What organizational skills gaps could contingent workers fill?

November 3, 2021

Contingent workers can fill the skills gaps within your organization, bringing flexibility and agility to the workforce. To ensure contingent workers fill your skill gaps, you need visibility and alignment between your HR function, which defines the workforce plan, and procurement, who negotiate and contract with vendors. A vendor management system (VMS) delivers complete extended workforce data visibility, connecting your internal teams and helping them acquire the right talent at the right time for the right price.

Contingent workers can meet most organizational skills needs

Non-employee workers increasingly perform functions in companies at virtually every level and in nearly all roles, from expert consultants and IT specialists to drivers, warehouse operatives, and maintenance staff. They could help organizations fulfill an important seasonal task such as the annual stocktake. For example, a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand might hire an expert marketing manager for maternity cover.

Or, a pharma company could ask an agency to source a specialized medical research team to complete a critical project. Many IT and tech assignments are similarly contract and interim-based. These are so-called statement of work (SOW) contractors typically hired with specific milestones and deliverables written into their contracts.

The digital and global nature of work today means most knowledge-based roles can be completed remotely—from virtually anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. These arrangements bring a significant cost benefit and enable you to access skills from a global pool of talent.

How do you create and implement your workforce strategy?

By carefully mapping your organization's existing permanent and contingent skills, you can create an integrated workforce optimization strategy that best meets its needs. This total workforce optimization (TWO) approach delivers the optimal mix of permanent employee and contingent worker skills to achieve your organizational objectives.

Although many organizations have employee data contained in an HR information system (HRIS), contingent workers are often overlooked. This is often because procurement and HR are working independently, and often in silos.

Furthermore, skills are not the only factor when ascertaining if contingent workers are right for the task to be delivered. You also need to measure the quality of the work carried out by contingent workers, the costs of hiring permanent workers, and the timeframe available.

All this data is meaningless on its own, and a conventional HR system won't have the capabilities to manage both contingent workers and vendors. A vendor management system (VMS) can help with this. The combination of an HRIS and a VMS underpins your Total talent acquisition (TTA) strategy because it gives you the data and tools to acquire the skills your TWO strategy identifies.

How to benefit from the flexibility of contingent workers

Once hired, contingent workers may offer more flexibility than is immediately obvious. If a role needs filling immediately but HR and the team need time to find exactly the right person, a contingent worker can step into the gap temporarily.

Or perhaps you interview someone who isn't quite right for a role but who has some of the skills in the job description or added skills of value to your organization. How can you utilize this new-found resource?

TWO, alongside TTA, is a systematic way for exploiting this resource when your HRIS and VMS deliver the data, visibility and communications across your organisation.

Using a vendor management system to fill your skills gaps

Forward-thinking companies employing contingent workers use vendor management systems (VMS) to gain access to data, analytics, and AI. It makes it simple to keep track of the activities and performance of contingent workers and vendors, comparing the quality of sourcing directly against vendors. The performance of contingent workers and vendors can also be compared against each other.

Being able to see data across your organization and connecting your procurement and HR functions means you have insights to optimize your talent acquisition and management strategies. Your contingent workers deliver what you need, not just what procurement believes you want.

Beeline's VMS offers valuable data about contingent workforce planning, helping you make strategic decisions underpinned by anonymized data from over 300 customers. To learn more about how it works and the benefits it can bring to your organization, download our free guide. It provides all the necessary information to understand how a VMS can aid in contingent workforce planning, forecasting, management, and even procurement.