Pandemic impacts have forced a re-examination of the concept of employment. How can organizations benefit from tapping into contingent resources and staffing services?
Contingent labor is on the rise.
Pandemic impacts have forced a broader re-examination of the concept of employment, with many workers relying on contract work to help navigate a stormy job market marked by massive surges and downturns. On top of that, digital transformation, accelerated market evolution and constant change have caused businesses to seek more diverse, niche and highly skilled talent on shorter timelines.
For employers and employees alike, contingent work provides flexible options in an uncertain environment. The numbers bear this out — according to the most recent estimate from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, contingent workers make up 40% of the workforce in the United States, and those numbers are expected to continually increase throughout the 2020s.
As the contingent workforce continues its rise in prominence, businesses will need to evaluate opportunities to draw on this increasingly indispensable talent pool. To get started, below are four key reasons to consider contingent labor solutions.
As COVID-19 illustrated, responsiveness to market disruptions can be an organization's greatest competitive advantage. Some businesses were able to adapt quickly, while others struggled.
Organizational responsiveness bears out across multiple layers at once. Many initiatives, such as new operating software or project management methodologies, are intended to drive flexibility at the institutional level. But there’s also a need to increase responsiveness across smaller individual projects.
Contingent labor can be a key mechanism for improving the delivery speed and success of key objectives at any layer of application. When evaluating priorities, consider the potential benefits of having the flexibility to ramp up, slim down or augment team capabilities for both major and minor initiatives.
Contingent labor not only increases organizational flexibility; it can also provide a strategic advantage when executing critical projects.
For example, hiring a contingent project manager for the duration of a short but high-effort project can be more effective than pulling full-time employees away from daily workflows. Additionally, for projects that require ongoing involvement from in situ stakeholders, contingent staff can handle daily operations as full-time employees divert their attention to higher-priority workflows.
While offboarding is built into the contingent labor hiring process, businesses can also evaluate converting contingent professionals to full-time employees whenever needed to promote internal retention of critical subject matter and project knowledge.
This baked-in flexibility makes contingent labor increasingly essential for any business that experiences predictable fluctuations in customer demand. It also adds value for organizations that could experience unpredictable changes stemming from economic climates, events or industry and government regulations.
Many organizations were planning digital transformation initiatives before the pandemic, but sudden pivots to remote work during COVID-19 dramatically accelerated timelines. Companies that implemented decentralized digital methodologies leading into 2020 now have an edge on the competition and an opportunity to lead the way in innovative approaches to operational flexibility and efficiency.
Digital transformation is a complex endeavor. It should be strategic, well-planned and carefully executed. It’s also an ongoing process that requires extensive and custom interconnected capabilities. There’s no boilerplate digital transformation plan that works for every organization. Timelines, technologies and talent have to be specialized to fit your particular business needs.
That’s where leveraging contingent labor can come in handy. Contingent work is valuable and incredibly flexible. It can fill gaps in the digital transformation process, from high-level consultancy and assessment work to on-the-ground execution.
Along with digital transformation, governance, risk and compliance (GRC) has emerged as a predominant topic in many C-suite discussions.
As with any capability that rapidly rises to prominence, organizations searching for talent with GRC skills have found a limited supply of expertise available in both local and national markets. Many GRC specialists find consulting more attractive than long-term positions due to the networking, variety of work and skills development that consultancy offers. Staffing firms can therefore help fill knowledge gaps from the top down by providing consultants to advise on GRC initiatives.
Comprehensive professional service models that involve consulting options such as managed services will continue to evolve with innovative solutions for organizations to tap into scarce — but crucial — GRC skills to meet needs across all levels of an organization.
For example, an organization that requires flexible support to prepare for a risk assessment might consider exploring a professional services option. A managed services provider can develop a scalable support model that provides consultants for advisory needs, financial analysts for remodeling, project managers to facilitate implementation, and trainers to get new talent up to speed. This allows organizations to hand off tasks associated with project setup and execution while retaining visibility and oversight of the work.
Contingent labor and professional services can provide efficient solutions for specific organizational challenges, whether in support of GRC, digital transformation efforts or improving overall responsiveness to market changes. Now is the time for organizations to consider partnering with a contingent labor service provider to help find the right mix of talent and flexible solutions.
If your organization is looking for strategic guidance on contingent labor solutions and service offerings, reach out to Aston Carter.
Other entries in our Deep-Dive Insights Series on job market trends:
Keys for Success in Hiring and Retaining a Remote Workforce
4 Ways to Thrive in a Remote Work Environment