The talent landscape continues to evolve and companies can no longer assume that a traditional employee-employer relationship is enough. “To attract talented people in this quickly evolving landscape, companies must proactively create an irresistible experience—a magnetic organization that empowered, free-agent people can’t help but want to join.”1 As consumers of contingent talent, we compete in competitive markets with evolving talent types, fluid worker management models, and an array of technologies to access sourcing platforms. To excel in sourcing, attracting, and retaining high-impact non-employee talent, effective contingent workforce management programs must focus on differentiators. What can set an organization apart are the experiences they create for people—not just what they do, but how they do it. At Deloitte, we talk about these as “Moments that Matter”—exceptional experiences that spark deep relationships and generate lasting value.2
There are many valid reasons to incorporate Moments that Matter as a key focus in your contingent worker management program. Consider a few of these examples:
- Contingent workers represent your brand. The contingent workforce carries the potential of reputational risk and can damage your brand if not managed appropriately. For example, if your program doesn’t have appropriate background check processes in place, you may unknowingly engage individuals who wouldn’t meet the bar set for your employees—a risk not worth taking.
- Contingent workers are your customers. Contingent workers are potential customers for your products and services, and your aim should be for them to have a positive experience with your company—giving you an entire second workforce of brand ambassadors at your fingertips.
- Contingent workers are potential employees. Although the workforce need may initially be temporary, exceptional talent often create a need to retain them as employees. Your program, policies, and systems should be designed to ease the transition from temporary to permanent, reducing time and cost to hire./li>
- Contingent workers have the potential to work for competitors. If their experience in your program is not exceptional, there’s little incentive for future contributions, and taking their knowledge and skills to a competitor becomes a liability.
Elevating the contingent experience
So, let’s examine the contingent workforce life cycle, and identify a few opportunities to elevate moments from mundane to meaningful. The typical temporary worker engagement follows a predictable process of first identifying a need for a non-employee worker, sourcing and identifying the specific worker to fill the need, onboarding into your company, and off-boarding upon the close of the engagement. This cycle presents numerous opportunities to design or capture Moments that Matter and still maintain a proper contingent worker-client relationship.
- Are your staffing needs funded in advance of interviewing possible workers? “False alarm” requests will eventually yield “no response” to your needs, and nothing leaves a more negative impression with candidates than pulling the requisition halfway through the selection process. Take the time to ensure your needs are funded before posting a position.
- Do you demonstrate the value of contingent workers as an important part of your total workforce? Too many companies have a two- or even three-tiered workforce, with employees at the top, SOW workers second, and temporary workers at the bottom. Your internal culture needs to emphasize the importance or your total workforce, regardless of the type of badge they wear.
- Are you engaging with the contingent workforce in modern ways? Are your systems up to date? Do you use mobile for basic actions like timecard submission? How do you use technology to share your contingent worker opportunities with potential candidates, and is your pipeline open and accessible?
- Is your pipeline stale? Your staffing agencies truly appreciate not “burning calories” on closed or dated requisitions. Keep your requisition pipeline up to date and limit time spent by candidates trying to gain the attention of a hiring manager who has already filled the position.
- Are your on- and off-boarding processes intuitive and efficient? Is there visibility into the accomplishment and progress of provisioning activities? Hiring managers need to oversee worker onboarding, but the individual contingent workers, much like employees, appreciate a process that is logical, expeditious, and offers an experience that facilitates a meaningful first day on assignment.
- Do your contingent workers receive performance feedback? Although formal assessments should be conducted by their employer (e.g., an agency you contract with), that formality does not restrict a hiring manager from capturing and recognizing moments of exceptional performance.
As you reflect on your contingent workforce program today, consider these Moments that Matter and design meaningful impact into your processes. This includes programs where contingent workforce program management has been outsourced to a third-party provider. MSPs (managed services providers) and VMS (vendor management system) providers are an extension of your company and represent your brand, and their adoption of these principles enhances their ability to deliver the exceptional experiences you seek for your contingent workers and hiring managers.
We’ll be sharing other examples of how companies are managing and deploying contingent workers as we explore more topics in the coming months. Even if contingent workers make up only a small part of your total workforce today, that may not be the case in the future as contingent workers continue to represent a large percentage of our workforce (as high as 35 percent in 20163). Taking care to position your organization as an employer of choice for all workers can set you apart and create a competitive advantage.
1 Is Your Organization Simply Irresistible? Creating an organization people will clamor to work for and hate to leave Deloitte, March 2018.
2 “The Employee experience: Culture, engagement, and beyond,” 2017 Global Human Capital Trends: Rewriting the rules for the digital age; Deloitte University Press, February 28, 2017.
3 Freelancing in America, 2016, Upwork in partnership with the Freelancers Union, October 6, 2016.