O ne of the best things about my job is that I get to talk to people who work in  a variety of different industries and come from many backgrounds, yet all have one thing in common…they are involved in some way with sourcing, managing, or overseeing the non-employee workforce in their company.

Their highest trending topic right now is the financial pressures that are being felt by nearly every company. You might guess that by financial pressure I mean budget cuts, hiring and travel freezes, and revenue pressures. Your guess would be mostly right. But to my surprise, your peers who oversee the flexible workforce, from the traditional contingent staffing to strategic outsourcing, are experiencing even more pressure now than during the recession in 2009.

Companies are challenging procurement to prove that they are squeezing every penny possible to meet shareholder expectations now more than ever. Since so many of the conversations I was having with clients were about how financial pressures were putting a spotlight on their flexible worker programs, I sought the advice from our Beeline Advisory Council. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Beeline Customer Conference and met the council, the Beeline Advisory Council is a group of diverse Beeline clients that represent the voice of the Beeline client base by providing best practices, advice, and tools to their colleagues, and input directly to our strategic product direction. Here are a few bits of advice direct from the council:

  • Data is king. Be the first to provide valuable data (headcount reports, trend analysis on usage by business unit, or spend based on vendors.) In addition, look at overall spend and see if there is a way to consolidate other vendor areas to obtain economies of scale. If you want to avoid scrutiny, then get in management’s face with data and VALUE.
  • Show them the money. Share with your leadership the comparison of the cost (as well as soft costs) associated with hiring contingent workers (e.g., what you are spending on workers against the market rates as well as the rates of other companies in the local market(s), access to talent/FTE candidate pipeline, etc.) and the easiest way to accomplish this is via reporting. Being able to show your leadership the overall health of a program is vital to stakeholder buy in.
  • Stay relevant and visible. When was the last time you held an executive review with your leadership and (if applicable) your MSP? You should be doing this on a yearly basis and include your service provider(s), procurement, and other leadership team members.
  • Use Connections. If you are members to SIA, it couldn’t hurt using the SIA analysts to benchmark your data.

 

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