For business leaders in IT and other field service industries, contingent labor offers endless financial benefits. The shift from using traditional W-2 employees to contractors allows businesses to reduce the costs of recruiting, training, and insuring new employees. Aside from its cost savings, contingent labor also offers flexible, scalable, and efficient workforce solutions that improve performance metrics.
Contractors can fill-in gaps at a moment’s notice without impacting the flow of production or quality of service.
Contractors allow organizations to scale up or down to meet seasonal demands or geographic expansions.
Contractors offer a specialized skill set, meaning they already have the talent and expertise for the job.
As the demands of your industry change, having access to a broad talent pool is essential to staying ahead of the competition. To fully maximize on the benefits of contingent labor you’ll need to choose the right digital platform to actively scout and manage contractors. Without the right platform, you’ll spend more time scouting for the right talent and less time meeting service demands.
Getting started with contingent labor
A successfully blended workforce, consisting of both W-2 employees and contractors, requires ongoing communication and detailed tracking. Without these components, you run the risk of misclassifying contractors or creating tension among full-time and contingent workers. These risks can also negatively impact customer satisfaction and retention, resulting in low Key
Performance Indicators (KPI).
In getting started with contingent labor, business leaders face three common concerns: sourcing talent, integrating employees, and aligning business goals, shown below.
The three main challenges to getting started with contingent labor:
- Sourcing the right talent
- Integrating contractors with full-time employees
- Aligning contingent labor with growing business demands
Remember that getting started in contingent labor doesn’t have to be complicated. By using the right tools and platform, you can eliminate these concerns, without compromising quality or service.
Sourcing contingent workers
One of the benefits of contingent labor is its flexibility. Using a broad talent pool, businesses can meet shifts in service demands – in terms of volume, geography, and skill sets – without investing large amounts of time and resources.
Sourcing quality talent can prove challenging. Traditional staffing methods lack geographic reach, may be cost prohibitive, and may not move fast enough for today’s business needs. Few resources in the crowded online staffing arena offer truly scalable, enterprise-class solutions.
Talent Marketplaces are now offering more powerful solutions. With thousands of vetted, qualified, high-skilled independent contractors requesting work each day, these marketplaces offer clients, fast, efficient ways to source and deploy workers for large-scale projects. Many marketplaces also offer integration options, for even more efficient overall project management.
To find the right contractor, your work management system needs to:
- Scout and vet candidates across the globe to expand your coverage
- Filter contractors based on experience, skill sets, and certifications
- Help you to negotiate fees so you get the best price for each service
- Receive checkpoints throughout projects for quality assurance
- Process contracts, tax forms, and final payment on a single platform
- Track progress and engage contractors to meet deadlines
Integrating contingent workers with full-time employees
Blended workforces, also called contingent staffing models, involve the mixing of skilled, independent contractors with full-time employees. This type of integration is only effective if all employees are working toward the same goal. Poor management of full-time staff and contingent workers may create animosity in the workplace. It may also lead to employees feeling undervalued or confused about their position in your organization.
What are the best practices for integrating a blended workforce?
One of the best ways to integrate contingent workers with full-time employees is to clearly define roles and responsibilities. Because contingent workers are paid differently and work on-demand, you’ll need to classify them appropriately to avoid confusion. This will also protect your business from misclassifying employees as contractors, which can result in costly legal disputes down the road.
It’s also good practice to encourage regular check-in points with teams assigned to a particular project. This will allow both permanent staff and contractors to interact daily and work together to hit performance targets. This practice may also reveal your employees’ attitudes regarding contingent labor. If their attitudes are unenthusiastic, you’ll need to address the issue to prevent this tension from affecting production.
How are best practices accomplished?
Using a digital platform that encourages W-2 employees and contractors to communicate will enhance the integration process. From status updates to customer feedback, both full-time and contingent workers will have the ability to easily collaborate on projects. Most importantly, they will work together to drive the business forward.
Aligning contingent labor with growing business demands
A major concern among field service managers and executives is how contingent labor will impact customer service. This concern most likely comes from the misconception that short-term work equals low-quality effort. On the contrary, contractors are highly skilled and knowledgeable business owners with years of industry experience. And like you, their time is valuable, so they expect good communication, direction, and prompt payment for their services.
Communication is essential to managing people, whether they are W-2 employees or contingent workers. For onboarding and managing contingent labor, you’ll want to incorporate an effective delivery approach to assign roles and responsibilities and outline expectations.
Using an online talent platform, like Freelance Management System (FMS), allows you to train, manage, and communicate with contingent workers by:
- Assigning tasks
As the demand for service coverage increases, you can easily assign tasks to vetted contractors with detailed descriptions of responsibilities.
- Creating touchpoints
Establishing touch points throughout a project allows managers to maintain visibility on task performance and process. Similarly, it allows contractors to stay on target and track hours.
- Establishing quality assurance metrics
Having all the information on one digital platform allows you to examine progress collectively and compare results to performance targets.
Remember, to contract workers, you represent both the employer and client. It’s in their best interest to perform at the highest level of quality if they want your continued business.
As the digital age continues to evolve, getting started in contingent labor is easier than ever. Today, organizations all over the world can experience the cost savings benefits of a blended workforce to fill in labor gaps and accomplish work faster. With the right tools and freelance management platform, businesses can achieve higher performance metrics and stay competitive in the field service industry.