The Optimization of Work: The Next Goal for Contingent Workforce Management

Today’s contingent workforce management (CWM) program managers already have a full plate: manage the influx and outflux of non-employee workers, drive visibility into the various types of labor (and spend!) linked to these workers, and ultimately drive performance across cost, compliance, and quality arenas. And, over the past couple of years, they’ve also had to contend with the transformation of the world of work.


Nearly 40% of today’s global workforce is considered non-employee (including traditional temporary workers, independent contractors, freelancers, services, etc.), a sharp rise from the years when less than a quarter of a company’s total talent pool was comprised of contingent labor. What makes this stat even more compelling than it already is (we are getting ever-so-close to the truly 50/50 “blended” workforce) is that, with the continued consumerization of business processes, the world of work today is founded on the notion that the question no longer is “How much will this project cost?”, but rather, “How will work get done?”
This is the central theme to the fifth annual edition of the State of Contingent Workforce Management research study, designed and developed by Ardent Partners. More specifically, there is a convergence at play today: talent is actively being engaged in new and different ways, work is being optimized via project alignment and skillsets rather than costs and budgets, and, most importantly, all of these attributes are supported by a new range of innovative platforms that drive flexibility, visibility, and the continued consumerization of the global workforce’s operative processes.
One specific finding from the new study speaks volumes: the biggest challenge for organizations today in regards to talent is not cost, compliance, or even visibility…it’s the desire to become more agile. Business agility translates into the ability to dynamically react to real-time market challenges and issues; within this arena, on-demand talent and the overall contingent workforce becomes more critical to the everyday organization. And, thus, the next great goal is ahead for CWM program across the globe: do everything they can to optimize how work is addressed, including transforming executive thinking, adopting new technology, and revolutionizing how talent is engaged.
The new research study deep-dives into this conversation, and leans on trends and discussions regarding the evolution of technology (such as the evolution of Vendor Management Systems), CWM’s link to the Future of Work, new innovations that will prove to be major gamechangers (i.e. artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning, etc.), and how today’s professionals are asking a simple question that is now the foundation for everything related to talent and technology.
How will work get done?
  Christopher J. Dwyer

Vice President, Research
Ardent Partners

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