For Your Consideration: The Contingent Workforce Ushers in “The Individual Age”

Author: Amy Lewis | Source: HCI | Published: March 21, 2011

The mixture of workers that make up contract talent (temps, independent contractors, interim execs, freelancers, RPO/BPO/WPO) are a topic of frequent conversation here at the Human Capital Institute because strategic talent management for this population is so critical.  Why?  Exhibit A: it’s growing and growing and will only continue to do so.  Exhibit B: performance, and thereby ROI, improves using human capital management techniques.  So why are so many human resource professionals still working in the dark?

The first theory is that the contingent workforce is still, in large part, managed outside of human resources, by procurement.  There are multiple arguments for why this isn’t a best practice, but the most basic is that they are workers, not supplies or contracts.  And procurement is great at managing those things, but aren’t the experts in managing people.  The second theory is that HR doesn’t know, or care, about this section of their workforce.  What a mistake that would be given the sheer numbers associated here, let alone the risk and opportunity missed.

Most organizations don’t have an enterprise-level view into how many contractors are working on their site or with their customers.  In fact, a recent study from HCI revealed that less than 35% of survey respondents use an enterprise technology or system to manage this section of their worker population.  Bryan Pena, Vice President of Contingent Workforce Strategies and Research from the Staffing Industry Analysts, examines who’s doing the work.

Need a primer on Contract Talent? Who are they, how should they be managed and what questions to address enterprise-wide are important issues.  Tim Giehll, CEO of Bond Talent, advises there’s no time like the present to deal with this.

Hopefully you had a chance to weigh in on these questions in our latest survey, “What Influences Contract Talent Usage?”  While the survey is now closed, stay tuned for the research report to premier at the 2011 Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, May 16-18 in NYC.  And if you’d like to be part of surveys like this in the future, join our survey panel.


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