Why analytics are key to contingent workforce performance optimisation

November 3, 2021

When you’re setting goals, key performance indicators, and objectives, setting measurable targets is a critical component. But without the right data or analytics to hand, monitoring and seeking to improve the performance of a contingent workforce can be a very difficult task.

The future of contingent workforce management relies upon sophisticated analytics and accurate data, enabling the strategic management of these resources to an organisation’s best advantage. As contingent workers, in all their guises, represent a significant and increasing portion of the global workforce, organisations need robust analytics to track their spend, manage and assess suppliers, and even ensure compliance. All of this is key to maximising the performance, effectiveness, and productivity of your workforce.

In this article, we’re going to review exactly what data you should be tracking and how analysis of this data should influence your contingent workforce strategy and management processes. Then we will discuss how you can begin to capture, visualise, and act upon the data that exists in your organisation.

The case for better analytics

With a data-driven contingent workforce strategy, you can ensure that you have the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. Without the right tools to guide this strategy, there’s always the risk that you overspend, increase your risk, and potentially create compliance issues. For many organisations lacking formal analytics and reporting on their contingent workforce, identifying key metrics can even be challenging. So, what metrics should you be measuring, and what is the commercial case for keeping on top of them? In this article, we’ll review some of the most important metrics you need to know to optimise your contingent workforce.

Real-time, snapshot reports

While data is fantastic for making long-term strategic decisions, it also has a role in day-to-day decision making, especially where contingent workers are contributing to primary activities in your value chain. You need to know, for compliance, payroll, and project planning purposes, exactly how many employees are engaged in your projects at any one time – so you can track the costs, project status, and progress compared with statements of work (SoWs).

Supplier performance

Who is providing your organisation with the highest quality workers? Are they performing equally well or does a particular supplier seem to provide more productive workers or a quicker time to hire? Do you have an overdependence on a single vendor – is this a risk? All of the above questions are important to answer, yet can be difficult to find data for without an organised, automated system in place. Comparing vendors against one another can put you in a strategically advantageous position when it comes to negotiating rates and choosing where you source your contingent workers of the future.

Time to fill positions

Agility is one of the most valuable aspects of a highly contingent workforce. It enables a business to spin up new projects, bring on extra resources to accelerate progress, and bring in external expertise without needing to hire permanent employees in those roles. But if these positions take a long time to fill, then agility is reduced, and this needs to be factored into your contingent workforce plan. By measuring the time it takes to fill positions, by vendor, by position, or by status, you can understand what timescale you need to get the right talent in place. For example, a highly specialised role in a particularly challenging project area may require more foresight and planning than a blue collar role. With this knowledge, you can accurately predict how long a position will take to fill, then ensure your workforce plan incorporates that so your projects do not get unnecessarily delayed.

Spend management

Understanding bill rates, pay rates and the margins between them per vendor, can be an incredibly powerful negotiation tool. Armed with this data (and more), you can have productive, data-backed discussions with vendors, enabling you to clearly understand what rates vendors should offer to make themselves more attractive and competitive than others. It allows you to take control of your staffing vendor market, providing visibility that you wouldn’t otherwise have – it’s essentially about making your vendors as visible as the prices on the store shelves. Beeline has worked with organisations in a number of different sectors to help them significantly reduce their contingent spend, without compromising on productivity, worker quality, output quality, or project timelines.

How can a vendor management system help?

A vendor management system, VMS, makes it incredibly easy to track, visualise, and use all the data generated by your contingent workforce. For future labour planning, reporting, as well as spend management, it can be a critical tool in optimising your spend on an area that can be tricky to gain visibility on.

To learn more about what a vendor management system is, what its key features are, and what benefits they can bring to your organisation, download our free guide. It’ll give you all the information you need to understand how they can aid in contingent workforce planning, forecasting, management, and even procurement.