5 Benefits of Incorporating Learning Into Contingent Workforce Management

VectorVMS Product Manager, Taylor Ramchandani, makes the case for why companies should offer learning opportunities not just to their full-time staff, but to temporary and contingent workers too.

Many organizations talk about wanting to become an “Employer of Choice” but what actions are they actually taking? When it comes to the contingent workforce, employees want to feel a sense of belonging and that they’re actually providing value to your organization. Gone are the days when we gave temp workers different color badges and kept them at an arm’s length from our full-time staff.

This change has stemmed from two main sources:

  1. the decreased paranoia that surrounds co-employment risk.
  2. the realization that contingent workers are people too and crave that same sense of engagement and fulfillment as full-time employees.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the best—and most underutilized—way to engage with your contingent workforce: learning. It’s been said that “a learning relationship is an exchange of trust” which we have seen in recent surveys from SIA that indicated 84% of contingent workers are “moderately to extremely interested” in learning opportunities. In the rest of this article, we’ll explore the five key benefits that come from incorporating learning into your contingent workforce management strategy.

1. Reduction of Turnover

Do you find yourself rapidly cycling through contingent workers?

This can be frustrating from an efficiency standpoint—and costly too. When thinking about ways to decrease the amount of turnover, we’ve seen an increase in the number of companies turning to workplace learning to keep their employees motivated and actively engaged with their organization.

Learning is seen as an investment in the future. It can be a great strategy to indicate to the learner how you see them as a valuable asset. Workers who feel valued are less likely to leave, decreasing the chance of an assignment ending early.

2. Positioning Yourself as an Employer of Choice

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of organizations out there that want to become an employer of choice but aren’t thinking outside the box about how to accomplish this. By weaving learning into your operational flow, you can leverage your brand even before engagement and sustain it all the way to the eventual contract end.

But why stop there? If you have a group of contingent staff that you like to work with, continue to communicate with them about learning opportunities to create mutual investment between employee and employer. Hopefully, the next time a position comes up between you and the company down the street, they’ll remember the investment you continue to make in their career furtherment.

According to a recent study, 90% of contingent workers are interested in learning new skills. So why not be the organization that finally gives them that opportunity.

You might also like… “The Contingent Workforce Is Here to Stay [Infographic]”

3. Increasing Number of Conversions

When a contractor comes to work at your organization, it’s the first glimpse into what it would be like to work for your company full time. Not only are you getting to “try before you buy”, that worker gets to see if the company is really the right fit for them. They may be asking, “Do I vibe well with the team?”, “Do I feel like I’m a valuable contributor?” and, most importantly, “Do I feel I can grow here?”

Really think about that last question. Regardless of the type of arrangement, workers want to continue to build their skills and grow to meet the ever-changing needs of the market. By using data to see where they can excel and mapping that to missing skills in your organization, you can create a “win-win” situation.

The result? You fill holes in your organization through conversion while creating a positive environment for your contingent worker.

4. Reducing Generational Knowledge Gaps

There are currently five different generations in the workforce: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. While there are some similarities between these generations, they’re very different in:

  • the way they learn,
  • their relationship to work,
  • and the skills that they possess.

With Baby Boomers rapidly leaving the workforce, organizations are finding that they’re lacking the hard and soft skills needed to complete the job. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, recent graduates are finding that while a four-year degree gave them some experience, it didn’t prepare them for their first job. Not only are they lacking in certain hard skills but younger generations have not yet mastered their soft skills either.

To combat these challenges, organizations are looking at creative methods to reskill the workforce. While early-career staff may be eager and ready to enter the workforce, they need guidance and skill transfer to complete the job. So what’s to be done? Some organizations are now creating an alumni resource pool to come back on a contingent basis to retool the younger generations.

Also read this white paper: “Millennials Leading the Charge”

5. Increasing Speed to Efficiency

“Time is money” is a well-known cliché but what does it have to do with contingent labor? The number-one way to save money when it comes to contingent labor is a quick and efficient onboarding process. This goes beyond having the right equipment at the worker’s desk. Or having a person to show them around on their first day. It takes initiative even before the worker steps on-site.

Engagement starts at the candidate application process. Incorporating learning on your careers page to express the culture and mission of your organization can help the applicant really understand what you’re all about. Once a worker is selected, keep them engaged by sending them relevant learning material so they know about the processes and procedures at your organization—before they start.

By having all the materials needed to learn about the organization and role prior to contract start, you can decrease the amount of time it takes to get up to speed.

More from the blog: “3 Ways Contingent Labor Can Help Reskill the Workforce”

Differentiate Your Sourcing Strategy With Learning

There are many different ways you can approach becoming an employer of choice. But with 70% of employees saying they’ve not mastered the skills they need for their job, incorporating learning into your contingent workforce management strategy would be a great place to start. Learning is a clear sign of investment in your workforce that should extend across all labor types. And as we’ve seen, the benefits are clear.

For more methods and strategies to help your organization address the urgent reskilling needs facing the workforce, download the white paper “A Human Framework for Reskilling” by Piers Lea, Chief Strategy Officer at VectorVMS’ parent company, Learning Technologies Group.