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Top-of-the-Class: Best Practices for Contingent Workforce Management

/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/fieldglass_blog2_518734.jpgFall is fast approaching in the U.S. and that means children and parents are gearing up for the return to school. While reading, math, and science will top school curriculums, many companies too are hitting the books to learn more about the contingent workforce.  A 2013 U.S. study from MBO Partners revealed the following statistics:

  • 17.7 million independent workers — projected to reach 24 million by 2018
  • At 36%, Gen X represents the largest group of independent workers
  • 64% of independent workers report being highly satisfied
  • 77% are committed to remaining independent

The contingent workforce comprises a variety of professional roles and can include temp workers, consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, outsourced services and others. According to Fieldglass’ Arun Srinivasan, key questions that companies ask when establishing a contingent workforce program include:

  • Which functional group is best equipped to manage a company’s contingent workforce?

  • Is it possible to gain full visibility of the total contingent workforce?

  • What’s the right ratio of contingent workers to full-time employees?

I spoke with Arun to get to the bottom of these questions and uncover the common characteristics of companies with best-in-class practices. This blog is the second in a two-part series of my conversation with Arun.

Q. Which functional groups are leading the charge with managing the contingent workforce?

Often, we see Procurement and HR leaders spearheading the effort. This isn’t surprising given their focus on spending and staffing.  Increasingly, we’re seeing HR emerge as an influential expert with contingent workforce management.

Q. What characteristics do you see among companies with best-in-class programs?

There are four common traits I often see among best-in-class companies:

  • End-User Centric:  The companies are focused on the needs of the teams who are using contingent labor. They place importance on the experience and quality of the contingent workers, while making sure the overall management program is easy and successful for the end-user teams.
  • Partnerships Among Stakeholders:  IT, Procurement, and HR are key stakeholders when it comes to contingent workforce management. We find that companies who develop strong partnerships among these functional teams are successful with their programs.

  • Global Structure and Local Flexibility:  Global structure is important to gain visibility and manage compliance associated with contingent workers, while local flexibility is critical to accommodate the needs for local regulations and practices.

  • Continuous Improvement:  Successful contingent workforce programs are those where company leaders are continuously evaluating their processes to identify areas for improvement.

Q. What impact do business networks have with optimizing contingent workforce management?

Business networks can deliver considerable value to companies and their talent supply chain. By managing sourcing, procurement, and invoicing transactions on a business network, companies gain better visibility and business intelligence. They can forecast staffing needs, benchmark activities against peers, and assess supplier management risks.

What can you learn from a best-practice leader? See the Fieldglass webinar with Mark Johnson, Head of Global Contingent Workforce, for VISA. You can access the webinar recording at the Fieldglass website.

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