Expert Insights

Allen Larson
President & Chief Talent Officer,


To deeply understand the current freelance economy, we must understand the origins of innovation first introduced by the staffing industry. Robert Half is one of the staffing industries leading firms that used technology early to revolutionize how they hired internally. This is where Allen comes in. He is a former Director at Robert Half and has extensive experience both in Staffing firms and client side.

Key Learnings that I had from the staffing side:

  • Robert Half focused on contingent talent, since contingent talent creates high margin, residual income rather than a block commission for each new permanent hire. 
  • Contingent talent was typically full time, with 6 week to 6 month contracts.
  • Robert Half and other staffing firms both recruit and manage, unlike freelance marketplaces that typically put the recruiting and managing responsibilities on the hiring manager. 


This foundation naturally leads to the discussion on freelance, specifically how technology has unlocked the business case for a direct sourced freelance workforce rather than traditional contingent talent channels. This approach along with freelance management systems, rather than applicant tracking systems (which ATS’s aren’t wrong, they just don’t serve the increasing freelance workforce), can achieve cost savings that turn a cost center into a profit generating center.

Key learnings for you here:

  • Direct Freelance sourcing drives at least 24% cost savings, amounting to an average margin of $24/hr with each hire.
  • A managed freelance workforce can be used to increase company valuation. 
  • Automation in new technology can slash onboarding times that further reduce manual administrative hours and costs.


We’ll close this episode out by diving into the technical side of what’s wrong with the current contingent talent landscape, which one word can describe it all…complexity. Specifically, there are up to 5 stakeholders traditionally required for one freelance hire…the staffing firm, the MSP, the client, the compliance/EOR provider, and most important, the talent. Direct sourcing and the right FMS can cut that ratio to 1:1.

Human Cloud clients find a visual of this in your portal. 

Enjoy everyone! 

Our Favorite Quotes

Allen’s extensive experience and unique insights allows him to innovate traditional staffing

  • The name of my company is Civilized Rebellion for a reason. I’ve always been known as a disruptive thinker since I was a little kid. But it’s the idea that I’m looking at the problem from fresh eyes. But I’m also seeing it from every perspective, I have been a staffing industry person. VMS were our enemy, to go through VMS means it strips away my ability to create a relationship with a hiring manager to allow me to really hear their problems. Because a job description is only a description. And so often, what’s coming through VMS is a job description for somebody that was in that full time job,  as opposed to what work actually is, which is segmentized projects with specialties or end goals or deliverables that are required to achieve the goal of that project.”


Contingent work teams do NOT need to be a cost center 

  •  The way that I’ve been able to package it to some of the clients that I’ve worked with, and the companies I’ve consulted with, is that the FMS is not a cost center. Your freelance team, your contingent work team is not a cost center. If this is done properly in the way that I’ve been able to deal with every organization I walk into, it becomes a department that recaptures lost revenue. And in every instance, whatever you build, the cost will return two to three times in revenue savings in recaptured revenue in savings, that all feeds the profitability bottom line.”

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