So you wanna be a… Contingent Workforce Manager

Looking for a TA career change but not too sure how to get there? Our ‘So you wanna be a…‘ series takes a look at some of the more niche TA roles and digs deep into the who, how, and why behind them. We chat with some of your favourite TA leaders in that space to find out how they got started, what their role really looks like, and what tips and tricks they have for other TA superstars looking to get a foot in the door.

In this issue, we sat down with Savannah Lee-Hong, Client Manager @ Hays, to find out what really goes on in the life of a Contingent Workforce Manager.

First things first, what does it mean to be a contingent workforce manager?  

As a contingent workforce manager, you operate like a CEO of your own business. Only, as you work to deliver your strategy you represent and deliver this utilising/engaging a non-permanent workforce.  You wear multiple hats for various stakeholders, knowing that each one has a different lens, level of influence and control. You consult, you execute, you engage, you mobilise, you have difficult conversations and are faced with competing priorities. You have a deep understanding of the business units you work with and do what you can to service them at the highest level. What I’ve learnt over the past 12 months is that leading with empathy allows you to set the tone of the relationship with your team, clients and stakeholders.

How does what you do differ from a standard TA role? Are there different skills or insights you need to bring to your role? 

My role is a step away from recruitment & more focused on a holistic approach to talent solutions. Although talent sourcing is still a considerable focus, my team is also responsible for value-add initiatives, not only for our client but also for our suppliers (agencies who source our talent) and our candidates/contingent staff. My role in particular has a large HR and ED&I lens, with a focus on candidate experience, reward & recognition, learning & development, analytics and internal upskilling and re-deployment.

What do you love most about your job?

Every day is completely different and I get to partner with some exceptional people. I have learnt more in my last 12 months with Hays then I have in my entire career – and that is all down to the teams I work with and the people we partner with.

Managing contingent workforces can be quite a “peaks and troughs” workload. How do you manage workloads in the busy time, and how do you make the most of your downtime

I am a mum of 1 with another child on the way – so work/lifestyle balance is key priority for myself & my family. Managing expectations is #1 – we’re all experiencing exponential growth and workloads, even our clients. So, it’s important we set clear boundaries and reasonable timelines regarding commitments so you can effectively manage our workload.

It is also important to set clear breaks during our day and a clear end to our workday especially in a virtual work environment! During this time, I like to exercise (for my own mental health and clarity), spend lots of time with my 2 puppies (again, great for the endorphins) & my young family. It also helps having such a supportive employer like Hays who genuinely encourages work/life balance.

What kind of working relationship do you have with the rest of the TA/HR team? What about your working relationship with the wider organisation?

Hays is an incredibly supportive & collaborative organisation to be working for. As a manager, myself & my team have direct support provided by incredible teams within the business that cover legal, finance, reporting & analytics, operational excellence and contractor care & compliance who enable us to deliver exceptional customer service as well as support our own personal development and growth.!

What type of qualities do you think make a good contingent workforce manager? 

Tenacity, adaptability, persistence, empathy & genuineness.

The last two years have been tough for anyone working in the talent acquisition space. How has a global pandemic, frequent lockdowns, and a move towards people wanting more hybrid work options impacted what you do? 

It has been a challenge to adapt and persevere through the transition to virtual working, especially maintain a positive candidate experience, but we have incredible processes and people in place at Hays to be able to excel with the implementation of these changes and pivot. Ultimately, it has been a positive impact for our teams as well as our contingent workforce with so much of the flexibility Hays offers, also reflected by our clients.

Savannah’s Cheat Sheet for Aspiring Contingent Workforce Managers

What are some of the actionable things you can do if you want to be a Contingent Workforce Manager? Here are some suggestions from Savannah of who to follow, what to use, and where to seek out your info.

Industry experts and influencers to follow

Not industry experts so much, but Ryan Holiday and James Clear give some incredibly simple and astute advice on handling different, difficult and challenging daily situations by changing your view/mindset about them.

Absolute must-use productivity and tech tools to make your life so much easier

I’m a simple woman when it comes to tech but I cannot go past the old faithful calendar reminders. Let your diary be your brain.

Newsletter and event recommendations to keep the brain ticking over and your network fresh?

Of course ATC Events are a great source of information and opportunity to network but also tap into your client events and resources – it’s great to hear what other industries are focusing on at the minute to elevate your internal and external conversations

Is there a specific niche area of recruitment you’d like to know more about. Email us and let us know.

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