Solve Hiring Challenges with Contingent Workers

According to a 2013 Addecco Staffing survey, 92% of executives believe there is a very real "skills gap" that prevents employers from finding and hiring top talent.  Many thought leaders in the recruiting and staffing industry have weighed in on whether the skills gap is real or imagined.  But it's clear that in certain sectors, such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) there are not enough workers with the desired skill set available in local talent pools.  In response, many organizations have sought to get creative.  Some employers have sought to reach beyond local talent pools, hiring workers located abroad.  Others have sought to train existing employees to embrace new skill sets, and others have turned to hiring contingent workers to obtain the talent they need. 

The Manpower Group estimates that contingent workers will grow to 64.9 million workers in America by 2020. Particularly in the healthcare field, where jobs such as registered nurses have spiked in demand by a whopping 34.6%, contingent workers have become a preferred solution to close the skills gap. As the American economy continues to improve and workers increasingly value flexibility in their work, the contingent worker trend shows no signs of slowing. Employers seeking to fill difficult positions are increasingly embracing this trend. But do you know how to hire these contingent workers strategically?

Strategically Hire Contingent Workers

Contingent workers have become one of the leading ways organizations fill vacant positions.  In the healthcare sector, these workers are available to help already overworked staff address growing concerns regarding patient care.  These workers provide the necessary support that hospitals need during busy flu seasons, community health programs, and more.  But hiring contingent workers and managing them is no easy feat.  Many organizations have found that recruiting, training, on-boarding, managing and off-boarding them can be extremely costly and difficult.  Try the following tips to hire and manage your contingent workforce better:

  • Use a Vendor Management System.  Vendor Management Systems (VMS) are a growing trend in managing contingent workers.  This technology has grown in popularity because managing contingent workers and managing risk has become extremely difficult.  With so many moving pieces involved in a contingent work assignment, many organizations find they are unable to develop transparency and risk management strategies on their own.  VMS providers are able to offer software that solves this problem with centralized data management, vendor classification, contract and data storage, payrolling capabilities, and more. VMS systems allow organizations to gain a comprehensive view of their risk, costs, and data and to manage it proactively.
  • Partner with a Contingent Workforce Management provider. In order to hire contingent workers, many organizations must keep lengthy lists of staffing companies in the hopes of obtaining the talent they need.  Using one supplier to manage the hiring of contingent workers simplifies the process and saves organizations money.  Under this model, one supplier would manage multiple staffing companies.  Using a vendor neutral approach, this allows organizations to obtain the best talent at the best rates and best contingent workers. Staffing suppliers are better able to determine organizations' needs under this model, proactively competing to provide the best talent at the best rates. With a dedicated program manager, staffing suppliers are also better able to forecast placement, working to develop targeted talent pools.
  • Develop strategic labor strategies.  When hiring contingent workers, it's important to have an overall strategic labor strategy.  Stakeholders should meet to define the size and scope of the project requiring contingent workers, which roles are critical to its success, budgetary guidelines, and opportunities that may exist to hire contingent workers full time after the assignment has ended.  Often, contingent workers are highly skilled workers who seek autonomy and flexibility in their work environment.  Organizations that can provide these options could find they are better positioned to hire these workers after their assignments end.  In many cases, organizations find this to be a wonderful recruiting tool for their next great hire.  A solid labor strategy will help identify these opportunities, reducing vacancies in the organization as a whole.
  • Develop a system for performance management. Once contingent workers are hired, it's important to check in and see how they're doing. Because these workers are often project based, clear guidelines must be established to determine what a successful assignment would look like, how the talent will be evaluated, and how contingent workers will be managed if they're not accomplishing project goals. 

In many industries, organizations are facing an uphill battle to hire during a skills gap.  With the addition of contingent workers, this makes hiring in these industries easier with opportunities for organizations to save time, save money, and to effectively manage risk. 

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