It’s no secret that contingent workers and FTEs are very different, but to your customers, there’s no distinction. Or, there shouldn’t be. In this article, Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management for Brandon Hall Group, looks at how technology can help contingent labor feel like full-time workers—to themselves and the customers they’re facing.
Perhaps due to the fact that contingent workers often fall under the jurisdiction of Procurement, and full-time employees (FTEs) fall under the general auspices of HR, many of the practices that would be considered standard for FTEs are often overlooked when it comes to their contingent co-workers.
Brandon Hall Group research has shown this to be an issue that should be addressed immediately, as 27% of organizations rated the effectiveness of their contingent workforce either “somewhat effective” or “not at all effective”. This is despite the fact that 90% of organizations indicated they had at least some contingent workers, and 6% specified that contingent/non-employee labor made up over half of their workforce.
One of the factors that’s often overlooked in contingent labor is the employee or candidate experience. Contingent workers are no different than regular workers when it comes to the impact your organization’s culture has on them, and how those workers can impact your own organization’s culture. This is especially important to think about if contingent workers have interactions directly with customers, as the same issues that any FTE can have can also be present in a contingent worker. This includes work/life balance, burnout, misalignment with organizational values, or other factors that may affect the way any employee may express themselves through their actions.
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Technology’s Role in Procuring People
Think of the impact contingent workers can have on daily operation, just as any other worker would, and you can see why it’s so important that ultimate care is taken in selecting and procuring contingent workers.
It’s no wonder so many organizations are seeking a holistic approach to their talent strategy. As with anything even lightly HR-related, it’s imperative that you have the right people and processes in place, but it’s equally important to have the right technology.
There are multiple ways in which technology can assist in sourcing contingent workers, but not all technology for this purpose is created equal. Ideally a proper contingent worker sourcing engine will function as a part of your workforce management strategy rather than simply being used to fill reqs—and this is where Learning Technologies Group’s VectorVMS stands apart.
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Automating Processes for Efficiency
Of course, both HR and procurement have traditionally used ROI metrics to determine value of contingent labor, and maintaining compliance and cost controls is increasingly important, but a better VMS will do more than that. By intelligently automating processes that often slow down many employees, you can both speed up processes and create a more objective view of your workforce through more advanced analytics. Streamlining the process allows more time to focus on the candidate and worker experience.
Having more real-time data that allows for comparisons and up-to-the-second cost analysis also allows an organization to be more flexible and adaptive, especially important during these highly volatile work conditions—massive influxes in people returning to work, for example.
One way that VectorVMS automates a redundant process is by allowing organizations to upload and save specific job descriptions—across their whole organization—for use in common requisitions. With everything built into the system, hiring managers are just a few clicks away from posting a new req.
A Data-Driven Approach
Structured, meaningful data from automated processes also has another benefit that might not be as obvious: creating more diversity in your contingent labor by helping to remove some levels of unconscious bias when it comes to evaluating the productivity of your contingent workforce.
By giving a more data-driven approach to decision-making, it’s more likely that organizations will be able to refine the skills and backgrounds that result in better representation of the company culture (or the intended company culture, if change is needed). This will result in better interactions which will create positive experiences for the rest of the workforce and for any customers these workers interact with.
The VectorVMS platform allows users to compare applicants for a given requisition and filter by how well they align with the job requirements. This data-first approach is a prime example of how automation can reduce unconscious bias in candidate selection.
Earlier, when discussing the importance of contingent workers, many points were made about how contingent workers have the same effect on customers as FTEs, but mostly focused on how that could go wrong. Looking at it from another angle, having a highly-engaged contingent workforce that reflects your organization’s culture can create a virtuous circle of positive customer reactions that can bring a sense of meaning and purpose to contingent workers, and allow them to feel more invested, not just in their work, but in the organization as a whole. It can also open up workers to considering future roles with the organization, building a sense of trust and continuity.
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Managing Your Workforce, No Matter Their Employment Status
Overall, the benefits of a system such as VectorVMS are hard to overstate, and that’s without factoring in the level of people support that is given as part of the platform. Having dedicated program managers who are already well-versed in best practices and common industry issues can help maintain uninterrupted operations regardless of changing conditions—again, something that’s very common regardless of industry right now.
VectorVMS’s Shared Managed Services (SMS) acts as an extension of the client organization’s team in a customized service solution with options such as managing day-to-day tasks within the VMS and offering strategic consulting and support.
If you’re operating a business today, it’s a near certainty that you will be working with employees of all kinds: full-time, part-time, contract, and every other form of standard and/or contingent labor.
Having multiple employee types does not, however, mean that the experience for your customers should ever be any different, and no reason that the experience for those employees during their usual workday should be any different either. The best way to create a consistent, high-quality experience both internally and externally is to maintain a positive, forward-thinking set of practices, policies, and technologies to ensure that your organization presents itself as intended, regardless of who’s doing the presenting.