11 days
to post a job, then hire, classify, and onboard selected talent with a trusted, third-party employer of record
Nearly doubled
the support hours for a project by engaging independent talent
One employee
hired through Upwork’s contract-to-hire feature
“If we didn’t have Upwork, our contingent workforce would be less organized, the quality of talent wouldn’t be as easy to measure, and we wouldn’t have the incredible support we get from the Upwork team.”
Jessica Khawaja
VP of People Operations, PerfectServe

PerfectServe runs a lean team, but with a product that clinicians use to coordinate patient care, the company is committed to high performance. PerfectServe’s suite of cloud-based applications includes tools that healthcare organizations deploy at scale to enable better care team communication, more balanced provider schedules, and more engaging experiences for patients.

“There’s a level of pride and purpose working here, knowing how critical these systems are,” said Jessica Khawaja, VP of people operations.

PerfectServe’s products leverage rules engines, machine learning, combinatorial optimization, and other technological advances while protecting patient information, prioritizing service reliability, and supporting their customers. To get the talent the organization needs, Jessica has built flexibility into PerfectServe’s talent strategy. Considering more options creates more opportunities to ask:

  • What skills or expertise are needed?
  • Why is there a need?
  • Does the need require a full-time employee?
  • If a full-time position isn’t the answer, how can we still find wins?

“Having different levers to pull when it comes to talent access—such as full-time employees, independent professionals, agencies, and other partners—is just a smart way to do business,” Jessica said. “With a lever like Upwork’s Enterprise Suite, we have the ability to flex up or down as necessary.”

Better ways of working help budgets extend further

Operational budgets are a dynamic balance between wants and needs. But occasionally, wish list items evolve into must-haves—and PerfectServe found itself in an unexpected situation. “Over successive years, a client educator position never made the cut during the budgeting process,” Jessica explained. “We needed someone to support the work, just not in a full-time capacity.”

PerfectServe’s products are constantly evolving, which means the company’s learning resources need to be updated on a semi-regular basis to stay current. This was a challenge without a full-time role. “We needed to do something and find a solution quickly,” Jessica continued. “We’re too lean to grab someone internally to do the work.”

Jessica was able to pull together a budget for an estimated nine weeks of support—a tight timeline for a project focused on such an expansive product suite. Turning to the global pool of talent on Upwork, she found an instructional designer in Ukraine. “We can have them for 16 weeks instead of nine,” Jessica said. “We nearly doubled our available project support time by working with independent talent.”

But Jessica doesn’t just use Upwork to help other teams flex their capacity. She also turned to Upwork when her own team unexpectedly dropped from a team of three to a team of one.

Talent access that’s calibrated to PerfectServe’s requirements

With the acquisition team unexpectedly down on personnel, Jessica turned to Upwork to find someone with the experience to step in and provide short-term relief. “We need two people recruiting at all times to keep up with the pace of work,” Jessica said.

When Upwork’s talent services team reached out to Kristen Ganguly, a senior talent acquisition and HR professional, she quickly submitted a proposal for a project that closely aligned with her expertise.

“I knew I could fill a lot of the gaps,” Kristen said. “I have a strong background in management and high-level recruitment, as well as in-depth knowledge of the applicant tracking system PerfectServe had recently adopted.”

PerfectServe agreed and Kristen was quickly brought onboard. It took just 11 days to move Kristen from the initial job post through the onboarding process—and she was ready to dive in. “They were open to my ideas and I was able to make an impact very quickly with the tools I already had in my tool belt,” she said.

Kristen had recently started her own business as an independent professional, but after being evaluated by Upwork’s classification compliance team, she was ultimately engaged through the Upwork Payroll solution as an employee of a trusted, third-party employer of record. This move gave Kristen and her family access to health care benefits while protecting PerfectServe from misclassification risk.

“All of our workers go through Upwork’s classification assessment. The risk of misclassification is too much to take on for a small internal team.”
— Jessica Khawaja, VP of People Operations

Worker classification is the process of determining whether a worker you’ve engaged to provide services should be classified as an employee or independent contractor (IC). "Compared to handling it internally, outsourcing worker classification to Upwork saves us a few hours per freelancer,” said Jessica. “More important than that is our confidence in each determination. Given our risk tolerance, it's invaluable for us to use Upwork Classification Compliance."

As Kristen brought relief to the talent acquisition team, Jessica made several unsuccessful attempts to fill the vacant positions on her team. “I was going back to the drawing board to start recruiting, and I kept thinking, ‘Why am I doing this when Kristen is so awesome?’ The reality is that I wouldn’t have been able to hire a recruiter at Kristen’s level if it hadn’t been a short-term position. I didn’t have the budget to hire her as a full-time employee.”

Then, circumstances shifted again when the remaining member of the acquisition team took a different internal position. Moving Kristen from contract to a full-time position was a simple process with Upwork’s contract-to-hire agreement. “It was just a button,” Jessica said. “It was the easiest thing ever to actually make it happen.”

For Kristen, joining PerfectServe as a full-time employee was an easy choice. “Starting through the Upwork Payroll solution gave me an opportunity to ‘try before I buy,’ if you will,” she said. “I really enjoyed the company and the people I worked with. I could see what the organization was about and what my long-term potential might look like. These things really intrigued me.”

Exciting shifts for the talent acquisition team

Kristen now leads the talent acquisition function, working closely with Jessica while taking responsibility for her own team. “I started with a team of one with an understanding that we would always have a team of two: me and a consultant from Upwork,” Kristen said.

Even knowing her own experience, however, Kristen was cautious. “With a targeted budget, I expected a junior professional or someone who would provide support on the administrative side,” she said.

Instead, the talent services team introduced her to Arturo Felipe, a talent acquisition specialist with 10 years of recruiting experience in the Philippines. Recently relocated to the U.S., he wanted to expand his experience with U.S.-based companies. PerfectServe was a perfect fit.

“I was very impressed with the independent professionals on the short list we got from talent services, especially with our budget requirements,” Kristen said. “Arturo was an incredible find. Without his support, my work output would probably be cut in half.”

Kristen went on vacation recently and is excited that she was able to truly disconnect. “Knowing there was someone to take care of things was invaluable to me,” she said. “And now I can look at my workload and consider, what makes sense for me to do? What can I delegate? How can I get out of the day-to-day weeds and focus on the bigger picture?”

Enterprise Suite is changing the game for PerfectServe

Upwork makes it easy for PerfectServe to find the best remote talent and scale their team. “First of all, Upwork keeps everything in one place and we have an agreed-upon cost—nothing is a surprise,” Jessica said. “But it’s beyond just the platform and the talent we’ve connected with. The support we get is incredible.”

Where managers prefer to do things themselves, Jessica appreciates that they can access the Upwork site to look at portfolios and talent themselves. But the amount of work required by the internal team is almost zero. “With Enterprise Suite, we get access to the top 1% of talent on Upwork and short lists within two or three days. Upwork makes talent access easy.”

Let’s talk! Learn more about Enterprise Suite and why 30% of the Fortune 500 choose Upwork.

Upwork enables clients to engage with talent as independent contractors or through the Upwork Payroll solution, where a third-party employer of record employs the talent for purposes of the client's project.

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