In a recent article in the Staffing Industry Analyst, the writer talked about how companies are transitioning from being operational about their contingent workforce to becoming more strategic. Management of contingent workforces used to be more operational or tactical meaning they were mostly used in crisis or reactive mode. Examples of this are filling a position on a temporary basis when an employee leaves until you hire a full time person or hurriedly bringing on more workers during unexpected increases in business. We are now seeing companies becoming more strategic or proactive in their use of contingent workers in cases such as:
- Testing alternative solutions
- Driving new initiatives
- Optimizing the workforce for a period of time
- Addressing expected increases in demand
- Reducing labor costs
Since the Great Recession in December 2007, the demand for contingent workers (temporary workers, part-time workers, consultants, independent contractors, interim executives, offshore workers, etc.) increased significantly.
Fact. In 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 307,000 (26%) of the 1.17 million private sector jobs added were temporary jobs. Since the beginning of 2012, contingent workforce employment grew 24%.
Fact. A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit reports that 67% of interviewed executives plan to maintain a leaner organization through the use of contingent workforces.
For real examples of the results that interim and part-time executives have achieved in strategic roles visit the Cerius Client Results page of our website.
So how can you strategically use a contingent workforce in your company?
- First of all, stop thinking all workers you hire need to be full time employees. It is expensive and it will kill your business. With contingent workers you don’t have benefit, recruitment, screening, hiring, equipment, training and severance costs and you can do it without a large initial investment and no long-term contracts.
- Plan when your seasonal fluctuations, growth or expansion are to occur so you can bring on the right amount of short-term talent to take on the additional workload that your employees can’t handle.
- Add contingent workers into your strategic plan to take on new initiatives or projects where you are lacking the expertise or the bandwidth within your employees. By doing this you will reduce your risks by getting the expertise you need and reduce turnover by not overworking your full time employees.
- Periodically review your talent management strategies to determine which positions within your workforce need to be full time employees and which could be contingent.
- When you need specific projects or initiatives done quickly and correctly. A recent study showed that contingent workers are better performers than full time employees because they feel a strong need to prove themselves in the job.
- Contingent workers bring flexibility and outside perspective that you won’t get with your existing employees thus bringing more innovation and creativity to your company.
Every day we witness companies that surpass their competitors in innovation and growth because they’ve learned to use contingent workforces to control costs, test new initiatives, become more agile, and provide outside perspectives.