Deciding What Roles to Make Contingent to Create Competitive Advantage

I read a report written by Accenture recently on “The Rise of the Extended Workforce” and it really reinforced the paradox I see today in how most organisations are not changing the way they think about using the Contingent Workforce despite the current workforce trends.
Don’t get me wrong, we have a large Contingent Workforce in Australia and it is growing, (more than 370,000 Contingent Workers joined the ranks during the past 12 months) but we are still traditional in our thinking around which role could be contingent. Perhaps this quote from the Accenture report will frame why this is about to be a very large problem.

“The relentless pressure to innovate and the pronounced shift to knowledge work mean that today’s world is far less predictable than yesterday’s, and that companies that have developed greater agility can often outperform the competition. Employers’ focus on stable, predictable job roles is giving way to an emphasis on project work, which lends itself to hiring more workers on a project basis. Increasingly, jobs may become replaced by projects. This could give rise to a highly mobile workforce whose members rapidly assemble and reassemble around projects.”

If we are to take this as a fact, then rethinking which roles in your organisation could be contingent may just give you the edge over your competitors. To help you decide how and when you should be diving into the Contingent space, you can use the below Boston Consulting Group growth-share matrix (BCGM) as a guide.
The BCGM was created to assist companies by categorising their business, products and services against one another, and defining their position in the market.

Putting it into action

By placing your products or solutions in the matrix, it can help you understand how many resources you should be dedicating your time with and this would, in turn, allow you to determine your workforce options.

  • Stars – Products or solutions that are the future of the organisation;
  • Cash Cows – Products or solutions that have had their day but are still providing a steady stream of value;
  • Dogs – Products or services that are no longer in demand and are being phased out;
  • Question Marks – Products or solutions that are in R&D and hopefully will turn into stars.

For example, if you have a “Star” rated digital/mobile solution that you are planning to roll out quickly to the market, you might wish to consider bringing in experienced contractors who are subject matter experts in computer engineering to assist with the launch. You may also choose to surround them with permanent staff to help these contingent workers get up to speed with the project and to fast track their learning and development.
If on the other hand, you have an area of the business that is in decline (i.e. the “Dog”) but still needs to provide a continued service for a limited time, you might wish to consider a different tack. In this case, you could transit your best permanent staff on to new roles immediately whilst back filling with contingent resources while the work is still required. This will allow you to retain your high performing employees while ensuring you have a group of contractors in place to keep your current operations going.
[bctt tweet=”The BCGM can help us recognise how and where to allocate your resources says @trevorpvas” username=”ATCevent”]
There are numerous other ways you can structure the composition your organisation’s workforce in order to achieve greater value. The Boston Consulting Group growth-share matrix is one way of helping you recognise how and where to allocate your resources and I’m sure there are many other solutions out there.
Do you know of any? I would love to hear about them. Leave a comment below.

Join Trevor along with other leading Contingent Workforce experts including Alan Wilkerson, Matthew Dickason and Antonia Mochan at the Contingent Workforce Conference 2016. See full agenda and purchase tickets here.
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