The Importance of Optimizing the Contingent Worker Experience

The contingent workforce is growing - and both workers and employers are enjoying the benefits of great flexibility in the workplace.

Organizations that can present contingent workers with a consistent, hassle-free experience will enjoy a range of competitive advantages, including higher retention and re-hiring rates, improved talent pools and more.      

JoinedUp gives hirers the power to automate much of the hard work and reap the benefits of engaging with the growing contingent workforce.

More employers now rely on independent workers to plug specific skill and labor gaps.

With no long-term contractual commitments, such arrangements offer unparalleled flexibility and cost-effectiveness for both workers and hiring organizations.

They also present significant administration and management challenges as hirers struggle to manage separate processes for their full-time and contingent staff, especially when dealing with large numbers of contingent workers.

If hirers fail to get their processes right, they risk losing all of the benefits that make working with the contingent labor market so attractive.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why it’s crucial to present contingent workers with streamlined recruitment, onboarding, management and end-of-contract processes.

Defining the Contingent Worker

Contingent workers are independent workers contracted to provide specific services within an organization.

Businesses spent $4.4 trillion on contingent labor globally in 2020, according to data from Staffing Industry Analysts

They're often employed to fulfil consultancy, advisory and other skilled roles. Unlike full-time workers, contingent staff may work on a per-project basis when needed. They generally don’t expect to receive lifelong work and aren’t on the company payroll.

Contracts for contingent workers can last anything from a few days to several months or years and may also be indefinite until a specific project or goal is completed. 

See our previous article How do Shift-Based Workers Fit in Your Contingent Labor Workforce

Contingent Worker Challenges

Presenting a smooth, efficient and consistent experience for contingent workers is one of the most significant challenges faced by hiring organizations.

They often find themselves with several separate HR and management workflows for full-time and contingent workforces.

Many still rely on methods like spreadsheets, printed records or outdated management software that hasn’t kept pace with the changing labor market and the needs of modern employers.

To complicate things further for hirers, there’s little integration or automated ‘communication’ between separate channels and the manual administration needed to manage them is complex, time-consuming and costly.

Adopting a simple, unified and more automated approach to contingent worker management lets organizations leave behind outdated ways of working and meet the sophisticated needs of the contingent worker. In doing so, they’ll save time and money, and boost productivity.

Recruitment and Onboarding

Presenting a consistent experience for contingent workers begins with assessment, recruitment and onboarding.

And the success of any contingent worker placement will depend on whether end-hirers can get the process right. 

As well as making sure the candidate has the appropriate experience for the role, hirers also have to consider a whole host of contractual admin - especially in regulated industries where there are legal and licensing requirements in place for fulfilling roles.

The series of complex, yet vital, responsibilities continues during the onboarding process in which organizations must make sure contingent workers are familiar with HR and health and safety procedures, and make sure they align with organizational culture.

Getting any part of the recruitment and onboarding process wrong could result in legal or reputational costs that could prove fatal to the organization.  

Productivity and Responsiveness

Skill needs can be fluid and unpredictable. Organizations need to respond rapidly to shifting market conditions and fulfil specific project or organizational-based skills shortages.

They may deal with several agencies or talent pools to achieve this. But they’re often let down by old-fashioned working methods and a lack of any central real-time management system.

The consequences are far-reaching: operating in an understaffed or underskilled environment drives demotivation among the full-time workforce. 

And it could also see organizations miss vital project deadlines or fail to meet other commercial goals.

Retention

The reliance on outdated administration and management systems isn’t just a problem for agencies and hirers. It can also cause significant issues for contingent workers.

Where full-time workers are often motivated by stable long-term job prospects, contingent workers move from organization to organization. They may even work with several companies at the same time.

Tasks like time-keeping, invoicing and contract administration are all part of the job - and if those become unnecessarily complex or time-consuming, there’s little preventing independent workers from switching to an organization that presents fewer headaches.

Present a JoinedUp Experience for Contingent Workers

JoinedUp lets hirers and agencies centralize communication, HR and management systems to deliver seamless, consistent journeys for contingent workers and the independent workforce.

To find out how JoinedUp can help you improve efficiency with a seamless approach to multi-labor source management, talk to one of our experts today.