A changing workforce that demands flexibility, coupled with huge pockets of talent shortages across the world has meant that finding the right contingent talent is now considered a business-critical factor for success. However, despite the important role that contingent talent can play, many businesses still fail to implement strategies for engaging and retaining contingent workers.
A common mistake that businesses make is applying the strategy and processes that are currently used to engage temporary workers to the broad spectrum of talent in the contingent sphere. This broad-brush approach has long been an issue in the contracting sector, with both white- and blue-collar workers treated the same in terms of engagement and management despite possessing a completely different set of priorities and concerns. In short, specialist contingent talent needs to be treated as a separate entity within businesses rather than simply a sub-set, and business planning must be put in place accordingly.
As an example, a temporary worker brought in to cover a permanent employee’s leave of absence will have a very different set of priorities from a graphic designer brought in temporarily to cover a project. In the former example, it may be that the worker’s key driver is stability, whereas the latter will prioritise interesting pieces of work and can better afford to decline less interesting jobs. Companies that acknowledge this distinction up-front and ensure there is a set of operating guidelines in place to make it easy to work with and remunerate these very different types of worker will offer greater satisfaction to both types, and will therefore gain their trust and loyalty, and thus their availability when needed.
Such is the importance of implementing a contingent proposition, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) runs an entire certification course on contingent workforce management where key personnel within businesses can learn about legal issues, technology and operational best practices that are associated with managing the various types of contingent workers.
A growing number of end-clients are turning to specialist VMS and MSPs, which go a long way in overseeing contingent labour operations as well as helping businesses to achieve significant cost savings and providing broadened access to talent. Finding the right MSP can help end clients identify the level of talent required for specific projects and, in turn, help in developing a much-needed contingent workforce management strategy.
In order to reap the rewards of contingent talent, whether that is through lowered costs or an enhanced value proposition, businesses need to invest in developing not just a permanent and temporary strategy, but also one that incorporates highly-skilled contingent knowledge as its own category. Companies that fail to acknowledge and plan for this important distinction will simply not have the same access to the specialist marketplace, and will therefore struggle to engage with the right workforce when their business needs it most.