Workforce Management Expands to Include Contingent Workforces
In 2017, the workforce looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago. Companies are easing away from the full-time employee with benefits model and using more contingent workers on an “on demand” basis, even in the contact center. These might include independent contractors, freelancers and so-called “SOW” (statement of work) workers. It has been estimated by Ardent Partners that by the end of 2017, 45 percent of the world’s total workforce will be comprised of contingent workers. Today, 70 percent of companies say they plan to expand their use of this type of labor. The question for companies using this type of labor becomes, “How do we manage these contingent workers?”
This is a good question, because the companies that use non-permanent employee labor are experiencing a lack of visibility into the work performed by these employees. The Ardent report found that only 51 percent of external labor and services spend is formally accounted for, and 47 percent of respondents report a lack of total contingent workforce visibility. Can you imagine trying to manage a workforce you can’t even see?
Luckily, many of today’s workforce management solutions are already wired for managing contingent labor. WFM can collect a great deal of data, and data is at the core of contingent workforce management, according to a recent blog post by Beeline.
“Collecting and analyzing data allows you to spot trends and irregularities,” according to the blog. “It also gives you visibility into spend, suppliers, performance, and more. Best-in-class organizations use real-time reporting, agile analytics, and deep-dive functionalities to manage their contingent workforce. In fact, 37 percent of best-in-class organizations use analytics and business intelligence tools to make decisions about their future use of contingent labor.”
In the contact center, contingent workers often come in the form of home-based independent contractors. Independent or not, companies are still relying on these people to handle calls and other contacts. They need to be built into the schedule, and therefore included in the workforce management system. Luckily, many of today’s cloud-based WFM solutions make it easy to keep track of workers regardless of where they’re located, and build a “virtual workforce management” foundation that establishes collaboration with an employee wherever he or she is working (as long as there’s an Internet connection).
And while workforce management is almost always connected to payroll (for the purpose of determining paychecks and benefits), contingent workers can be tracked and paid in accordance with the pre-established terms of their own employment (hourly, by call, etc.)
Increasingly, companies are rebuilding their siloed employee management processes (one for full-time workers, another for part-time workers, a third for contractors) into a “total talent management” program. More companies will need to gain the visibility that will come with integration to manage employee and non-employee assets across the entire enterprise. Going forward, workforce management will be a supporting pillar of this drive.
Edited by Alicia Young