July 01, 2014

Staying on Track

Companies with blended workforces often face challenges in managing different types of workers.  Research from Aberdeen Group suggests that almost 25 percent of the total workforce can be considered contingent or temporary, and this will only continue to grow. As non-employee workers become a significant part of total workforces, contingent workforce management becomes an important part of companies’ operational goals.

While using contingent workers offers many benefits such as cost savings, increased efficiency, administrative savings, broader talent pools, and flexibility, keeping a contingent workforce programs on track is tricky. This is especially true when a company uses multiple staffing providers to fulfill a range of job roles. Analysts estimate that the percentage of ‘troubled’ projects staffed through temp workers that fall short of time, budget or quality goals ranges from 40 to 60 percent.

Increasingly, companies are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to manage the multiple staffing vendors and keep their contingent workforce programs running smoothly. According to industry analysts, almost 70 percent of the country’s largest employers are using a MSP to manage their contingent workforces. The MSP serves as a neutral party that offers a workforce solution while ensuring efficient operation and leveraging multiple staffing companies to obtain competitive rates. MSPs often use a Vendor Management System (VMS) as a software tool to provide transparency and efficiency in the management of the contingent workforce. Companies often cite having a single point of contact as the biggest advantage of using a MSP.

Contingent Workforce Management Performance, MSP vs. Non-MSP

Staying on track

Source: Aberdeen Group

Tips to Keep your Contingent Workforce Program on Track

To get started on keeping their contingent workforce program on track, managers should put thought and emphasis on certain tasks, even if using a MSP.

1) Define the objectives of the contingent workforce management program clearly

Defining and prioritizing key goals will help to align the program and develop metrics to ensure that these objectives are being met. To encompass concerns from all areas of the organization, involve hiring managers as active participants in the design of the program.

2) Establish a budget

Having an established budget lets you plan and manage the workforce program with more clarity and transparency. A defined budget also provides a framework for evaluating workforce management options.

3) Minimize resistance from the beginning

As with the adoption of any new process, resistance is expected from stakeholders who will be impacted by changes. From the very beginning, attempt to minimize this resistance by having clear communication about all aspects of the program and explaining the benefits of active program participation.

4) Develop a communications plan

Whether using an external MSP or managing contingent workers internally, clear and effective communication is a primary factor in promoting an environment of transparency and trust. If you’re using an external MSP, it also helps all parties to clearly communicate your priorities and expectations.

5) Create a change management process

Implementing a contingent workforce program is sure to bring about change, and having a process to deal with bumps along the way will make the transition easier for all stakeholders.  Establishing a clear governance structure with defined roles, schedules, issue resolution processes, and approvals is also helpful in avoiding navigating hurdles.

6) Beside ‘must have’ goals, also formulate a wish list

The best program managers go beyond the essentials to deliver benefits that might be on your hiring managers’ wish lists, such as increasing program participation, acting as an advisor, educating hiring managers, and coaching suppliers.