It wasn’t that long ago that the role of a contingent workforce manager was well, nonexistent. That’s because the use of contingent labor, like temporary workers and independent contractors was not as prevalent as it is today. As the demand for contingent or flexible labor increases, many organizations find themselves at a cross roads: is there a way to better manage non-employees?
The Evolution of Contingent Workers
I recently stumbled across an interesting article by Staffing Industry Analyst (SIA), a leading global advisor on contingent labor. It pointed out, that like the Internet the title of contingent manager simply didn’t exist at a point in time. The functions surrounding flexible workforce management were typically added on to the responsibilities of an individual within the organization.
However, as time went on, companies began to evolve with the global economy, technology and societal changes. As such, the need to source, hire, fire, pay, classify, track, report and purchase hundreds if not thousands of contingent workers began to increase (quickly). It was no longer an option to treat this function as a side project. As a result, an entire industry was born and dedicated to flexible workforce; particularly in certain industries where contingent workers are more prevalent than in others.
the Need for Contingent
Managing a flexible, non-employee workforce takes time and resources. As the number of contingent workers continues to multiply, so does the need to streamline the processes to effectively manage millions if not billions of dollars’ worth of labor spend.
As we look at future workforce trends, contingent labor is becoming more of the norm than it is the anomaly. Organizations are finding themselves in a transitional period; should we self-manage or outsource this function?
To start, you must decide who will manage the overall program. Typically a function of HR or Procurement, some companies are taking greater control of their staffing expenditures by outsourcing this function to expert Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
Now is the Time To Better Manage Flexible Non-Employee Workers
As the SlideShare above illustrates, a flexible workforce can by a variety of non-employee types. Workers not directly employed by your company may be paid hourly, daily or even by project or deliverable. Without the proper systems in place, having clear visibility into your non-employee workforce population can not only be challenging but detrimental to your company.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
It's not uncommon for organizations to lose track of expanding and contracting non-employee programs. Some of the most common reasons this occurs includes:
- They are part of a project cost and not counted as headcount
- When they start on an assignment is not accurately known or accounted for
- There are no controls in place to monitor overtime or changes to project assignment or hours
- A centralized monitoring system is active or exists to monitor all activity
As your team evolves with your program, you might begin to gain control of staffing procedures, but lose sight of how to leverage these types of workers. This often happens when program managers change hands, the program evolves (sometimes quickly and without warning) or you don't have ample resources.
When managing this population you want to ensure that you are accomplishing the following:
- Reaping greater cost savings
- Increasing your access to talent
- Are able to quickly scale your workforce needs
- Gaining insights, data and metrics into your workforce
The Road Ahead
While some companies are apprehensive, others understand that to be more operational efficient they need to lean on an expert. Companies are increasingly turning to outside Managed Service Providers (MSP) according to a 2015 Staffing Industry Analyst report on the VMS & MSP competitive landscape. In fact, MSP global spend rose 17% in 2014 compared to figures in 2013. In the U.S. alone, the dollars spent on outsourced staffing services to manage contingent labor rose 7% to reach a total of $43.4 billion in spend.
Whether your organization decides to self-manage the program or outsource, it important to stay connected to information and education. We've provided several resources, including educational eBooks and additional blogs in the SlideShare above. If there is a site you frequent for information on this subject, or even if you have a question about contingent workers, let us know in the comments section!