Organizations’ first experiences with the contingent workforce often come incrementally. They hire some seasonal sales reps or inventory help. A few months later they work with a graphics consultant on an event logo. Then the next year maybe they contract with a freelance writer for a drip marketing campaign. Before they know it, what started as a few isolated transactions undertaken to capitalize on a special opportunity or overcome an unfamiliar challenge evolves into a major component of the firms’ go-to-market approach.
In these cases, events evolve so fast that the firms sometimes find themselves behind the curve when it comes to planning, hiring, managing, and evaluating non-traditional workers even as they depend more and more time and money on this valuable resource. They do not take the time or devote the resources required to systematize their contingent workforce engagement workflow, and as a result, they miss out on many of the greatest advantages agile workers deliver.
If this sounds familiar, it is probably time to step back and build the framework that will undergird your workforce strategy and processes. This will require integration among all your company’s stakeholders. Success depends on all stakeholders aligning their goals and adhering to procedures that govern your entire workforce program. Each department involved in identifying, sourcing, contracting, working with, evaluating, and paying freelancers and statement of work contractors plays a key, interconnected role. All must contribute in order for the contingent workforce program to access valuable skills, cut payroll costs, and ensure efficient, regulation-compliant program implementation.
Contingent workforce management stakeholders obviously include Human Resources, Procurement, Finance, and any department that uses external labor. But the task also includes not-so-obvious participants such as Marketing. Identify stakeholders early, and build a leadership team that will offer direction as the plan evolves and needs change. The management team will determine how the company can best benefit from each type of worker, which classifications work best in particular departments and tasks, etc.
Identify and Educate Stakeholders
Stakeholders will be more willing to accept their responsibilities when they are educated on how the initiative will profit the company, its finances, and its competitive positioning. Buy-in from departmental leaders and the C-suite ensures messaging is received by those who enforce policy as well as those responsible for carrying it out. This, in turn, ensures consistent application of work rules throughout the non-traditional talent engagement process.
With education comes a more enlightened input on what the contingent workforce management program should be aiming to achieve. Each department can then not only evaluate its internal policies but also its nexuses with other stakeholders. They will uncover inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and service gaps that limit the benefits that can be derived from optimal use of external workers. As stakeholders adapt processes and alter workflow to conform to overall goals, they also break down resistance to change.
Consider Stakeholder Needs
Stakeholder engagement is not a one-way street. Successful implementation of a workforce management system must accommodate stakeholders, not just make demands of them. Engagement should help stakeholders define and articulate what resources they need to make the program a success. They also should be encouraged to express their desires for the operation. Fulfilling their needs – so long as they do not conflict with the overall mission – will both make stakeholders more willing to sacrifice in other areas and lead to greater efficiencies throughout the workflow.
Each stakeholder brings unique skillsets to talent acquisition and usage. Here’s how to engage the other major contributors and what can be expected of them.
- Executive Team – Workers can smell when upper management is not fully committed to an initiative. The executive team must first be convinced that a comprehensive talent management process will make the company more competitive. Then they must take an active leadership role, communicating the benefits the program will generate and the expectations that the entire enterprise will support, participate in, and conform to internal rules for employing outside workers.
- Human Resources and Procurement – We have already posted a full discussion of how to align the goals of these two primary drivers of contingent worker utilization. Successful engagement of HR and Procurement hinges on recognizing each department’s inherent strengths. Procurement brings a cost-saving sensibility aimed at bringing as much spend under management as possible. The department’s strengths lie in contract negotiation and administration and project and cost center management. HR, of course, specializes in assessing the firm’s talent reserves and deficiencies and filling the gaps with the best candidates. It can develop a proprietary pool of freelancers, talent suppliers, vendors and outsourced support professionals. HR and Procurement are opposite sides of the same coin. Combining their perspectives enables firms to triangulate their focus and achieve a full talent management program that involves contingent as well as full-time workers slotted into roles where they can flourish.
- Finance – Already conversant with tax and other fiscal regulations, the Finance department can be a source of valuable insights regarding complying with worker classification requirements. The CFO and their team should be consulted when setting up checkpoints and safeguards to ensure contingent workers are paid correctly and are not subjected to attendance, supervision, job descriptions, and other requirements that blur the line between consulting and full-time work. More obviously, Finance is the go-to department for controlling the monetary risks associated with using outside workers. Finance also can help determine which data points will be useful to collect in order to forecast labor requirements and analyze ROI.
- Marketing – What Finance does for revenue and cost data, Marketing can do for recruitment insights. The department can use in-house statistics on worker characteristics, augmented with MSP-supplied third-party data to create talent personas. These personas and lookalike segments will serve as prime hunting ground for bringing in the types of workers the company finds most effective for specific tasks. Target markets will inform messages, media, and timing of outreach efforts as the company looks to expand its reach and diversity.
Metasys can help you get in touch with all your stakeholders’ needs and competencies. Through comprehensive question-and-answer sessions we can align each department with the company’s overall talent management goals. From there, we can design and streamline your engagement workflow throughout the entire process. Whether you are just beginning to realize the full advantages of a strong contingent workforce plan or you need to quickly scale your processes to capitalize on new opportunities, Metasys will incorporate the appropriate platforms, identify labor sources, and ensure strict tracking and compliance.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of how contingent workforce management impacts each department within your company and for help implementing an advanced program, contact the experts at Metasys.