3 Reasons Why Companies Struggle with their Contingent Workforce

Talent shortages and heightened regulation have companies of all sizes scrambling to complete work in a different way. In many cases, the gig economy is a shiny object that companies chase to fill their needs. The reality is that many organizations do this the wrong way. The 3 most common and avoidable mistakes include:

1. Forgetting the People.

The fluid contingent workforce is fundamentally comprised of people regardless of whatever term an employer uses (i.e. freelancers, consultants, giggers, temps, etc.). People bring complexities even if their duration with the organization may be defined or limited. Many organizations forget this important fact and instead focus on the hype or regulation surrounding the contingent workforce. This creates a number of problems and attrition that results in lost revenue. Instead, companies can improve the experience of their contingent workforce and talent acquisition team by:

  • Embracing their unique distinct motivations;
  • Building a culture to engage the contingent worker;
  • Providing clear expectations for the project or gig;
  • Utilizing systems that recognize the humanity of the contingent workforce.

2. Treating Contingent Workers (kind of) the Same.

The contingent workforce has its own unique motivations and technological needs. Many companies ignore these facts and instead choose to use existing systems or policies that were built for traditional employees. This flawed approach brings unnecessary cost, inefficiencies, and lost opportunities. To start leveraging the contingent workforce more effectively consider:

  • Creating separate policies and procedures designed to the contingent worker and their respective job duties;
  • Evaluate the suitability and cost of technology for the contingent workforce; and
  • Provide opportunities for more efficient training to ensure a safe and engaging experience for the contingent worker every single time.

3. Ignore Contingent Workers.

The biggest mistake that a surprising number of companies make is failing to recognize the role of the contingent workforce in their organization. This can range from refusing to hire temporary employees to not counting the number of contingent workers in the organization. Regardless of degree, ignoring the contingent workforce is a costly and risky proposition to any organization. This large and growing workforce provides a great deal of flexibility and profitability for employers of all sizes when leveraged effectively. To stop ignoring and start leveraging, think about the following when evaluating your contingent workforce:

  • Know how many contingent workers are in each department and their job responsibilities;
  • Evaluate existing jobs and business plans to assess the role of the contingent workforce. Think about whether it can or should be changed to improve profitability;
  • Validate that the contingent workforce is given the proper tools to perform the jobs they are asked to perform; and
  • Assess injury rates, safety practices, and insurance costs to evaluate whether there is a better way to leverage a contingent workforce in the organization.

Every organization can leverage the fastest growing segment of the global workforce with the right approach. It takes implementing the right tools to attract, engage, and retain the right contingent workforce for your organization. Making these changes can result in a big improvement in the company’s bottom line and alleviate the pressures of any talent shortage.

About the Author

Kathy Harrell-Latham is an experienced commercial attorney, talent acquisition professional, and CEO of Cadre Scheduling. She is a gig economy expert who routinely speaks on talent acquisition and compliance. Kathy is also a Mitchell Hamline graduate (’06) and adjunct professor who frequently publishes works addressing the challenges of municipality regulation of employment. You can keep up with her by following on Facebook or Twitter.