Successful Contingent Workforce Program Traits

Highly successful contingent workforce programs have a few things in common, regardless of company goals and objectives. Here are three characteristics that stand out.

  1. A clear sense of direction. There’s a big difference between setting goals and setting objectives, and it is important to do both. First, think about the big picture. What do you ultimately want to get out of your flexible workforce? How do you see it being managed? Establish your long-term goals based on your responses to these questions. Only after you’ve carefully considered your goals can you derive clear objectives to meet them.
  1. Meticulous change management processes. How you manage change can make or break the success of any major company initiative, and your contingent workforce program is no exception. Define who your specific shareholders are, and set expectations accordingly. Whether you are introducing a VMS or MSP to your program for the first time or are on your 20th expansion, each new country/region/business unit/labor category requires the same change management process and effort.
  1. Evaluation of strengths and weaknesses… again and again and again. Companies smartly take advantage of best-in-class VMS and MSP providers to manage their labor programs most effectively and efficiently. The mistake some companies make is assuming their 2010 best-in-class programs are still best-in-class in 2012. Painfully, this is not so. Changes in a company’s workforce, legislation to manage flexible staff, and product and service offerings of vendors make it imperative to continuously re-evaluate your contingent workforce program.

Similar traits notwithstanding, there are other factors to consider. Case in point: While evaluating its CW program, one of our customers discovered that the behavior around worker rates isn’t consistent across its labor categories. For IT workers, the price was driven down – and quality was driven up – by a large number of participating suppliers. Yet for other categories, including Light Industrial, fewer suppliers yielded lower rates and higher quality workers. Only by carefully mining data can companies uncover important, cost-saving trends.

Chris Dede
Chris Dede is vice president of professional services at Fieldglass. He can be reached at cdede (at) fieldglass (dot) com.

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