The "Teams" Initiative (May 2008)
Michael L. 543 posts - United States
Please note this an old thread - not a new announcement.
Big Changes at oDesk: “Teams” v1 is Released!
When you click on "My oDesk" you will notice some major changes. Some are cosmetic, but along with the UI nav changes comes some significant new functionality that represents the first phase of an initiative we call "Teams".
The goal of "Teams" is to help oDesk users build and manage teams of providers, colleagues and collaborators on oDesk. We have seen some of our most successful providers create and grow their own Companies on oDesk. We have seen buyers leverage oDesk to a whole new way of working with remote resources. And we have seen some users, often IT services companies themselves, work both as a Buyer and a Provider on oDesk. These "oDesk entrepreneurs" are the lifeblood of the oDesk ecosystem - we want to empower a new kind of remote team, one where place doesn’t matter – you’re either in the office or you’re remote, and oDesk levels the playing field. The changes you see here are the first steps in this direction.
First, some minor stuff:
Some names and roles have changed
- “Affiliates” are now called Provider Companies. After much input from both buyers and affiliate managers, we have decided to phase out the word “Affiliate”. You run a company, not an “affiliate”. A company is now a company, regardless of the role it plays in an assignment – for clarification, we will refer to “affiliates” as Provider Companies and buyers as Buyer Companies when context requires.
- "Affiliate Contractors” are now called Affiliated Contractors. It’s a relatively small change (even the acronym AC still works!), but it is more accurate. oDesk providers may affiliate themselves with a Provider Company. Right now, all such relationships are exclusive (you can only be an AC in one company) but we will be enabling non-exclusive AC relationships as well.
- Buyers are now often referred to as Hiring Managers. Each Buyer Company can have multiple people who serve different functions. As the creator of the team, you are the "owner" of the team, and also automatically a Team Admin. As a Buyer, you are also a “Hiring Manager” for the Company. You can invite others as Hiring Managers or Recruiters (see below), or to manage the finances of the company.
- A Company is NOT a Team. You will notice that we no longer use the words “Company” and “Team” interchangeably. On oDesk, a Company is profile. A Company always contains at least one Team, but may have more. You create a Company as a Buyer, and then you may want to create more Teams where different providers work on different projects. Or your may create Provider Company to have Affiliated Contractors work on your behalf. Create a New Team is now self-service; please see this help article.
The tab structure has changed
There are some significant but we hope straightforward changes to the nav:
- “Buyer Console” is now "Hire". Hiring Managers and Recruiters (see below) see the “Hire” tab, which includes links to Post a Job, manage current openings and candidates. The Work Activity tab is now here as well. If you are a Hiring Manager or Recruiter in more than one Team, you will see a Team Selector:
The Team Selector concept is used throughout the application, whenever you have more than one team (the team selector is already in place for providers with assignments for multiple buyers).
- “Provider Console” is now “Get Hired”. Any user who has activated their provider profile will see the “Get Hired” tab. In addition, if you are a Staffing Manager (formerly “Affiliate Manager”) in a Provider Company you will see a dropdown Team Selector. For yourself, you will see your candidacies, assignments, and timelogs. For your Provider Company, you will see your Company timelog, although soon you will also be able to see all of the candidacies and assignments for your ACs.
- “Team and Tools” is now called “Work with your team”. This tab is for collaborating with your team on your project. Note: Provider Company managers now see a Team Room for their own Company – you can add your ACs to the Team Room if you want to, although the new Team Admin tab is a better place to manage your roster.
- “Profile & Settings” and “My Stuff” now contain various account resources. For instance, “My Referrals” and “My Favorite Providers” are under “My Stuff”, while “User Info” and “My Provider Profile” are under “Profile & Settings”.
Next, some big stuff. At least we think it’s big!
For current buyers and affiliate managers: you can now manage your Company roster with the “Team Admin” tab.
The new “Team Admin” tab gives you visibility into everyone in your team, and lets you manage what permissions each team member has. This means that Provider Companies can now have multiple Staffing Managers (formerly “Affiliate Managers”). We have heard from many of you that you want to enable more than one company manager to look for jobs and submit candidacies for your ACs. Now you can!
You can now separate your Finance person from your Staffing Managers or Hiring Managers.
We have also gotten this request from many of our larger affiliates. The “Finance” permission provides access to the Billing & Payment tab, which is separate from the Staffing Manager, who can submit candidacies for your ACs.
For Buyers, this means primarily that you can manage who has hiring and financial privileges in your team:
- You can empower more than one Hiring Manager, with full hiring and firing privileges. Hiring Managers can post jobs, manage candidates, hire, fire, raise rates and give bonuses.
- We have introduced a new role called a Recruiter. A Recruiter can post jobs and manage candidates, but cannot actually pull the trigger on any financial transaction. Why would you want this? You can ask your oDesk Providers to find candidates for you without giving up control over what you spend. The "Recruiter" privilege can be found under "Buyer Privileges" in Team Admin.
- In addition, you can give your (local or remote) company managers Admin and Finance privileges, enabling them to manage your roster and/or your payment methods and account balance.
Learn more about the new permissions available on the Team Admin tab.
Affiliate Managers (now Provider Company managers) can now be buyers as well.
As an Affiliate Manager, you already have a Company. Now you can act as a Buyer as well. Just go the Hire tab and become a Hiring Manager for your Company. Once you do, you will be able to post jobs and hire oDesk providers. Note: you must have a valid credit card on file to hire on oDesk. If your oDesk Account has enough funds (from your Provider Company earnings) to cover your balance, then we will never charge the card. But if your balance dips below zero we will charge your card to cover the balance due.
Buyers, e.g. IT Services firms, can now sell their services as well.
Many of oDesk’s largest teams are IT services companies who subcontract local work to oDesk providers. Now, these companies can become oDesk Provider Companies as well, and subcontract oDesk providers to other oDesk buyers (and take a markup).
Phase One is admittedly a bit limited: you can invite oDesk ICs to become Affiliated Contractors (ACs) with your company. The relationship is exclusive (meaning he/she cannot be Affiliated with any other team, and all money they earn goes to you (and you have to pay them outside the system). But we are working to greatly extend this, so that you can invite any oDesk provider to work for you on a project-by-project basis, and split the earnings between you and your provider within the system (so you don’t have to worry about payment).
To become a Provider Company, go to My Provider Profile (under Profile & Settings) and become a Staffing Manager in your company. You can then invite oDesk providers (or invite colleagues to join oDesk) as your Affiliated Contractor.
What about Freelance Providers?
Unfortunately, most of these features do not yet apply to ICs. However, soon we will be enabling you to create your own company, completely self-service, to either Hire or become a Provider Company on oDesk. In addition, you can
take advantage of the new "Recruiter" permission to see if your Buyer might want you to help hire additional providers to join the team. We haven't forgotten about your, freelancers, we're just not all the way there yet!
We want to make this even better - please send us your feedback!
Ultimately, all of these changes are designed for you - to help you build your team, and to help you make more money. Please send us as much feedback as you can - we want to hear from you!
Director of Product
Score: 10.0, Votes: 6