Employee Experience Is Everything! Here’s How It Can Elevate Your Contingent Workforce Program

In the past, contingent workers haven’t been approached in the same way as full-time workers. A great goal for this year is to understand why engaging your extended workforce matters. In the previous two articles in this trilogy, we’ve explored how you can elevate your contingent workforce program in 2022 through technology and services. The third and final area of focus is around the employee experience. Let’s review how it can be achieved.

Until recently, most companies have been either hesitant or simply didn’t know how to engage their extended workforce in a way that feels and sounds like they’re part of the overall company. If contingent workers are contract-based, why should you provide the same treatment and employee experience as your full-time workers? Well, for starters, they could go on to become full-time employees, and the type of employee experience they receive from the start could dictate this outcome.

One emerging trend involves remodeling or introducing an employee experience for your contingent workers that mirrors that of your full-time staff. And it’s likely here to stay! There are certain caveats to be aware of with contingent labor, but that’s not to say that you should miss out on curating an employee experience that spans both your full-time and contingent staff. 

Here are three key areas that will help you create an improved employee experience.

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1) Become An Employer of Choice

The first area to focus on is becoming an employer of choice. This can mean something different to every organization and even the staff member driving the initiative. With this in mind and understanding that you can’t necessarily cater to each individual employee, find ways through anonymous feedback or forms to understand what truly motivates or impacts your people. Then, with these insights in hand, you can create a program that allows your workers to gain different benefits that are meaningful to them and that will create a positive employee experience. 

For example, some employees may want a hybrid work option, some may seek a certain PTO policy, and some want wellness benefits. Gaining clarity around the different needs and offering options to your staff will make you an employer of choice. While some of the options might not extend to your contingent workforce, you should still be promoting your company to all staff as an amazing place to work. 

Also consider how you can extend internal training and learning opportunities, mentorship, or being able to engage staff in additional projects to gain skills and visibility. Even if it’s for a short-term assignment, a contingent employee is representing your brand and could potentially go on to become a full-time worker. The key is understanding their needs, how they like to grow, and extending the right opportunities on a timely basis. Their perception of your company matters, especially with so many opportunities for staff to post a positive or negative review of their time with you.

Don’t Leave Your Employee Experience Up to Chance!

A positive employee experience occurs when you plan for it. Our advice is not to leave it up to chance or luck. Relying on a couple of staff who think your employee experience is strong or up to par isn’t a recommended strategy. Guaranteeing a positive experience for all employees requires creating a strategy that works across the organization. To do this, think about how you can create an experience across your talent landscape so that your employees are excited about your brand. 

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2) Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Another area to focus on when bringing in contingent labor is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). While it’s been perceived as a challenge for organizations in the past, there’s technology available that can help you solve it, including VectorVMS’ vendor management system. This type of technology can help you incorporate a DEI strategy into your contingent workforce. Consider your entire talent pool when trying to understand how you can use direct sourcing to help get your job postings to diverse candidate boards.

More companies, including VectorVMS, are incorporating more DEI strategies to help you gather data and understand the landscape of your workforce. Having those insights will help you create SMART goals around hiring a diverse contingent workforce base. Look for additional tools and resources that will help you make meaningful goals and steps in the right direction. If the result of this journey is to hire a consultant to help you with this area of your business, the success you will experience from having a more diverse workplace will offset any initial cost.

CONTINUE READING | ‘Navigating the Ever-Changing Contingent Workforce Landscape

3) Retention, Retention, Retention

An increased focus on retention is often overlooked when dealing with a contingent workforce, as this group of employees is considered to be the most flexible. For instance, if a contingent worker isn’t working out for the organization, the initial thought is that they will be laid off and everything continues status quo. If your company is approaching contingent labor this way, you might be missing out!

The market is moving toward a more humane approach to people management, and you could lose out on talent that a competitor would gladly scoop up. Hence, contingent labor retention should be a part of your strategy across your employee landscape. Consider two ways to achieve retention:

i) Learning Opportunities

All workers have to learn something new along their employee journey. Either to try something new and different, feel engaged, or be challenged in a positive way. Consider:

  • What are the L&D opportunities across your entire organization? 
  • Do you have an LMS in place with great content they can access to upskill or reskill? Is the content relevant and fresh? 
  • Do you provide access to eLearning platforms with rich courses your employees can take advantage of? 

The benefits of upskilling or reskilling a current employee far outweigh having to onboard a new full-time employee, which can cost upwards of $4,000 USD. To backfill an employee that has left your organization can be almost double their salary

In short, focusing on your retention efforts is just as important as sourcing and finding new talent to join your organization. 

ii) Talent Mobility

Do you have a system in place to match mentors to mentees? Better yet, do you have the technology for your talent to see the roles available across your business and easily apply?. Your contingent workforce might meet all the criteria to step into a new role. This type of technology is new in the marketplace and is known as talent mobility tech.

There are some companies that include bonuses mid-assignment completion or for meeting different deliverables assigned to them. These gestures help keep employees happy and improve retention, leading to better business results in the end.

A Final Word…

Now that you have the keys to boost your contingent workforce program, one last recommendation that will truly make an impact on your business is to align it with your company’s goals and strategic initiatives. If your extended workforce continues to be perceived as a non-critical or non-essential part of your business, optimizing it will not be high on the corporate agenda and opportunities will be missed. Implement the needed processes for its upkeep and seek the right champions, help, or resources.

Contingent labor is here to stay and you will want to be prepared with the right technology, services, and employee experience.

This article is based on the recent webinar ‘3 Ways to Elevate Your Contingent Workforce Program in 2022’. Watch the full webinar here. Alternatively, get in touch—we’d love to show you how our VMS can help!