Y ou have probably read several articles about talent shortages with advice about how companies can address them. Despite all of the literature out there, finding, engaging, and retaining talent remains a challenge.

As a human resources (HR) or procurement professional handling contingent labor, you know the name of the game – never stop improving. You are doing your best to improve your contingent labor program in the short term, but is that enough?

Workforce Management Solutions

Why you can’t put faith in the status quo

Imagine: It’s the Roaring Twenties. Automobiles and televisions are getting more popular every day. Everyone is talking about Babe Ruth, jazz music, and moving pictures. You operate a successful business in one of the towns along U.S. Route 66. Because of all the travelers on the busy highway, you do a brisk business. Life is good. Sometimes you worry that the boom can’t last forever, but you’re busy, so you avoid thinking too much about it.

Eventually, you begin to hear rumors that they are planning to build a new high speed interstate that will let motorists bypass your town…and your booming business. You and the other business owners around town do a lot of talking and worrying about the new highway, but in the end, you don’t take much action.

Soon, motorists begin to bypass Route 66 for the newer, faster-moving highway. It doesn’t take long before your business starts to feel the effects. Before long, your prosperous town transforms. Little by little, it will become one of many ghost towns whose fate was sealed as soon as the interstate passed them by. Your business, and many just like yours, ceased to exist. Was it all in the name of progress? Not exactly.

Smart people are never satisfied with today’s success. That is why they anticipate and plan for future changes. The moral of the story: Don’t fear the future, just be ready for it.

The only thing that is constant is change

Everything changes, but you don’t have to suffer like a 1920s motel owner, bemoaning the changing times. You can get a leg up on the competition by planning for future changes.

At Beeline, we know attracting top tier talent is important. Research shows that 62 percent of organizations feel contingent labor is a vital component in achieving their goals. Like most people who manage their organization’s human supply chain, you rely on your contingent workforce program to drive business results.

The harsh truth is, what you are doing now will not be good enough in the future. If you don’t want to go the way of the dinosaurs, you have to adapt. That’s why it’s so important to understand the trends that enable you to prepare proactively instead of scrambling once it’s too late.

Ardent Partners has identified three types of contingent labor (traditional, complex, and independent contractors). Where can you source each type of contingent labor? What tools and solutions will help? Can you reinvent your contingent workforce program?

To be successful, you need to be ready

When entering into uncharted territory, how do you know what is coming down the pike without a crystal ball or tea leaves? It’s important to start by taking a look at where we stand. Today, traditional sources dominate when it comes to contingent workforce management. Staffing suppliers and agencies account for 88 percent of contingent talent and personal networks account for 54 percent, but that’s expected to change. According to Ardent Partners, by 2016, the sources of contract talent will look a lot different.

The Sources of Contract Talent, Now vs. 2016 (Ardent Partners)

When that time comes, if you are using outdated methods, you might neglect the top talent that could help your organization tackle tactical and strategic initiatives. In other words, you need to prepare for the rise of other sources of talent so you aren’t left behind.

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today

Business is like chess. It’s smart to think several moves ahead. Just like the roadside business owner who had it made because Route 66 drove customers to his doorstep, you probably have a system that works now. Ask yourself, will it still work in a few years?

As you’ve seen, the top sources of skilled talent look different in the future. To recap:

  • private talent pools are expected to grow by 16 percent
  • social media and social networks are expected to grow by 22 percent
  • online labor marketplaces/freelancer networks are predicted to double
  • automated B2B supplier networks are expected grow by 15 percent
  • “Human Cloud” solutions (i.e.: crowdsourcing) is predicted to grow by 20 percent

If you’re ignoring these channels, or not using them to their full potential, now is the time to take a hard look at incorporating them into your contingent workforce program. Otherwise, it may be tough to source the contingent workers you will need to meet your business goals.

What tools and solutions will help?

Preparing for the future raises many questions.

How exactly are you supposed to source your contingent labor? Are different sources better depending on if you need traditional labor, complex labor, or independent contractors? What solutions and tools can be valuable to you? These are all great questions. Luckily, Ardent Partners has developed a helpful framework for managing all the moving parts of a successful contingent workforce program.

Ardent Partners Contingent Workforce Management Framework v.2.0

We hope that you’ve gleaned some insight into the future of contingent workforce management. The secret is to prepare instead of being scared. Now that you’re armed with the right information, we also hope that your future looks bright and full of opportunity.

What are you doing to win the war for talent now? What do you plan to do moving forward? Tweet to us @BeelineVMS. We would love to know what you think!

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