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Navigating Workforce Changes

Learn several trends in temporary labor management derived from
a gathering of HR professionals.

By The Editors

There’s no doubt about it: The way people work is changing and how organizations accommodate and manage the diverse needs of talent is evolving too. The wireless, interconnected world is a game-changer at every level, from how people socialize to how employees deliver their work. Technology has certainly opened new doors and contributes to how organizations approach projects and deadlines, and advance the bottom line.

How can companies keep up with this ever-changing world? It’s not easy, and there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer. But technology should be part of the
big picture strategy in how organizations approach and manage talent. “Tools are emerging that allow an enterprise to have an pervasive and direct relationship with workers regardless of their operating status. From that connection the entire continuum of engagement with workers evolves,” says Stephen DeWitt, CEO of technology solutions provider Work Market.

Today, organizations have many layers and resources when it comes to their workforce: full time employees, alumni, retirees, interns, independent contractors, freelancers, on-demand workers, temporary staff, and more. These resources need to be effectively managed through workforce analytics and strategic workforce planning. “Like any form of productive labor, management is critical. From the development and curation of independent worker talent pools, to engagement, to the performance of work, effective management of
independent workers will be table stakes looking ahead,” says DeWitt.

Plus, how employees are choosing to work is rapidly changing. Some workers are opting for flexible work engagements in order to help develop key skills and provide diversity when it comes to their professional experience. With all of these converging variables, HRO Today partnered with Work Market to host a dinner discussion on how to prepare for the future of the workforce. A group of HR leaders from Thomson Reuters, Tourneau, The New School, The Institute for Family Health, CIT, and ITT, among others, conversed on how their organizations approach, manage, and leverage on-demand talent.

Organizations are looking to on-demand workers based on circumstance -whether it be the need for a specialized skill or a project that requires extra hands. Independent contractors can be brought in for transactional work or niche programs -it really depends on the skills and business needs. The culture of the organization drives how contingent workers are sourced. The vetting process of workers varies too, but temporary workers come from HR and procurement alike. Some organizations use firms and others leverage a variety of suppliers.

Technology, like a vendor management system or a human resources information system, helps provide visibility into how workers are sourced and the amount of workers on payroll at any given time. Good data is the right starting point for making future decisions. But trends from the temporary labor pool can be a bit tricky to assess. Members from the group agreed that it can currently take 18 to 25 months to get the right amount of
information to show workforce patterns.

What do organizations need to earn the most return on investment from their contingent workers? HR needs systems in place to maintain and ensure compliance with worker classification laws. There also can be a lot of hidden costs associated with compliance issues. Executives are also seeking tools that track timelines on contingent labor projects and the criteria required for each position.

The group agreed that the workplace is changing: Five generations co-exist among organizations today and all have different needs. HR needs the tools and systems in place to ensure that people-centric decisions are strategic and based on data. Work Market’s DeWitt finds that the reasons that workers from every generation are choosing to be contingent vary but include:
• Work-life balance
• Quality of life
• Flexibility
• Choice
• Passion for their skills

And he says, as people live and work longer, the model is
bound to continue to change.

Tags: November-2015

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