Todayâs contingent workforce management programs face theÂ challenge of delivering on cost, visibility, compliance, and quality.
By Christopher Dwyer
As the non-employee workforce continues to grow,Â more enterprises are finding incredible value by utilizingÂ freelancers, independent contractors, temporary workers,Â and professional services. Ardent Partnersâ latest StateÂ of Contingent Workforce Management research studyÂ has discovered that 40 percent of an average companyâsÂ total workforce is considered non-employee. With thisÂ growth comes the added responsibility to develop andÂ implement stronger contingent workforce managementÂ (CWM) programs that can effectively handle a variety ofÂ performance and efficiency demands.
CWM programs have consistently balanced multipleÂ priorities over the years, including decreasing costsÂ while increasing visibility, quality, and compliance. TheÂ balancing act continues in 2018, although the focal areasÂ have shifted considerably in only a year. After nearlyÂ a decade of cost savings being the top priority, bothÂ visibility and compliance have come out on top in recentÂ State of Contingent Workforce Management researchÂ studies. Todayâs CWM programs have four main areas forÂ organizational improvement and continued growth:
- Sixty-three percent of businesses plan to enhance overallÂ talent engagement strategies. Talent engagement isÂ a core area of development for any modern businessÂ because talent is a prime competitive differentiator.Â Todayâs talent engagement strategies must accountÂ for developments in online staffing via online talentÂ platforms, changes in generational workforce culture,Â and the general desire to become a more agileÂ enterprise.
- Sixty percent of organizations expect to improveÂ statement-of-work (SOW) and services procurement andÂ management. SOW and services, referred to as âcomplexÂ contingent laborâ by Ardent Partners, often representsÂ the largest slice of a companyâs total contingentÂ workforce pool, including both by head count and byÂ dollars. Legal services, financial services, consultants,Â and other types of contracted services generate a greatÂ deal of spend, and to effectively gain visibility andÂ better manage the projects associated with such services,Â organizations are implementing tech platforms like aÂ vendor management system (VMS) or workingÂ with outsourced managed service programÂ (MSP) providers.
- Fifty-six percent ofÂ organizations are lookingÂ to better harness businessÂ data and intelligence.Â Business intelligenceÂ and big data haveÂ contributed to the dataÂ renaissance of recentÂ years. In the world ofÂ talent and workforceÂ management,Â total talent data isÂ incredibly valuableÂ to help organizationsÂ execute better-educated,Â talent-basedÂ decisions when newÂ projects or initiatives arise. InÂ fact, the very concept of totalÂ workforce management hingesÂ on the ability to gain total talentÂ visibility. By harnessing data from variousÂ systems, including VMSs, applicant tracking systems,Â eProcurement, and human resources managementÂ systems, todayâs organizations will be well-positionedÂ to thrive in the new world of work by tapping intoÂ on-demand talent that fits the exact requirements ofÂ business projects and initiatives.
- Fifty-three percent of enterprises are planning toÂ leverage more innovative technology. Innovation isÂ at hand in nearly every facet of modern business.Â However, it may be the new world of work thatÂ benefits the most from the hottest innovations atÂ hand. Artificial intelligence is actively mimickingÂ human thinking, helping to push chatbots into theÂ realm of everyday operational use, and transformingÂ enterprises into seamless, holistic machines. MachineÂ learning is enhancing the depth and power of data-ledÂ insights across a vast repository of systems within theÂ contemporary enterprise, providing real-time insights andÂ on-demand intelligence. It is also providing the necessaryÂ data to predict talent shortfalls, develop future scenarios,Â and help business leaders understand the true depth ofÂ their talent pools. And next-gen technologies, such asÂ augmented reality, can have tremendous valueÂ by helping remote employees enhanceÂ collaboration with coworkers atÂ business headquarters, or evenÂ helping recruiters and hiringÂ managers give prospectiveÂ candidates a taste of theÂ workplace cultureânotÂ to mention assistingÂ with onboarding andÂ training.
The non-employeeÂ workforce of 2018 isÂ not merely a supportingÂ strategy to fulfill aÂ specific demand; todayâsÂ contingent workforce isÂ truly a value-add, criticalÂ piece of overall enterpriseÂ operations. Many freelancers andÂ independent contractors have the abilityÂ to deliver insights possessed by very few othersÂ since many have deep skill sets in a specialized field, whileÂ professional services are often an unheralded measureÂ for recurring projects and needs across the organization.Â Combined with traditional temporary workers staffed viaÂ agencies and vendors, which also includes high-volumeÂ staffing, and the rise of robotics, todayâs organizationsÂ have a non-employee workforce that is just as talentedÂ and crucial as the traditional full-time employees thatÂ roam the office hallways.
Christopher J. Dwyer is vice president of research for Ardent Partners.