We All Must Make Contingent Workers Feel Welcome

collaborate (2)The need to understand, utilize and engage the contingent workforce is becoming more and more important to staffing agency and organizational success. Contract and temporary workers make up 26 percent of the American workforce (Aberdeen Group, 2012).  Furthermore, according to the U.S Department of Labor, the contingent workforce is among the fastest growing segment of workers and the organization predicts a 23 percent increase by 2020.

These statistics should come as no surprise, as temporary, contingent and contract workers are providing companies with a great deal of flexibility while also minimizing their sunk costs. However, new challenges are introduced such as the engagement, alignment and cultural values of the contingent workforce.

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Many staffing agencies and organizations are ignoring the need to actively engage this ever-growing contingent workforce. Case in point, many organizations do not take the same care in hiring their contingent workforce as they do their full-time employees and instead are moving toward a more commoditized procurement model. Corporate branding, employee selection and ongoing development are seemingly forgotten. This mistake can lead to high turnover, low employee engagement, loss of productivity and can even become contagious, infecting the performance of full-time staff.

Disengaged workers, whether they be full time or contingent, have a detrimental effect on the performance and balance of the workforce. Disengaged employees cost organizations $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary (Gallup 2002).

While organizations have some work to do on their end, staffing agencies also play a role in the engagement of the contingent workforce. To be effective, staffing agencies must partner with organizations to create a process that (1) identifies great employees that fit the culture of their clients, (2) engages them during placement and (3) continues to support their goals and needs. Organizations, MSPs and staffing providers all must partner together to create processes and procedures that support long-term employee engagement.

As the contingent workforce continues to be a greater percentage of the American workforce, the more important it will become to actively engage and align temporary and contract employees.

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George Albert Opitz
George Albert Opitz is president of Brightwing.

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