We recently had the pleasure of attending our first virtual conference of the year. While Procurecon’s Contingent Staffing Summit is not what we’re used to in the sense of a traditional tradeshow (handshakes and maybe the occasional baseball game) there were still plenty of informative sessions and networking opportunities for anyone interested in contingent workforce management.
Throughout the week, there was a heavy emphasis on topics that have come to the forefront of the staffing industry as we’ve all had to reconsider our priorities with the changes that have come in the past year. Some of the common themes and topics from the summit include:
- Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
- Technology Disruption
- Program Engagement
If you were unable to attend, here’s our quick summary of what we heard that resonated with us throughout the week.
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1) Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
There were a couple of sessions during the week that spoke to the importance of not only having a diverse program, but also having an inclusive contingent workforce program that provides equal opportunity to all workers.
In the session hosted by Kelly Services, it really resonated with us when the panelist spoke to the differences between the three words (diversity, inclusion, and equity) and explained that just because you have a diverse program, doesn’t mean it’s inclusive or that everyone within the program has equal access to opportunities.
The other session we were able to attend “Moving the Diversity and Inclusion Needle” also highlighted the importance of equitable programs not only diverse and inclusive. What really stood out about this session is the attention to looking beyond initial source data to identify gaps and areas of improvement in your contingent workforce program.
2) Technology Disruption
Technology has played a pivotal role in the shift in the ways we work and how we’ve adjusted to the pandemic. Sure, we’ve had to change how we meet and collaborate but we’ve also had to change how we source and interact with our workforce. A common topic from the conference was how to use direct sourcing to your advantage.
The direct sourcing session that stood out was the panel led by our partners at WillHire. The session highlighted how using direct sourcing can:
- Increase your reach to more talent within a location by using your employer brand
- Redeploy talent that has worked previously for your organization
- Drive increased traffic through referrals
- Lower the cost of your contingent workforce program by bringing workers on through your payroll provider
Our session ‘3 Areas to Leverage Your Success in 2021’ also talked about how to reduce your program cost in 2021 through better management of your contingent workforce. In addition, we addressed how to drive better compliance management as new regulation will inevitably occur. We also spoke about the need for visibility to make decisions about the future of your program with all the data in front of you.
For a short summary of our session, make sure to check out our related blog post.
3) Program Engagement
Even with the pandemic, competition for top talent still remains difficult.
It was great to see some of the strategies organizations were taking on to attract and retain top talent in their programs. In the session ‘Contingent Staffing Advocacy’, the panelists talked about the importance of having a great employer brand and experience for the candidate as word travels fast for organizations that don’t treat their contingent workforce with respect.
One of the sessions I found very informative talked about how it wasn’t just important to advocate for your workers but your vendors as well. Solid vendors make or break your program so, in this session about supplier performance management, the panelist talked about how they provide a productive environment for their vendors or how they, as vendors, have seen success.
Some key trends that seem to drive supplier performance include:
- Solid reporting processes that allow you to understand vendor performance
- Being in sync with what metrics are being tracked
- Have feedback sessions between client and vendors for suggestions for both parties for mutual success
- Have a playbook of the way your program would like your vendors to engage with you
- Right-sizing your supplier population based on your demand
As we round the corner of the pandemic (knock on wood!) supplier and worker engagement is going to be pivotal to attract top talent in a tight labor market.
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Until Next Time
Who knows what the next Contingent Staffing Conference is going to look like but for the year’s first virtual conference, we feel it was a success. The topics were on-trend with what was going on in the market and the speakers came from various backgrounds, so there was something for everybody.
While I think we all prefer the interaction and socialization that comes from an in-person event, we appreciate the effort made to make this conference great.
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