Don’t Be Distracted by the Circus

Come one, come all, to the greatest show on earth! You’ll find systems and services and suppliers, oh my! The Contingent workforce world has evolved to become a talented circus and menagerie of services to buy and marvel at.

It’s a different world and the way work is getting done has shifted dramatically within the last 15 years; it’s like going from Barnum and Bailey’s circus to Cirque de Soleil. With complex temporary worker and consulting usage models, the increased use of independent contractors, and changing regulatory guidelines, there are numerous things to consider and learn even as the industry continues to evolve in solutions, services and practices.

Buyers new to the arena may be overwhelmed by the differing skills that specialists present, wary of the images the House of Mirrors projects or feel like they are walking on the tight rope themselves as they enter into the contingent workforce strategies (CWS) and management arena. The strategic management of a company’s contingent workforce population can initially feel daunting; first by the task scope, then by the solutions the industry has developed to help.

It’s important for every buyer to consider their program’s requirements and select the solution that best fits their program; not the best sales presentation, most recognized supplier name or first act that comes their way.  Buyers can sometimes be wowed by the bells, whistles and flash and accidentally miss mandatory requirements their program set out to solve. Buyers should make sure that their initial and basic needs are met first and then consider, and enjoy, the delights that follow.

Another common mistake is for buyers to be carried away by the first solution or supplier they learn about instead of researching and understanding the larger market. First-to-show is not always best-in-show. By evaluating multiple options, buyers can determine which best fits their program goals and introduce competition for better pricing.

There is no one answer, solution or supplier for all; every program is different and every program and company has specific needs and cultural relevancies that must be considered. The circus offers many options, promises many things and sells many people with varying strategies; simple or consistent advertising, friendliness, persistence, sugar, or promising to be the “greatest show on earth.” It’s a bright and colorful show, with plenty to look at and plenty to get excited about; just remember it’s not a one-ring circus … so look around! And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, welcome to the Big Top.

Erika Novak

Erika Novak
Erika Novak (Halverson) is senior manager of global contingent workforce solutions and strategies at LinkedIn.

Erika Novak

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