The Evolution of Contingent Recruitment: How 2020 sped up change

Last year drastically changed contingent workforce recruitment and management. The near overnight shift to home or flexible working presented employers with new evidence that remote and contingent workforces can be hugely valuable to their business. Workplace teams increasingly demonstrated that they do not need the rigid structure of the traditional 9 to 5 hours in the office to deliver results. With the recruitment process also being shifted to virtual platforms rapidly, employers quickly recognized that top talent can be sourced and selected online with relative speed and ease — a trend that we certainly expect to remain as we come out of Covid.

This change in mindsets is here to stay in the view of Guidant Global, but the question remains, what does this mean for future contingent recruitment trends?

Adapted workforce planning needs. If we consider just how quickly “business as usual” changed, it is perhaps no surprise that workforce planning needs to be adapted. We are beyond the stages where companies were fire-fighting just to keep afloat. Instead, decision-makers are looking back to assess the lessons learned over last 10 months and feeding this into future strategic resource planning. Agility and transformation are two of the biggest factors for success moving forward, and employers are predicted to invest more in the contingent workforce as a result. Businesses must do more than simply recruit more contingent staff in order to really make this segment work. Instead, enterprises will need to establish a framework and governance for the effective management of their full range of people resources and build closer engagement with the recruitment supply chain to ensure success.

A global approach. Pre-pandemic, location was almost universally among the most critical factors affecting staffing strategies. The general acceptance of remote working practices has broken down many geographical barriers and “globalized” contingent talent pools. Employers have recognized that they do not need their staff sitting together in the same physical structure in order to deliver results. We fully expect to see firms focus on “sourcing without borders” where key skills are valued over location or travel abilities.

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Diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I). In another “barrier-breaking move,” the shift toward more flexible working has put diversity, equality and inclusion on the corporate agenda in a whole new way. The evolving views on how work can be delivered are breaking barriers for under-represented groups unable to commit to specified hours or potentially lengthy commutes.

As a result, we are likely to see a continued focus on purely skills-based contingent sourcing across a wide range of office, professional and technical positions wherein managers may focus their concerns on getting the resources on board to do the job versus the particulars necessary for the end result.

Direct sourcing and contingent RPO. Unsurprisingly, organizations undertook cost control measures very early on in order to streamline finances in light of the revenue and budget challenges stemming from the pandemic. Employers have moved towards direct sourcing over more traditional supplier-led recruitment strategies as one approach to mitigate cost while exerting greater control over their employment brand. However, whether direct sourcing is a temporary tactic, amidst limited internal talent acquisition and management resources, or a long-term value play remains to be seen. Regardless, there is a real trend among employers that are vying to be more outwardly visible in the sourcing campaigns for their contingent workforce. Many have sought to implement contingent RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) solution by engaging a managed service provider (MSP) to oversee contingent direct sourcing efforts.

Employer branding implications. As the workforce evolves, the corporate culture that supports it inevitably evolves in kind. This results in an emerging need for a credible employer brand identity. Truly savvy employers are reconsidering how they adapt and leverage their employer brand to attract higher quality, flexible non-employee talent. This trend will only strengthen in the immediate future as competition for top contingent expertise grows.

Despite the recent, increased focus on direct sourcing, we should not overlook the fact that external experts have the knowledge and experience to improve enterprises’ abilities strategically source and manage the extended workforce. A joined-up approach to contingent workforce management has never been so important. As business optimism rebounds, the reliance on staffing and recruitment partners will inevitably increase as leading organizations seek to build a truly competitive contingent workforce as a business differentiator.


Brian Salkowski

Brian Salkowski
Brian Salkowski is COO of Guidant Global. He can be reached at bsalkowski (at) guidantglobal (dot) com.

Brian Salkowski

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