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Best Practices for Managing a Contingent Workforce

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​At Cpl Technology Contractor Solutions, we have seen first-hand the transformational value the right contingent workers can have on an organisation.

However, effective management of these individuals is essential for successfully executing the projects and tasks they've been hired for.

Utilising independent professionals is a growing trend, with more organisations integrating them into their workforce. According to a recent survey of business leaders, 80% were already using contingent workers in their organisation and 65% planned to increase their reliance on them in the next two years.

What is a contingent worker?

A contingent worker is a professional who works for a company but is not employed permanently.

Unlike permanent employees who have an ongoing work relationship with the hiring company, contingent workers are engaged on a project-by-project basis. There are different types of contingent workers, which include:

How do you engage contingent workers?

Hiring contingent workers often arises in times of pressing business needs such as a website build project or an introduction to new software, which can sometimes be rushed to address the demand. Nonetheless, it's important to follow a due hiring process, such as onboarding and establishing communication channels to install a workplace culture that accommodates contingent workers and empowers them to thrive.

This is why we recommend partnering with a reputable contingency specialist agency or supplier that has access to top talent, robust compliance and onboarding procedures, and demonstrated expertise in your specific area of talent requirement.

Business benefits of utilising contingent workers

Integrating contingent workers into a workforce can have numerous benefits. Here are some of the potential advantages:

  • Addressing skill shortages: Contingent workers help bridge the knowledge gap in an organisation and can assist in events such as during a rapid expansion or a technological pivot.

  • Cost-effective: While contingent workers might have a higher hourly rate, the overall cost of engaging them is much lower than hiring a full-time employee. Contingent workers are paid on a need-basis which means an organisation doesn’t have to worry about costs like overtime, taxes, and employee benefits.

  • Specialist knowledge: Contingent employees are often specialists in their given fields. They're always the best go-to option, especially when you have one-time projects that require specialist knowledge.

  • Flexibility: Contingent workers allow organisations to scale the workforce or manage demand spikes more flexibly and quickly, without getting into a long-term commitment with full-time employees. Upon project completion, a company can reassess the necessity of the contingent worker and determine if there remains a business requirement for their services.

  • Efficiency: As contingent workers are experienced in their specialist areas, they're able to handle projects more efficiently immediately after you engage them, unlike new employees who may need to be onboarded and trained first.

​Best practices for effective management of contingent workers

​As discussed, contingent workers have the knowledge to fill your talent gap, but management plays a pivotal part in the results delivered. We take a closer look at some key factors that need to be considered before investing in a contingent workforce.

Define goals for your contingent workforce strategy

Goal setting is a crucial step in every hiring process. Before sourcing for contingent workers, it's important to define your goal and clearly outline the project objectives and deliverables. This enables you to align your contingent workforce strategy with your business goals. By setting expectations and communicating clearly to the workers, you minimise confusion and foster a better understanding of their roles in your organisation.

Make contingent workers feel a part of the team

While contingent workers receive different benefits from permanent employees, you should treat them equally. Equal treatment makes them feel a part of the team, which helps foster better collaboration and teamwork.

The onboarding process should be the same as permanent employees. As much as contingent workers are temporary employees, sometimes on a one-time project, onboarding them is important as it makes them feel welcome and can boost their productivity from the onset. Besides completing employment forms and setting up email and other relevant accounts, the process acquaints them with their team members, which is essential in creating a cohesive work environment.

Establish clear communication with your contingent workforce

Effective communication is essential when managing a contingent workforce. Monitoring the workforce through regular communication ensures the timely completion of projects. Through constant feedback, you can avoid last-minute issues, crises, and delays in delivery for optimal results. Thankfully, there are multiple tools you can utilise to establish strong communication channels for enhanced collaboration and communication, such as instant messaging platforms and project management software.

Ensure compliance with laws and regulations around contingent workers

A survey conducted by Cpl's Talent Evolution Group found that out of 300 HR professionals in the UK, over 30% said they didn't feel equipped to handle situations requiring legal knowledge relating to contingent workers. Working with contingent workers requires companies to be conversant with and comply with the relevant laws and regulations, in the same way regular employment is governed by standard labour laws.

Work contracts and agreements should comply with the relevant laws and regulations. Classifying the workers correctly is also important to avoid non-compliance issues.

Optimise your contingent workforce with Cpl's Technology Contractor Solutions

An increasing number of organisations worldwide are utilising contingent workers or plan on using contingent workers in the future. Despite the undeniable benefits, strategic management of the workforce is essential for contingent workers to be effective.

If you're looking to hire or gain more from contingent workers, Cpl’s Technology Contractor Solutions team are happy to help. For more information about our contracting services, contact Libby Kelly, Director of Cpl Technology Contractor Solutions.