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move from intent to realization in the contingent workforce world.

Forward-thinking employers adopt intentional design for contingent labor management

Forward-thinking employers adopt intentional design for contingent labor management

In today's dynamic business environment, organizations increasingly rely on a contingent workforce comprising freelancers, contractors and non-traditional workers to get work done. This flexible workforce allows companies to remain agile and responsive to shifting market dynamics, while also giving them access to highly-skilled professionals. However, many organizations grapple with the challenge of aligning their workforce management strategies with their intended goals.

intent versus outcomes: striking the balance

Workforce management encompasses two primary spheres: planned activity and ad-hoc activity. The former most often involves traditional permanent employees and projections of hiring needs and skill requirements. The latter hinges on the business’ ability to adapt swiftly to unforeseen shifts in business demands, making it crucial during periods of rapid acceleration or deceleration.

A common challenge companies face is the gap between their workforce management aspirations and the outcomes realized. While considerable planning goes into the hiring of permanent employees, companies often overlook the details when it comes to contingent labor management. While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to contingent workforce management, allowing your contingent workforce management to evolve organically is a misstep. That’s why the leaders in this space are increasingly adopting principles of intentional design in their contingent labor management efforts. They understand that flexibility should not translate to randomness; instead, it can be a helpful tactic when done right.

the power of skills-based hiring

Central to the concept of intentional design is the notion of skills-based hiring, which prioritizes specific skills and motivations required for projects, regardless of whether the people are already present within your organization or the contingent workforce. Skills-based hiring acknowledges that skills go beyond specific job roles, encompassing all types of working arrangements.

As an employer, you need to figure out your essential skills, stay ahead of market needs and build a workforce that smoothly blends full-time employees with contingent workers. And don't forget, businesses should amp up their employer brand game to draw in high-quality contingent talent. You need to be the go-to place for skills, no matter your job type.

crafting a comprehensive strategy

As with all workforce categories, the contingent workforce is a valuable asset when managed intentionally. Adopting skills-based hiring allows you to shift the focus from outdated barriers to accessing talent, as first and foremost, it emphasizes the importance of matching the right skills with the right tasks. Workforce type and location are considered secondary factors, prioritized after ensuring the presence of the necessary skills for optimal performance at work.

Given today’s fluctuating labor market, this approach allows for far more flexibility while still taking into account other factors.

When you have a team of full-time employees, you're essentially creating a collective knowledge base, and a core DNA that's unique to your organization. This is a fundamental characteristic of traditional employment structures.

The idea of forming a versatile group of non-employees is not new, but its deployment and composition are evolving in response to prevailing labor market conditions. This evolution is essential to truly unlock the perfect synergy between skills and work. These non-employees not only understand your company culture but also seamlessly integrate into your organizational DNA. They contribute to the intellectual property pool and are more likely to remain within your orbit rather than moving from one company to another.

Having a total workforce that aspires and is motivated to get work done, is a key component to sustained performance. By adding the non-employee population to this mix, you are turbo-charging your workforce potential.

cultivating knowledge and cultural synergy

Imagine this scenario: Someone who occasionally works with your organization might explore opportunities elsewhere, perhaps within the same industry or beyond. Yet, they keep returning, drawn by a sense of belonging and a shared identity – forging a deeper connection with your organization's culture and values than with other brands or businesses in the industry.

This brings us to a central theme: How do you cultivate a reservoir of knowledge, intellectual property and cultural synergy within a non-employee workforce? The goal is to establish a mechanism to continually redeploy these individuals over time. It's not about repetitive cycles of the same assignments, but allowing them to explore diverse experiences, both within and beyond your industry.

Imagine a person dedicating about 35% of their time to engagements with your organization over a span of six or 10 years, while their contribution to other brands totals two or three years at best. This pattern illustrates the unique bond that can form with your projects and your company, epitomizing the essence of this evolving trend. It's all about skill-based cataloging within the non-employee workforce, promoting a dynamic, long-term relationship with your organization.

pioneering the future of contingent management

In today's ever-changing business landscape, mastering contingent workforce management is not just a matter of intent — it's a strategic imperative. The balance between intent and outcomes, the significance of intentional design, and the power of skills-based hiring are all principles that guide us toward a more agile, efficient workforce.

But our focus continues into the realm of nurturing a non-employee workforce — a community that extends beyond traditional job roles. It's about cultivating knowledge, intellectual property, and cultural synergy within this dynamic workforce, continually deploying their unique skills. For effective contingent workforce management, we need intention, innovation and a dedication to embracing new ways of working.

Ready to adopt intentional design for contingent labor management? Learn more about our advisory services.