How to create a successful, sustainable Contingent Workforce strategy today

The ability to scale up or down a workforce quickly has been seen as key to ensuring a business thrive, especially during times of uncertainty. This is especially true in today’s work environment as we come to terms with the new normal.

How can we ensure that our Contingent Workforce strategy is successful and sustainable? How can procurement leaders contribute to the best possible business outcomes?

I had the opportunity to speak to a few leading companies during a recent roundtable discussion to get some insights into their successful strategies:

1) Make stakeholder needs a central deliverable of your Contingent Workforce strategy.

Chances are high that in your company line managers or team-leads need temporary, or Contingent resources only periodically – and then when the need arises, the resources are needed urgently! 

We have all been there before.

The key is to ensure that the procurement process be as simple as possible and start with the end user in mind. What exactly is the need? What criteria apply to the best choices in resources?  How will we measure success?  

Here are some tips to help you become more successful at managing your stakeholders:

  • Deliver clear and frequent communications, segmented by stakeholder type, to deliver core messages to the right user type (i.e. different messages to line manager approvers and individual users).
  • Consider standardising and automating your core processes with technology solutions (e.g. Hays Talent Solutions, PwC’s Talent Exchange). This will provide you more visibility of your Contingent staff and the Talent that is out there, therefore allowing you to make more intelligent decisions based on actual data.
  • Conduct regular check-ins on progress and institute any changes needed in response to these check-ins. Then communicate again offering additional guidance and support to the changes and explain clearly why these are required.

2) Be the “customer of choice” for partners: you need the right partners and relationships to ensure you secure top Talent quickly.

Relationships with partners involved with your Contingent Workforce solutions should be one of collaboration and respect – and these relationships are built with ongoing investments in time on your part.

As the competition for Talent grows (particularly for professionals with AI and STEM knowledge), so will your competition for these people.

And as talented people begin to become more mobile and more discerning, then the entire offer – your company brand, working environment, contingent worker experience, reward and recognition, become your true differentiators.

Get these elements right will ensure you get the Talent when you need.

Steps to creating good relations with your partners/suppliers:

  • Understand the business drivers
  • Improve the visibility across the relationship; risks, two-way dialogue on business impacts, understand cashflow impacts.
  • Develop business impact scenarios and conduct scenario planning together.
  • Understand what is critical to the supplier’s success and how you can positively impact this.
  • Collaborate to solve problems.
  • Pro-active and helpful support
  • Above all build trust

3) Try to understand the overall business outcomes sought before sourcing a solution.

There are numerous services in the market today that can bring you end to end solutions. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Whether you are implementing variable cost staffing to save time, save resources or utilising this approach as an investment in bringing in new talent from different marketplaces, remember you are investing toward a solution that brings value adding activities to the business delivery.  

So, put the individual stakeholders at the centre of your recruitment process. Walk in their shoes. Invest the time to talk and communicate with them. Do this often and really listen. Be guided by what is important to them and this will move you in the right direction.

4) Reporting on achievements.

Don’t be afraid to be ambitious in establishing milestones that contribute to the business strategy. I suggest reporting that will deliver against near and mid-term milestones.

These are some of the key elements that I would track and include in a report:

  • Indicate historical and projected demands
  • Segment by job type, location, and business
  • Show pricing variations due to demand in a job type via location and industry sector
  • Summarise the effectiveness of any changes made to the process through your use of data. For example, if you had implemented a not-to-exceed rate, you should be able to explain the effect of that implementation and how it has helped you do your job better.
  • Prioritise any actions based on the impacts related to stakeholder needs. For example, if the speed of onboarding Contingent workers is key, be sure to track and show the impact measures that you have put in place to reduce the time to onboard.
  • Provide a “what’s next” that is aligned to data outcomes. For example, you should always give your line manager a heads up on what they need to focus next throughout the cycle time. This helps to set expectations and ensure they set aside adequate time for you.
  • highlight positive communication mediums timeline and impact
  • If aligned to the company culture, you can use the data to create a healthy competition between businesses to particular communication streams linked to response outcomes of direct action.
  • Above all vary the reporting type by business sector and company impact response desired.
  • Recommend simple info graph one pager to create interest, backed by further drill downs as interest grows for the information.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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