Increasingly, organisations across Australia and across the globe, are recognising the benefits of a contingent workforce to fulfil critical business requirements, as talent opt for more independence in the management of their career.
You can think of this as different sides of the same coin.
The workforce dynamic is changing, whereby:
- More talent are seeking to take ownership of their careers, not rely on a ‘job’ or a career path as mapped out by one or more corporate employers
- Mobility is seen as a key requirement for today’s workers. The opportunity to up & leave, to take on opportunities in other cities, regions or countries is appealing. This stands true not only from an experiential perspective, but in many job families, it means acquiring incredible technical experience
- The almighty dollar doesn’t cut it for millennials (Gen Y), like it did for the X’ers and the Boomers: balance, lifestyle, choices – these are proving to be the key appeal factors for today’s grassroots (and, as an aside, lateral) hires
And on the back of this dynamic, smart employers are pivoting. They’re capturing these workers, a large category of whom are ‘knowledge workers’ to meet unique, one-off, critical and time-sensitive deliverables.
What happens next? Many employers simply decide to start hiring contractors. Others engage the services of an external third party to manage this for them – be that a payroll company, an agency, or a contingent workforce management company.
If you’re situation is such that you decide to take on the services of a contingent workforce management provider, you’re best armed with knowledge. As not all are equal.
Largely, companies decide to take on the management of contractors themselves, from the outset. Commonly thereafter, they realise that they…
- Aren’t reaping greatest ROI on their investment
- May be at risk of non-compliance
- Have made an error on the approach to their contingent workforce: it’s is misaligned to the broader business strategy
- May not be securing the highest quality talent, at the best price – their processes and procedures aren’t water-tight
…. or one of any number of other circumstances.
If you’re in this situation – where there’s uncertainty in the management of your contractor population – and you’re looking to appoint an external management company, have a think about the following:
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have a track record in your industry? With which clients?
- Think about speaking with their clients, and getting an understanding of the outcomes they’ve achieved. The real solutions that have had direct impact on these organisations.
- Get past the shiny marketing stuff, to insights of a real strategic nature (if, in fact, they exist)
- The quality providers will not have cheezy salespeople, but strategic business advisors: professionals who want to ‘get’ your business, your stress points, and find ways to alleviate this stress
- You need them to provide you with real insights around market trends: they’re the experts, so if they can’t give you this data (in real time), then keep moving
- Take a look at their ability to pivot: recency of experience is critical in a market that is changing as rapidly as contingent working
- Ask to meet the people that would be managing your business day-to-day: you want to ensure they’re right for your team, and your tactical needs
- Look to gain insight into THEIR culture. What’s their business ethos? Who are the owners? Have you met them? Are they the right fit for your business?
- A quality outfit will suit high-performing businesses that are used to engaging quality talent: the tri-party dynamic works best where each are operating at the same level
Your Business Requirements
- What are the challenges and risks you’ve identified regarding your continent worker population?
- What does success look like for your business?
- Thorough due diligence of prospective providers will reveal expertise at managing the specific challenges your business faces
- What are they offering from a technology perspective?
- Will it fit with your existing technology stack?
- Are they VMS enabled? Which one? Have you done your homework on the best VMS for your business?
- Get a gauge on their capacity to fit you into their service delivery: your needs will be high-touch initially, so you want to ensure they’re capable of delivering at every stage of the relationship lifecycle
- Quick fixes, massive cost savings, huge productivity gains: sure, these may well be realised in time but if these are examples of blanket promises being spouted by a prospective provider, then keep walking
- Strategic partnership is the best way to engage with contingent workforce management companies – the good guys will relay the benefits you can look forward to, but won’t dazzle you with hype
These points are by no means exhaustive. However, they’re a worthy starting point to cover your preliminary bases in the early stages of considering a contingent workforce management provider.
Any others you think are pressing or noteworthy, in the early days? Let us know in the comments.
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