If your New Year’s resolutions include a promise to institute or more effectively manage your contingent workforce, congratulations! You are on your way to a total talent program that can reduce risk, cut labor costs, and position your organization to respond adroitly to market shifts and industry challenges.
As the champagne wears off, however, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task you have committed to undertake. While a total talent management program that optimizes the use of non-employee workers represents a long-term project, the good news is that it can be developed incrementally. There are several small steps and mini processes you can implement that will yield short-term results and set the standard for expanding your program as you go. These easy wins and best practices can foster enthusiasm, executive support, and a willingness among stakeholders to give the project a chance. By building a solid core – whether in spend control, data-driven decisions, employer branding, contingent talent development, or strict oversight and compliance – you will be in position to respond to talent needs and scale your labor force as your firm’s needs evolve.
Metasys offers these guidelines and suggestions for taking the first steps in your journey to a total talent solution:
- Assemble Your Internal Team
Choose a manager or department that is amenable to exploring better ways for engaging talent. Pick an area that uses a variety of talent and works on projects that require diverse skills that can be broken into distinct tasks. This will ensure buy-in and eliminate the foot-dragging that can accompany change. Solicit feedback and be willing to adjust management styles, oversight, and workflow to alleviate bottlenecks and foster compliance. With this pilot program as an example, additional departments will become interested in joining, creating synergies and economies of scale.
- Know the Rules
Horror stories abound of companies being assessed six- and seven-figure fines for mis-classifying workers as contractors but treating them as employees. Understand tax and labor regulations that define contingent workers:
How they get the job done – Freelancers and independent contractors decide for themselves when they work, where they work, and the methods they use to perform the contracted job.
How they get paid – Contract workers typically receive a fee for delivering a specific work product (writing a quarterly report, for instance) or solving a problem (such as repairing a digital network). They are allowed to perform these services for more than one business at a time. Temporary workers are paid by an agency that charges its clients a mark-up fee for handling payroll, insurance, taxes, and other “back office” functions.
- Scout the Players
Understanding the way vendors supply contingent workers will help you determine the types of talent that will work best for each task you need completed. Learn about freelance marketplaces, statement-of-work providers, independent contractors and temporary workers. There are subtleties in how these skilled workers are procured, the motivations they respond to, and the jobs they are best suited for. Knowing the ins and outs of each worker type will make you an informed shopper when you need to fill short-term skills, leadership, and implementation gaps in your workforce. When you clearly defining what each worker type’s strengths, you can more quickly decide which to hire for specific tasks.
- Devise a Game Plan
Because contingent workers’ skills are specialized, they can be used for small portions of a great many projects. While that specialization is the greatest strength of a contingent workforce, it also requires additional planning and management on your part. The mission-critical projects your company undertakes will require a range of talents. To ensure each team comprises the talents and abilities it needs – and to introduce a measure of security to sensitive jobs – you will need to break initiatives into smaller tasks. These then can be assigned to wage employees, freelancers, or contractors depending on which makes the most fiscal and tactical sense. Role-based employment is quickly being replaced by task-based blends of in-house and external talent.
- Hit the Recruiting Trail
Even with an MSP in your corner, you need to take a proactive approach to finding and securing current and future talent. As Baby Boomers retire and younger generations opt for the freedom contingent labor offers, full-time employees will not provide sufficient talent diversity, quality, or quantity. You will have to help your MSP locate and attract the outside workers required to keep your firm competitive.
You may have to turn over a few stones to locate hidden sources of the skills you need to fill your talent pool with likely, apt candidates. Start by enticing people who are not actively looking for contract work. These may be retirees, current full-time workers, soon-to-be college graduates, or stay-at-home parents. Attract these passive candidates with simple application processes, social engagement, and personalized messaging.
- Call in the Experts
Engaging a managed service provider will give you access to a range of suppliers, from large, comprehensive agencies to boutiques specializing specific skills, industries, or diverse worker pools. An MSP serves as a clearinghouse for attracting, hiring, using, and paying contingent workers. It also brings experience in forecasting talent needs and mitigating risks. MSPs minimize your exposure to mis-classification and other regulatory missteps. And they can tap into the data they have accumulated from helping other companies to design a total talent management program that fits your business today and into the future.
- Be a Cheerleader
Do not be afraid to tout the benefits your company can offer contingent workers. Strive to position your firm as an employer of choice among contractors and freelancers. Making your assignments, compensation, and work environment attractive to candidates can make the difference between their working on your projects and providing their services to your competitor. Build your employer cred by staying active in the community and on social media. Earn and publicize your reputation as a workplace that values the input of contingent workers and contributors from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Establish your company as one that embraces technology and offers a variety of assignments that contingent workers will find challenging, fun, and that will augment their skills, leading to greater expertise and more opportunities.
Workforce management and talent risk mitigation are becoming more and more complex. Metasys helps companies seeking comprehensive services for finding and vetting labor suppliers, handling payment and compliance, and collating actionable contingent workforce data.
Talent management is what we do, allowing you to focus on what you do. With intimate knowledge of labor markets, regulations, and government oversight, Metasys applies our insights and sophisticated software platforms to create customized solutions for your needs, today and in the future.
Metasys can ensure your organization remains nimble enough to respond to labor needs and market conditions, making strategic use of contingent talent to implement projects swiftly and ensure your unfettered access to scarce skills you need to thrive.
Contact Metasys today to discuss how we can tailor a total workforce solution that saves you money and maintains productivity.