For employers struggling to recruit talent into their organizations, many are turning to alternative forms of employment to help fill the void. One such group is that of the contingent variety. If you’re looking to create a contingent workforce, keep reading.
While contingent workers can make organizations nimbler, they can also create risks for the brand and employee trust. Many times, decisions around contingent workers are developed as a matter of expediency. A lack of detailed planning in developing a holistic workforce strategy that protects, if not enhances, an organization’s brand can have long-term repercussions, including a negative perception from full-time workers.
“Organizations need to be transparent about the policies, practices, and methods they use for contingent work,” says Heather Ryan, Principal in Mercer’s Career business. “Given contingent workers are a growing part of the employment ecosystem, this is an unavoidable trend.”
In fact, according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Survey, 79% of executives expect that contingent and freelance workers will substantially replace full-time employees in the coming years, so ignoring this option means losing access to a critical part of the talent pool.
Opportunities for wider talent access can be achieved by deploying four key strategies for a contingent workforce:
1) Consider what work fits a contingent workforce. Clearly define what work is suitable for contingent roles. Outlining and monitoring the nature of work of permanent versus contingent workers are the first steps to ensuring organizations do not have an unsustainable overlap between the two.
2) Let permanent employees switch to contingent work if that suits their needs. Breaking down barriers to allow workers to switch from permanent to contingent—and vice versa—may keep talent that would otherwise leave.
3) Make contingent workers part of the team. Deploying contingent workers so that an organization can squeeze them for a short duration will negatively impact a company brand. Instead, look at this workforce as part of the company by including them in upskilling opportunities and company events.
4) Be transparent about rewards. This will reduce the perception that an imbalance exists between contingent workers and permanent employees.
With these considerations in mind, organizations should review people-processes and capabilities to ensure they are fit for the reality of today’s diverse sources of talent. A company’s reputation drives more than results: it drives the ability to build the workforce for the future and to connect with customers who increasingly value the brand of company they buy from.
If done well, the use of a contingent workforce can mean more choice for current employees, access to a broader talent pool, and new compensation ways to reward different forms of contributions.