New research examines the benefits and challenges of this new approach to the workforce.
By Larry Basinait
Today’s workforce continues to evolve and look much different than it did not too long ago. With the onset of remote work, the gig economy, and the demands of the millennial generation, it’s rare to find a company comprised of only a traditional, permanent workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the domestic contingent workforce is a staggering 6 million workers. Organizations are using contingent workers for a number of reasons, but the most essential are to fill needed skill sets, increase flexibility, and save costs. So how do organizations manage these workers?
The research team at HRO Today recently examined practices around how organizations manage their contingent workforce to understand if their approaches align with their full-time employees. Organizations that leverage a total talent management model integrate the full spectrum of workers, from traditional permanent employees to a wide variety of non-employee workers, including temporary workers, independent contractors, and freelancers.
Results from this study show that 58 percent of respondents have taken action to align their talent management practices for all types of workers to a total talent model. The research also found that these organizations are most likely to create a sourcing model for both contingent and direct applicants; implement systems for direct and contingent labor requirements; and consolidate company responsibility for contingent workers under HR.
The study shows that organizations with fewer contingent workers (below 500) are more likely than those with 500 or more to consolidate RPO and MSP providers: 27 percent versus 18 percent, respectively. They are also more likely to implement systems designed to capture relevant metrics around both direct and contingent worker organizational requirements (65 percent versus 47 percent) as well as the use of external consultants (18 percent versus 0 percent).
Despite the advantages organizations can achieve with a total talent solution, there remain obstacles to implementing such a program. By far, the greatest obstacle is a lack of long-term planning that looks at the workforce in a holistic manner. Other barriers to implementation often include resistance from the talent acquisition team, lack of knowledge from senior leadership about program benefits, and disjointed operating processes.
The impact of technology on the use of contingent workers has been significant and covers a broad spectrum of uses. Sourcing workers, providing better visibility, tracking progress on assigned projects, and maintaining better security are the primary benefits that today’s tech platforms provide.
In a total talent solution, full-time employees and contingent workers can be recruited through one platform, giving employers insight into the full spectrum of labor. Companies can then leverage their employer brand to obtain talent and ensure all workers are a match for the position requirements and company culture. Organizations can also leverage internal recruitment resources on both programs for sourcing. This blended workforce model is a more holistic talent management strategy, offering improved workforce flexibility and increased agility.
The goals of this approach include improved workforce productivity and reduced labor costs, according to SIA. But there’s still a long way to go before total talent is fully implemented. Of the respondents that have started the process, 97 percent feel they’ve not completed it, with companies that have a majority contingent workforce most likely to report feeling that they are still far from their goal. The study also found that 45 percent of companies feel they have only somewhat implemented total talent, meaning that most of the task still remains ahead of them. Organizations with the most contingent workers in particular need guidance in accomplishing the goals of a total workforce solution.