A reliable and strongly engaged contingent workforce is a valuable asset for any business. This is particularly true in industries like manufacturing and logistics, where the flexibility to respond to seasonality and fluctuations in client demand can be the key to business success.
Recent trends have shown that an increasing number of employers are recognising and leveraging the value of a flexible workforce. In a study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in Q1 2019, nearly 60% of companies said contingent staff made up at least 20% of their total workforce.
The top reasons given for using flex workers were:
- Greater agility
- Making cost savings
- Meeting project-specific needs
- Seasonal or variable business needs
- Accessing skills lacking in the permanent workforce
Given how beneficial a cost-effective, well-managed flexible workforce can be, it’s worth considering what your business could gain from a new approach to contingent talent.
Here are some pertinent questions that could help to guide your decision:
Is your contingent workforce programme tailored to your needs?
A generic, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach isn’t good enough if you want to get the best results out of your contingent labour programme. You should be looking for a tailored solution that is designed to reflect the unique characteristics and needs of your organisation.
There are many reasons why flexible staffing practices that have worked well enough in the past may no longer be fit for purpose.
If the business is going through a phase of rapid growth or expanding into a new geographical region, for example, you need a workforce solution that can meet your changing labour requirements in a cost-efficient way.
Are you working with more suppliers than you need?
One effective way to reduce unnecessary spending and maximise efficiency in your staff resourcing is to ensure you’re not working with more suppliers than you need.
Vendors have to be vetted and monitored, which takes time, and there are the obvious financial considerations involved in working with a range of suppliers.
Cutting your vendor network down to a limited number of trusted, reliable partners can free up your time and financial resources, as well as simplifying the process of finding the people you need.
Is your overtime spend too high?
Unsustainable overtime costs should be seen as a warning sign of inefficiency in your workforce management. Left unchecked, this can lead to major financial problems for the business.
This is a problem that can be managed with an effective flexible labour strategy. Working with an on-site business partner to manage your contingent workforce means you will have dedicated support in forecasting your HR needs and planning shift patterns to reduce overspend.
How many people are involved in hiring flex workers?
It’s not uncommon for businesses - particularly large organisations with multiple departments, each with their own HR requirements - to have various people involved in the process of hiring and onboarding contingent workers.
This can present some clear issues, such as the complexity, inflexibility and conflicting interests that often arise when too many people are incorporated into workforce decision-making.
It’s therefore worth taking the time to make sure that everyone involved in hiring flexible staff has a clear part to play and there is no duplication of responsibilities.
Can you attract the talent you need?
One of the most common obstacles facing businesses in many industries right now is identifying, acquiring and retaining the skills they need. In fact, talent shortage has been identified as the top emerging risk facing organisations around the world.
Your business could have a lot to gain from implementing a focused strategy that identifies your critical skills gaps and boosts your appeal to the most in-demand talent.
Optimising your employer brand is one of the most effective ways to attract and retain the people you need.
Do you know the risks?
A cost-effective and capable contingent workforce is a major asset, but using flexible labour can also present certain risks that every employer should be aware of.
There is the financial commitment involved in hiring workers, of course, but there are also legal and regulatory considerations such as misclassification, which can have significant financial and reputational repercussions.
Working with an on-site workforce management partner like Randstad Inhouse Services can help you mitigate these risks and maximise the benefits of a contingent labour force.
To learn more, download our complete guide to building and managing a flexible workforce.