Ever since the first lockdowns eased across the world, the logistics and practicalities of hybrid working have been top of mind for most businesses. But when we talk about hybrid working, there’s often a focus on full-time and permanent employees. How can we adapt hybrid working practices for the contingent workforce?
A recent report from Procurecon looked into what the hybrid future of contingent staffing may look like. As more people leave full-time, permanent work to enter the contingent workforce in search of flexibility, it’s essential that contingent staff can be managed both on-site and where possible, remotely.
How Much of the Contingent Workforce Is Currently Working in a Hybrid Way?
Before we even look at technology and logistics, it’s important to understand how the contingent workforce is being managed at the moment.
In Procurecon’s survey report, just 4% of respondents said that they don’t operate in a hybrid way at all and have no plans to. That means a whopping 96% either currently manage their contingent workforce in a hybrid way or are considering it in the future.
However, 46% of respondents currently use a hybrid working model but plan to phase it out. Which suggests that it was adapted solely as a response to managing their contingent staffing throughout the pandemic.
It’s important to consider, though, the sheer volume of workers leaving the full-time, permanent workforce in favor of flexibility. So how can we make it easier for contractors, freelancers, and temps to work fully remotely or in a hybrid setting?
MORE FROM THE BLOG | ‘Navigating the Ever-Changing Contingent Workforce Landscape’
3 Things to Consider When Managing a Contingent Workforce in a Hybrid Workplace
1.) Accountability and Compliance
Accountability and keeping your contractors on-task could take up a significant amount of your time if it isn’t managed properly. While not all contingent roles will be able to be filled remotely, ensuring freelancers, contractors, and temps are working when they say they will and fulfilling their roles to the level required can be a challenge when they aren’t there in-person.
52% of the respondents to Procurecon’s survey said they either have or are looking to enhance the accountability of their remote workforces through remote monitoring software and other tools. And 32% of respondents said that hiring remote or hybrid contingent staff in other countries posed a challenge to ongoing compliance. That said, more respondents (38%) indicated that compliance had not become an issue as a result of remote and hybrid staffing.
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2.) Training and Onboarding
Training and onboarding new contractors or freelancers can be a challenge even when they’re on-site. But with the expansion and increasing normality of a remote global workforce, onboarding and training new freelancers or contractors can present a real challenge.
In fact, 37% of respondents of Procurecon’s survey said that training and onboarding was their main concern alongside costs. The good news is there are ways to automate these processes.
More on that a bit later!
3.) Expanding Talent Pools
Tapping into a hybrid or remote contingent workforce means your talent pool may expand rapidly. This is a fantastic benefit to working with freelancers, contractors, and temps, especially remotely. But it does come with a lot of admin.
If this expansion isn’t managed efficiently, it can lead to important documents getting lost, work not being paid for, and the wrong people being pitched and chosen for your vacancies. Critically, it could also lead to regulatory and compliance issues which could cost you big in the long term.
Luckily, there is a whole bunch of technology and services that can help you manage all of these things.
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON ONBOARDING | ‘How to Create Stellar Onboarding Experiences With Integrations’
3 Ways a VMS or Managed Service Provider (MSP) Can Help You Manage Your Hybrid Workforce
1.) Ease the Transition From In-Person to Remote or Hybrid
One of the best things about using a vendor management system (or VMS) to manage your workforce is that very little administrative change is needed. So if you have a contractor or freelancer on the books who moves away, needs to temporarily work remotely, or has changing needs to complete their role, the VMS has you covered.
Keeping all of your records maintained and updated in one system also greatly reduces your risk, particularly if you’re operating in a highly-regulated industry, such as healthcare or financial services. It can be intimidating to trust your contingent workforce to operate remotely when you’re highly regulated or have specific compliance requirements. However, having tech like a VMS in place can maintain visibility and keep your peace of mind intact.
2.) Single Source of Record
Without a VMS in place, managing your contingent workforce can be a struggle. Add a hybrid work arrangement to this and you could be looking at regulatory issues, lack of accountability on both sides, and the potential to miss payments or contractual obligations to your contingent staff.
A VMS will act as a single source of record that enables you to keep track of everything. From worker reviews and previous rates through to upcoming vacancies and availability. This centralized system gives you complete visibility of your contingent workforce in one place, regardless of where or how they’re working.
3.) Integrations With Other Platforms
While we’re talking about a single source of record, it’s also worth considering that a VMS can integrate with other tech to help you stay on top of your expanding contingent workforce. Freelance Management Systems (FMSs) and direct sourcing tools can be great ways to save time and money when managing your contingent workforce, wherever they are.
And systems like this can plug straight into your VMS, so all of your data is in one place. Update details or remove a worker from one system, and it’s updated in the others. This can be a real time-save, particularly for organizations with a large-scale contingent workforce.
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Another Option Is Shared Managed Services
Another great option is to work with a VMS provider through a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or hybrid management program such as VectorVMS’s Shared Managed Services (SMS). These options allow you to gain visibility of your contingent workforce management while having access to the expertise you need.
As the complexity and admin demands of managing your contingent workforce program grow, it can be reassuring to have a safe pair of hands on standby to help you get the job done. Working with an MSP or using a hybrid program can ease the pressure of expanding your talent pool by asking for help with day-to-day admin or consultancy along the way.