The use of temporary workers and independent contractors has expanded tremendously since the Great Recession. Industry experts predict that the future gets brighter for these groups of workers.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the contingent workforce over time. Human resource professionals are looking for creative ways to get the most out of this flexible staffing arrangement.
Organizations want to meet their future talent needs in the most cost-effective way possible. Workers are accepting this form of employment as a full-time option to earn a living, even without employer benefits.
Adopting this for your organization is a chance to tap into often hard-to-find skills to fill an immediate need. Your organization can save on labor costs. However, contingent workforce management presents challenges that require an effective strategy.
4 Key Questions to Consider While Developing a Contingent Workforce Strategy
Hiring workers on a nonpermanent basis requires similar preparation given for full-time employees. Here are four key questions to ask while developing a contingent workforce management strategy.
1. Are there workforce management systems to help me plan for effective personnel throughout the organization?
Generally, the planning phase is extremely important to developing a strategy for introducing a contingent workforce into your organization. However, the need to add additional workers may come at a rushed time.
Instead of properly planning to use them in a specific department, you may need to bring them in to meet an urgent deadline. While this ad-hoc fashion might work occasionally, you do not want it to become standard operating procedure.
Before a manager makes the request, you should already anticipate department needs. Keeping track of leave requests, planned vacations or puts you at an advantage.
Before a deadline is a heartbeat away, start evaluating critical skills of every position in the organization. This way, you can determine where talent gaps exist for meeting company goals. With this information, you develop a plan to fill those gaps with contingent labor.
Be prepared to educate senior management and department heads about the high value hiring contingent workers has on the organization.
2. How will I help department heads manage our contingent workforce?
Since you are in charge of staffing the organization, you should already have established processes for:
- Performance reviews
Although each was created for full-time employees, you can incorporate these same procedures for managing contingent hires. The core difference between your employees and contingent workers is their eligibility for benefits.
Nevertheless, you expect to get the same level of performance from hiring workers on a temporary basis. Think broadly about practices reserved for permanent staff and whether any will benefit your contingent workforce management strategy.
Standardize the management of these workers similarly to what is done for full-time employees. For instance, if you have procedures for employees to clock in and out, apply the same expectation to temporary hires.
Rules and processes are not abnormal, but rather will keep the office environment clear of mishaps and misunderstandings.
Make sure you are:
- Hiring workers in a timely fashion
- Meeting compliance requirements by ensuring their rights
- Providing continuous training and feedback so they are prepared to fulfill business goals
3. How can I make sure we engage contingent workers so they feel integrated into our culture?
Full-time employees are privy to company information. Emails from the CEO, regular interactions with coworkers, special events, etc. are part of regular communications. Some organizations fail to include contingent workers.
Even if you have contingent personnel who do not have access to the company network or who work remotely, share different aspects of the organization. Being part of the corporate culture energizes full-time employees and contingent workers.
Coach hiring managers on using effective strategies to keep temporary workers engaged. They are critical to the organization’s success as much as full-time employees.
4. What workforce management systems are available to help my organization manage this addition to our labor force?
Most HR technology solutions are designed to track and manage full-time employees. Some systems are flexible enough so you can enter data about contingent workers and label them as such.
This separates them from full-time employees, while keeping data on all talent in one convenient place. You can classify your contingent workforce in the system for useful information about the overall human capital strategy in the organization.
Your Contingent Workforce Has Long-Term Effects
As contingent workforces continue to grow across all sectors, you want to draw positive results from the long-term effects. Managing this unique work population efficiently requires innovative approaches.
You must lead management to think critically about planning, engaging and integration these workers. Their importance to the organization is best realized with a comprehensive strategy and technology support.