Everyone in business seems to be tapping into the power of big data, and the field of workforce management is no different. The availability of billions of data points presents hiring organizations with the potential to optimize the entirety of the human resources function, from attracting potential job candidates to planning their retirement parties and every step in between. The expanding prevalence of contingent workers only widens and deepens data’s status as a central pillar in workforce architecture.
But big data can be too big. With granular data describing every detail of the skills, projects, tasks, processes, finances, quality, and other parameters of work, it is easy to become bogged down in information. How well you gauge which data are meaningful in your organization and how adept you are at harvesting the insights they contain will determine how successful your workforce optimization program will be.
Data selection and benchmarking are the keys to outperforming your competition in the battle to procure the most productive workers at the lowest total cost. Whether you handle contingent workforce management in-house or outsource it to a service provider, here are some benchmarking tools you can use to help you focus on the right data for your company’s KPIs:
- Goal Alignment
Knowing what you want to achieve with your contingent worker management program will show the kinds of data you should be collecting and comparing to previous time periods and industry standards. For instance, if your main goal is to cut hiring and onboarding costs immediately, you will want to collect and analyze data that compares marketing, procurement, and training costs to managed services contracts and bill rates, etc. But if you want to improve the cost effectiveness of your marketing team, you will want to examine the quality, cost, and productivity of freelance writers and graphic artists vis-à-vis hiring in-house production talent.
Aligning business goals with workforce strategy empowers your Human Resources and/or Procurement departments to strengthen the data by using only pertinent sources and make it more relevant by adjusting the metrics and relationships it reveals. With these tasks completed, you can determine the metrics your enterprise’s performance depends on.
- Proactive Process
Contingent workforce management contains a lot of moving parts. In order to ensure your company gains the cost savings and efficiency advantages an agile workforce can deliver, you must ensure all the activities that go into collecting, cleansing, evaluating, and acting on the talent-related data you possess work in harmony. This requires a central seat of authority. Whether you entrust HR, Procurement, or a hybrid team to handle the contractors, freelancers, and consultants you employ, all hiring of non-traditional workers should flow through that department.
This will ensure you capture and format all the data you can generate that is relevant to contingent worker engagement. You will build a robust set of touch-points that you can use to determine the best type of worker for each task, how much they should cost, and the best source of the skills you need. With a single team performing all the relevant tasks or interfacing with your managed services provider (MSP), you can minimize the threat posed by weak communication between departments. The team can benchmark the number, quality, assignments, and cost of each encounter with contingent workers. The office will know which workers are engaged and where, when their contracts expire, and whether there are opportunities to extend star freelancers or offer them similar positions in another area.
- Task-based Taxonomy
Skills, not job titles, are becoming the preferred nomenclature for job seekers and training curriculum developers. It makes sense for your hiring organization to follow suit. By deconstructing jobs and projects, your company can compartmentalize and isolate the tasks your workers use on a recurring basis. Benchmarking each component skill, you can quantify how often and for how long each skill will be needed on each task – coding for app development, for instance, or customer service at a pop-up shop. You can collate tasks that require similar skills across departments in order to spread out the cost of hiring freelance workers. Say HR needs a script for a training video, marketing is planning an email drip campaign, and shipping requires a policy statement regarding damage claims. The contingent workforce management clearinghouse can aggregate these jobs and create a contract or requisition for a writer who possesses skills in all types of writing.
Creating a taxonomy of tasks and the skills required to accomplish them also helps everyone within your organizations understand the relationship among the needs of each department. Advanced benchmarking can compile a shopping list of skills needed for all common work tasks. That will make it easier for hiring managers to request contingent workers and for the central authority to bundle the skills and hire the most cost-effective combination of workers.
- Cost-Factor Adjustments
For most tasks, you should be able to benchmark acceptable hourly or project rates. A few will be more difficult to benchmark, due to their infrequent need, ultra-specialization, rarity in specific geographies, or other factors. But you can arrive at the “right” rate for even new or hard-to-source skills. Build a standard expected cost for each skill, but be prepared to adjust the acceptable cost based on supply, seasonality, urgency of need, etc.
The more data you collect about the costs and circumstances surrounding each hire, the better you can employ machine learning to create adjustable rate cards. Similar to a weather forecast, these algorithms assess the current labor market, the duration of the anticipated contract, the quality you demand, and other conditions of a potential contingent engagement with previous hiring actions under similar conditions to predict the cost of filling the position. These forecasts can be quite accurate when the benchmark is fueled by a large enough database.
- Professional Partnership
Database size and data analysis capabilities form the cornerstones of effective contingent workforce management benchmarks. Engaging an MSP that deals with numerous clients with similar hiring needs places these resources at your disposal. An MSP will be able to aggregate data from comparable businesses and industry sources and use it to enrich your internally collected statistics. Outsourcing your benchmarking tasks also eliminates any unintentional bias that may exist in your processes.
Metasys leverages best-in-class market data collection analytics to create decision matrices custom tailored to your situation. Contact us to discover how our benchmarking services provide the insights needed to streamline your supplier stable, increase candidate diversity, expedite time-to-hire, and improve your contingent talent management workflow.