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This is where a select number of organizations excel at contingent workforce management

Posted by Alexandra Kane on Oct 22, 2019 8:00:00 AM
Alexandra Kane

The liquid workforce has become a major force in today’s businesses. Headlines spend plenty of time talking about freelancers, ICs and consultants, but this trend is about much more than headlines. 70% of businesses are using some part of the liquid workforce. 

What makes up that 70%? According to our research, about 40% of organizations use part-time employees, freelancers, consultants and independent contractors, and about 30% use temp workers from staffing firms. 

Chances are, your business is in the mix somewhere. But, odds are also likely that you’re not maximizing your investment in those liquid workers. 

In many cases, a majority of organizations are falling short in the management of liquid workers, which means there’s an incredible amount of potential. 

Organizations that are doing well at maximizing the liquid workforce are reaping the rewards: Higher productivity, less ramp up time, lower spend. Individually, these benefits make an impact. Collectively, that impact can be dramatic.

To turn around the numbers and start truly maximizing the liquid workforce, it’s important for you to learn from those organizations that ARE excelling at management of their liquid workers. What are they doing right? How are they effectively using and managing these increasingly important workers?

To start, they’re focusing their attention in these core areas:

Measuring contractor happiness more frequently

Knowledge really is power. Contractor satisfaction can flip on a dime -- understanding what’s frustrating (or thrilling) your liquid workforce can help you increase retention, improve productivity, increase redeployment, increase referrals, and so much more. All with a little knowledge. Those organizations that are constantly measuring contractor happiness are able to quickly pivot and address areas of concern, and double down on what’s working, to keep everyone working effectively and efficiently.

Effectively tracking the hours of contingent workers

Of those superstar organizations that self report they are effectively managing their liquid workers, 88% say that they are better at tracking the hours of those workers. This number is double that of low-performing organizations. When you know how and where your resources are spending their time and effort, it becomes much more efficient to maximize that effort.

Technology can play a major role here, including the use of automation tools like time clocks, GPS check-ins, biometrics and more. Managers are better able to assess productivity and performance, and can also better deliver that feedback in a timely way.  Improved backfilling of positions and shifts also helps optimize company productivity.

Engaged workers show a 22% boost in productivity, so it’s unsurprising that 4x more high-performing organizations have engagement metrics compared to their lower-performing counterparts.

Communicating effectively with their liquid workers

High-performing organizations are investing in tools and technology that help them effectively monitor and manage the hours of their contingent workers, leading to higher productivity and better allocation of resources. They are more likely  to prioritize engagement of their entire workforce, including liquid workers. So it’s not surprising that the organizations that are effectively managing their liquid workers also prioritize effective communication with their contingent workers.

Seventy-three percent of organizations that are effectively managing their contingent workers believe it’s “easy” to communicate with the liquid workforce -- nearly 3x the number of lower--performing firms. When firms invest in effective tracking and engagement of their workforce, it becomes significantly easier to communicate with those workers.  Two-thirds of these organizations are “always” delivering key updates to their liquid workers, keeping them informed and in the loop so they can effectively do their jobs. These organizations have clearly defined projects, milestones and methods of reporting key information and business outcomes.

Refining and monitoring the screening and selection of their talent 

There’s a pretty powerful trend to this point -- have you recognized it yet? The organizations successfully managing and leveraging the liquid workforce are more likely to have clearly defined standards and processes. They are also more likely to use the right technology in order to seamlessly integrate these standards and processes into their operations. 

Simultaneously, these high-performing organizations are evaluating their strategic partners on their processes and standards. This is particularly important for staffing firms, as a majority of our high-performing respondents (nearly 70%) will be carefully evaluating your screening and selection processes. They hold themselves to a high standard. For them to trust you with their business, they need to know that you hold yourself to similarly high standards. 

Investing in the right processes and technology to seamlessly integrate your own staffing processes into your client operations can help you  demonstrate your ability to help your clients improve productivity and ultimately, to save time and money. 

Are your processes and technologies helping you land forward-thinking clients? 

Businesses looking to better leverage the liquid workforce are looking for staffing partners who understand and are able to effectively attract, engage and manage these critical workers.  For more insights into the liquid workforce, download our full report with HR.com, Effectively Managing Today’s Liquid Workforce.

Topics: freelancers, gig workforce, independent contractors, liquid workforce, contingent workers

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