The modern business landscape is constantly evolving, and the need for a flexible and agile workforce has become more important than ever. As companies strive to remain competitive in a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment, many are realising the importance of building and managing a ‘contingent workforce.’ This is where a contingent workforce strategist comes into play.
What is a Contingent Workforce Strategist?
A contingent workforce strategist is a leader who is responsible for managing a company’s contingent workforce program. This includes all non-permanent workers such as contractors, freelancers, temporary employees, and consultants. The role of a contingent workforce strategist is to ensure that the company has the right skills and resources on demand to fulfil their needs, with a process to track and manage the hiring, managing and paying of these workers.
CW Strategists manage the population of external resources that a company engages to carry out particular projects and outcomes with fixed or specified time periods. They will often manage this using a range of third-party solution providers like contractor payroll managers, recruitment agency suppliers, vendor management systems and managed service providers.
We spoke to Giovanni who manages the contingent workforce program at Allianz where he oversees a contingent workforce of over 500. ‘It needs to be managed in a centralised manner’ he says, ‘so that the CW strategist can be the conduit between hiring leaders and external suppliers’.
The Responsibilities of a Contingent Workforce Strategist
A contingent workforce strategist is responsible for a range of tasks that involve managing and optimising the contingent workforce. Some of the key responsibilities of a contingent workforce strategist include:
- Developing and implementing a contingent workforce strategy: A contingent workforce strategist works closely with senior management to develop and implement a strategy that aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. This includes identifying the types of non-permanent workers required by the business, defining the sectors and business units to involve, running an RFP or tender process for the relevant categories of service and determining the contingent workforce model that is right for the organisation. See our paper on the common and emerging CW models in 2023
- Managing the recruitment process and supplier panel: A contingent workforce strategist is responsible for identifying and attracting the right candidates for non-permanent roles through a range of sourcing channels. This could include direct sourcing, recruiting through 3rd parties or via a vetted supplier panel. It can also involve providing advisory services to Talent Sourcers on position requisition processes and templates, support with posting job ads, screening and interviewing candidates, and negotiating contracts.
- Managing relationships with third-party vendors: A contingent workforce strategist is responsible for managing relationships with third-party vendors who provide non-permanent workers. This involves negotiating contracts, managing performance metrics, and ensuring that vendors comply with all relevant regulations.
- Ensuring compliance with employment laws: A contingent workforce strategist is responsible for ensuring that the company complies with all relevant employment laws and regulations. This means ensuring that non-permanent workers are properly classified, and compliant with local tax and labor laws. In short, they should govern the risk and compliance of all contingent workforce programs.
- Measuring and reporting: A contingent workforce strategist is responsible for measuring and reporting on the performance of the contingent workforce program. This includes setting relevant metrics, analyzing data, and making recommendations for improvement. With the right data at their fingertips, they can also highlight trends and forecast future demand based on hiring activity and average contractor tenure etc.
- Cost management: In this environment, it’s becoming even more critical to effectively manage costs across the business. Because recruitment agencies and talent are often charging varying rates for their services, one way to manage costs is to review all worker rates and supplier rates in a single report.
What should you look for in a Contingent Workforce Strategist?
Having spent a number of years dedicated to this space, Gio suggests companies should ‘look for someone who can be operationally minded and strategic. It’s key for that person to come from a contingent workforce operational background to understand all the nuances of each process.’
If a recruiter moves into this role, they should have a background in running a contract recruitment function because if they don’t have this background, it’s an incredibly steep learning curve.
In businesses that don’t have a central CW strategist, it often falls to procurement to manage the program. This can work so long as it’s run by strategic procurement leaders who understand and are experienced in contingent workforce optimisation and management. In Gio’s experience, it is usually better for HR and Talent departments to provide this expertise. ‘At the end of the day, you are managing people and work, which aligns closer to recruitment and talent management in my opinion.’
The Benefits of a Contingent Workforce Strategist
A contingent workforce strategist can provide many benefits to a company. By having a dedicated professional manage and optimise the contingent workforce, a company can:
- Build greater capability internally to manage a range of contingent workforce models and engagements as required.
- Pivot to direct sourcing strategies if and when it’s needed by the business
- Have greater control over spend and supplier management
- Increase their visibility across the entire workforce
The role of a contingent workforce strategist is becoming increasingly important in today’s business world. By managing and optimising the contingent workforce, a contingent workforce strategist can help a company remain competitive and achieve its goals.
A refining of your contingent workforce strategy should deliver improved processes, time savings, cost savings and overall a better experience for internal staff and contracted workers.