The New Talent Strategy: Contingent Workers

We've long heard that there's a skills gap in many industries- healthcare, the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have had particular difficulty in finding top talent.  Companies across the nation have felt the sting of trying to recruit top talent to fill open positions.  They don't call it a war for talent for nothing. But when candidates are in short supply, a solid talent strategy should be in place to address finding qualified candidates that consists of more than just poaching talent from competitors. Savvy companies are readjusting their efforts.  Are contingent workers a part of your new talent strategy?

Contingent Workers to Fill in the Gaps

With a consistent skills gap, many companies have embraced a new talent strategy.  Increasingly, this includes contingent workers. As a result, contingent workers are a fast growing segment of the economy.  According to the Government Accountability Office, 40% of American workers are now classified as contingent workers.  This includes a variety of different employee models, including freelancers, SOW (statement of work) workers, and temporary labor.  The contingent workforce is traditionally characterized by their mobile nature and nonstandard work agreements.  Recent research from Staffing Industry Analysts suggests that 18% of an average company's workforce is now made up of contingent workers.  In healthcare, RightSourcing has found that this is significantly higher, with healthcare clients increasing their use of healthcare contingent workers by another 41% in 2015. 

Yet with any new talent strategy, there are new challenges, opportunities, and things to consider. Has your talent strategy adjusted to include the following:

  • MSP Partnership.  Sourcing and recruiting contingent workers can be tricky.  Most companies that use contingent workers use staffing suppliers to obtain these workers.  This can require relationships with dozens of staffing suppliers, or more.  In healthcare, successful contingent worker programs often require relationships with over 100 staffing suppliers in order to find qualified contingent workers to bring onsite. This can be difficult for any company to maintain over time.  An MSP partnership can be the solution companies need.  Using an MSP partner, companies are able to outsource this function, gaining access to thousands of staffing suppliers, advanced market rate intelligence, increased operational efficiencies, cost savings, and more. An MSP partner typically saves companies between 8-18% overall and is able to be a central point of contact for a successful contingent labor program. 
  • VMS Technology.  VMS systems are similar to CRM's and ATS systems but better.  A VMS solution, (vendor management system) is a great way for companies to communicate directly with staffing suppliers, review candidates, collect compliance documentation, and even facilitate onboarding.  These systems are highly sophisticated, providing deep insight into areas of spend, candidate progress, and more.  A VMS solution can guide any company with strategic analytics that directly impact their ability to obtain contingent workers. 
  • Employee conversion programs.  Often, companies use contingent workers to evaluate candidates prior to making them an offer of full time employment. After all, the best way to find out if a candidate can do the job is to test them with real work scenarios.  Using contingent workers, a company can find out easily if they'd be a productive member of the team.  Yet, when these workers are successful, conversion can be tricky.  This is why a conversion program should be created and implemented so Talent Acquisition and HR can work together to ensure a successful employee experience.
  • Outsourcing on-boarding and off-boarding.  When using contingent workers, on-boarding and off-boarding can become a never ending process.  In some industries, the amount of documentation and training alone would require a staff of full-time individuals to manage the process.  Outsourcing this function can free up HR's time to focus on the business of employee engagement instead.  

The skills gap has required a significant adjustment to hiring strategies. If hiring contingent workers is not yet a part of your talent strategy, try these strategies for success. 

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