Example: Tenure Length
Jennifer Barker shared how her group tackled a problematic area around tenure policy. She acknowledged that they reviewed several industries and best practices only to find that they recommended that tenure should be from 12 to 24 months. Jennifer’s group originally limited tenure to 12 months, but after some evaluation realized that 24-month tenure was more appropriate for the kinds of projects they were doing. Although it may seem like they went to the fringe of what was considered “best practices,” it turned out that this move shifted the foundation of the quality of candidates they were seeing come through.
By paying close attention to what’s going on in the marketplace, Ameriprise was able to take a deeper look into how those best practices could impact, for better or for worse, the quality of contingent talent they were able to cultivate.
Example: Rate Compliance
When crafting a contingent talent strategy, it’s critical to know when to break the rules. Being 100% compliant means that programs will constantly overpay for talent. Jennifer Barker and Sarah Koshiol agreed that when it comes to rates, it’s about quality, not quantity. They stressed that it’s helpful to think of rate sheets as the full retail price, and understand that the actual price will shift depending on the specifics of the contingent worker with whom they’re negotiating.
On average, paying 80% of the rate makes sense. This leaves you flexibility to splurge on full-priced (or above-rate) talent when trying to fill a challenging role — or when an exceptional candidate shows up. Ensuring that there’s a rationale for the choices you make when paying top dollar for talent means that you can educate your hiring managers to make great decisions.
Open Doors With Communication
When program owners are dealing stakeholders that range from executives, to hiring managers to candidates themselves, communication is key to success. Here are a few takeaways to make communication a friend, not a foe
Feedback Loops for Fun and Profit
Another often-overlooked (yet critical) piece of an effective contingent talent strategy is the need to put a feedback mechanism in place. Ensure that you’re listening — not only to the metrics, but also to the end users that are experiencing the process. Whether feedback is coming from suppliers, hiring managers, or management, understanding any pain points that exist in people’s the day-to-day process can help build a stronger and more effective program.
In many circumstances, departments in organizations are going rogue: hiring, billing, and screening people in ways that might not be compliant with company policy. Operating outside of company policy opens the door to liability, and tackling this challenge starts by showing each of the stakeholders who are hiring independently the distinct value you bring to their groups. Demonstrate how your group makes their lives easier by saving them time and money. The real key to the success of this type of program is demonstrating consistency and value. When you’re able to demonstrate your value proposition effectively, risk and cost diminish.
Efficiency and Mitigation
Time and money are precious resources in almost every organization. Making sure that you’re not putting the company at risk is one of your chief responsibilities. Here are a few ways to ensure you’re staying on top of them.
Don’t Let Rote Tasks Get the Better of You
The foundation piece of a successful contingent talent strategy is having standard, repeatable processes that you can rely on for at least 80% of day-to-day transactions — leaving you time and attention for unforeseen circumstances that demand a unique solution.
Avoiding Pitfalls of Contingent Talent Programs
If avoiding the common pitfalls is critical to the success of your program, then you’ll love the four steps our expert, Sarah Koshiol, shared.
Align, Access, Design, and Build
When Contingent Talent Programs Age
Even if you’re not starting from square one, there’s still an opportunity to use this four-step model to optimize your current programs. You don’t need to start from scratch if your existing process just needs to be realigned. Optimizing will allow you to hold onto what works well while saving your organization money, time, and effort.
And ultimately, the re-evaluation should be able to answer the question: Do these answers change the way we leverage and configure the VMS?
The Importance of Measurement and Business Insights
Leveraging your technology (from MSP to VMS) to pull in external data to a single source of truth, then marrying that data with external benchmark information, will keep you ahead of the game. As this industry evolves, the focus of technology is no longer just about tracking temp resources. Lack of visibility is a risk — and staying ahead of it is one of the biggest drivers for improving contingent talent programs.
The goal of business insights is to give both stakeholders and program owners total workforce analytics. When talent is your key strategy for delivering a product and/or service, it also becomes a key differentiator. Non-employees play a significant role in a company’s overall objective, which is why being informed about total workforce analytics is a strategic business play. This fact alone warrants broader stakeholder involvement (beyond just procurement) when it comes to assessing non-employee utilization.
To Sum Up
Contingent talent isn’t just about backfilling a position that’s on maternity leave. It’s a strategic differentiator that sets a company up to win — when the right people are in the right role, doing the work in the way that’s right for the circumstance. The contingent workforce grew over 200% last year, and it will continue to grow as the way we do work changes. Getting your program in place, allowing it room to mature, and utilizing best-in-class tools are the keys to long-term prosperity and risk aversion.
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