Contingent workforce management programs (CWM) today must rely on a series of linked, holistic processes and capabilities that can enable proper control over engagement and management of non-employee talent. As the industry continues to evolve and grow, not only do the priorities within these programs shift, but so do the essential elements that are vital to ultimate contingent workforce management success.

The continuum of talent acquisition and talent management has been transformed, just as the strategic rise of non-employee labor has caused critical shifts in how businesses manage their workers. Years ago, many organizations would consider the cost-led/price-specific components of their programs to be the most vital to its success. In an age when the Gig Economy is a disruptive business force, the most crucial elements of CWM success revolve around the following aspects of a dynamic and evolutionary period in talent history:

  • The speed of talent engagement. For the past few years, the very notion of “talent” has supplanted “cost” as the prime focus of non-employee workforce management. However, this intricate switch does not simply translate into shifting capabilities towards engagement instead of supplier or spend management; the very speed in which talent is engaged and integrated into a business has become the most significant aspect of CWM success, which places incredibly emphasis on the on-demand talent world in which enterprises now operate.
  • Core contingent workforce management technology. Evolution would not be possible without the advent of progressive solutions within the contingent workforce industry. From the evolution of Vendor Management System (VMS) platforms to the rise of online staffing and online talent platforms, today’s businesses have been enabled with both the necessary functionality to find, engage, and source on-demand workers and manage them within the enterprise in a more strategic manner. Recent innovations within platforms such as VMS now enable unified sourcing and management of non-employee talent from various labor outlets (including self-sourced means and more traditional staffing suppliers), and are also actively linked to Future of Work attributes, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Internal collaboration. Strategy is a critical component of today’s CWM programs, and although innovation becomes a “blinding light,” organizations must stay tried-and-true in how they address the strategic components of their initiatives. Both procurement and HR/HCM play vital roles in managing the modern non-employee workforce; the most effective means of driving value from both the talent and spend/supplier management perspectives is to foster a culture that promotes true collaboration and co-leadership from these two functions. And, as the realm of “total workforce management” becomes an accepted component of the CWM program of the future, this collaboration will be a foundational asset.
  • Executive support for a new era of talent engagement. It is not uncommon for executive leaders to be exposed to the ramifications of the on-demand talent revolution or the gig economy. However, to be influenced by these factors is another story. True business leaders understand which new business forces are fads versus true differentiators; in the case of the gig economy, the majority (54%) of organizations in this year’s State of Contingent Workforce Management research study indicated that executive support for transforming talent engagement and acquisition strategies was a clear and vital component to success. Shifting away from legacy engagement and sourcing approaches cannot occur without business leaders, including the Chief Human Resources Officer (“CHRO”) or Chief Procurement Officer (“CPO”), not only understanding the impact of the evolving talent world, but also implementing new measures to complement this industry progression.

Interested in learning more about the evolution of talent and contingent workforce management? Make sure to subscribe to Contingent Workforce Weekly, the non-employee workforce industry’s only dedicated podcast.


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