, starting with a new onboarding process tailored to the specific needs of the freelancers. This new process introduced automated workflows that simplified data intake and compliance, significantly streamlining the VMS-based onboarding process. Dedicated onboarding specialists then validated the data and uploaded it into the VMS, thus improving both speed and accuracy while reducing the administrative burden on hiring managers and freelancers. The improved accuracy also enabled Pinnacle to offer full worker classification indemnification to the client.

Our team also recommended removing the need for freelancers to invoice the client directly. This change accelerated payment terms for freelancers from weekly/net 60 to weekly/net 10, while supplier payment terms for the remaining contractors remained unchanged. Importantly, the client now also benefits from consolidated invoicing, which has significantly increased efficiency for all involved parties.


Optimization in the Creative Space

Our solution led to substantial positive impacts on the company's freelancer and independent contractor hiring process. The restructured and automated process enabled the quick processing of all freelancer / IC consultants, allowing for same day starts, quicker payment processing, faster payment terms, and fully indemnified workers. As a result, the client was able to meet their internal staffing goals and requirements for creative talent. Our customized solution improved the hiring manager experience, significantly reducing time spent on administrative activities and thus increasing productivity.

As a result of the program’s first-year effectiveness, there are plans in place to replicate and customize it for additional business units as part of the year 2 strategic roadmap.

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