Why analytics are key to contingent workforce performance optimization

November 3, 2021

Setting measurable targets is a critical component of setting goals, key performance indicators, and objectives. But without the right data or analytics, monitoring and improving the performance of a contingent workforce can be very difficult.

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

In this article, we'll review 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, visualize, and act upon the data that exists in your organization.

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. Identifying key metrics can be challenging for many organizations, lacking formal analytics and reporting on their contingent workforce. So, what metrics should you measure, and what is the commercial case for keeping on top of them? In this article, we'll review some of the most critical metrics you need to know to optimize 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, mainly where contingent workers contribute to your value chain's primary activities. For compliance, payroll, and project planning purposes, you need to know precisely 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 organization with the highest quality workers? Are they performing equally well, or does a particular supplier seem to deliver more productive workers or a quicker time to hire? Do you have an over-dependence on a single vendor – is this a risk? All the above questions are essential to answer, yet finding data without an organized, automated system can be difficult. Comparing vendors against one another can put you in a strategically advantageous position when 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, agility is reduced, which 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. For example, a highly specialized 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 a potent 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 you wouldn't otherwise have. It's about making your vendors as visible as the prices on the store shelves. Beeline has worked with organizations in several sectors to help them significantly reduce their contingent spend without compromising 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, visualize, and use all the data generated by your contingent workforce. For future labor planning, reporting, and spend management, it can be a critical tool in optimizing your spending in an area that can be tricky to gain visibility.

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