AI and Contingent Workers: 4 Major Critical Applications

Have you stopped to think about AI and contingent workers?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming the competitive advantage opportunity for organisations with contingent labour. Its broad-reaching implications can help you streamline the management of your contingent workers. And, when adopted strategically, will enable you to make better contractor hiring decisions.

We’ve investigated the implications of AI on the workforce, previously.

Today, we uncover some of its major applications more specifically in relation to the management of your contingent workers.

What is AI?

Although it’s been around for a long time, AI’s major growth activity has occurred over the past 10 years.

The underlying premise of AI has been the development of intelligent machines, capable of carrying out human tasks. The by-product of this development is AI’s ability to take huge amounts of information and be able to use, analyse and make smarter decisions for businesses. The end result holds incredible opportunity for the organisation: cost savings, the ability for workers to focus on skills development and more meaningful work, improved operational efficiencies – amongst many other outcomes.

Artificial intelligence is a collection of advanced technologies that allows machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn. It is set to transform business in ways we’ve not seen since the Industrial Revolution; fundamentally reinventing how businesses run, compete and thrive. When implemented holistically, these technologies help improve productivity and lower costs, unlocking more creative jobs and creating new growth opportunities.

Accenture

For the contingent workforce, the opportunities presented by AI are many. Below, I’ve outlined some of the more prominent, and achievable opportunities.

1. Sourcing the right contingent workers thanks to AI

We’re all familiar with making bad hiring decisions. And not just those related to employees, bad hiring unfortunately also applies to contingent workers.

The cost, frustration, productivity loss and reputational damage are all very real potential outcomes of poor hiring.

Artificial intelligence offers significant value in the hiring of contingent workers.

AI can enable you to attract contingent workers that are a better fit for your organisation;  talent you’ll deem as higher quality for your business, subsequent productivity and output gains – all empirical outcomes we’ve seen with some of our clients.

A great example is the use of AI for offering simulated experiences of the workplace as part of the hiring process. Akin to ‘try before you buy’ or ‘a day in the life of’, contingent workers can gain experiential insight into your operation, into the role and your business culture. Contingent workers can nominate to exit the hiring process if they recognise the job or business isn’t right for them. And conversely, the organisation can observe and decide upon the requisite fit of the contingent candidate throughout this process.

Another factor for the clever use of AI is when it comes to sourcing multiple contingent workers, as is often the case for bigger projects

The use of sophisticated chatbots can assist with keeping contractor candidates in the loop, maintaining contact throughout the process. AI and contingent worker programs can also help organisations manage interview scheduling for multiple contractors and create greater hiring efficiencies: a win for the company and a great experience for the contractor.

The ability for contingent workers to ‘fit’ into your business is as crucial as it is for permanent employees. And harnessing AI to this end could save your business the time, cost and frustration of appointing the wrong talent.

2. AI’s Role in Boosting your VMS Capabilities

Vendor Management Systems (VMS) typically provide users with guidance functionality for simple, easy and efficient workflows. What’s coming up now thanks to AI, are improved efficiencies for organisations, applied throughout the entire lifecycle of the contingent workforce.

These include intelligent applications into the VMS which is then executed as a virtual assistant.

The opportunity provided by these intelligent designs, cover the inclusion of business processes, company directives and policies, leadership dictums and more, into the VMS software.

The end result?

A vastly improved user experience.

3. AI and Contingent Workers: Efficiency Gains from AR

Augmented reality (AR) was once a futuristic notion, conjured up by academics and big thinkers. Today, its application into daily lives has been widespread. AR can be described as:

Augmented reality is the result of using technology to superimpose information — sounds, images and text — on the world we see.

This is rather different from virtual reality. Virtual reality means computer-generated environments for you to interact with, and be immersed in. Augmented reality (also known as AR), adds to the reality you would ordinarily see rather than replacing it. 

Livescience.com

In the context of AR’s impact on contingent workers, taking an inanimate object and bringing it to life could mean any number of opportunities:

  • A new contractor can be onboarded prior to commencement via their mobile phone, and interact directly with the company handbook
  • In the era of COVID-19, AR provides the opportunity to bring the organisation’s physical workspaces to life in a digital context. This means contractors, their teams and their leadership can interact freely and ‘in situ’. The opportunity for efficiency gains is very real.

4. Value from Unstructured Data

Think, for a moment, about the amount of data available today: from across the internet, social media platforms, email, communications apps, and beyond. The absolute volume is incredible and difficult to fathom.

Being able to harness this data and gain knowledge and insight for your contingent workforce strategy, has been largely elusive for organisations. Now, thanks to AI, the ability to structure this data into meaningful, valuable insights is very real. It’s the perfect fusion of AI for contingent workers.

Being able to mine this social and behavioural information, offers the opportunity to better match contingent workers with project work. And to understand the biases, behaviours and skills of these prospective contractors.

And finally…

Being able to integrate AI into the existing technology stack of the organisation’s talent management processes, is key to gaining the most from this innovation for the contingent workforce. The analyses from unstructured data sets will enable organisations to achieve faster and better contingent talent decision making and provide valuable insights that will challenge assumptions and historical decision making.

When combined with human insights and ‘soft’ skills, the intelligence from AI for contingent workers will facilitate cost savings, improve the quality of hires and the productivity of these workers. It will also enable more effective contingent talent programs.

All in all, it’s hard to deny the potential of AI for contingent workers.

As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.

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