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The ABC’s of Launching a Contingent Workforce Program

When looking to launch or even enhancing  a Contingent Workforce Program it can be as basic as following your ABC’s:


Having a defined Contingent Workforce Program with one central group owning the daily operational management can provide increased productivity and effectiveness of each individual workgroup that the program supports.  A Contingent Workforce Program provides the strategic direction needed by specific business lines to identify and fulfill talent needs in a prompt and cost-effective manner.  An organized program will ensure that all departments work towards one common goal with limited issues in managing the necessary talent in the organization.   While the program might be owned by one group or department, such as Human Resources, there is often a need for other groups, such as procurement and legal to provide support or expertise. As well, key users like the IT department will often have an influence on the policies. It’s critical to have alignment amongst these groups. This can be facilitated by establishing a Governance Committee where the key stakeholder leads the program. Yet as programs evolve they get alignment from the other stakeholders involved to address trends or updates to policies. 


Typically companies will need more talent than they are able to support in a full-time capacity to stay on course in this ever-changing business world. When you have a Contingent Workforce Program you have a structured and strategic model to ensure positions are filled with limited disruption to your business.  It is often easier as well as financially beneficial to bring on workers in temporary positions with the ebb and flow of needs within your organization. When your organization has the need but not the budget or headcount approval for a full-time role it is critical that the program ensures infrequent users access to hire contingent workers and access to the associated policies and processes.


With a formal Contingent Workforce Program companies reduce the risk of having unbalanced policies.  Whether you manage your program internally (IMP) or utilize an outsourced Managed Services Provider (MSP), when building your program you will rely on the expertise and strategic knowledge of a Contingent Workforce Professional. This person can provide you with direction on industry best practices and ensure that guidelines will not only make sense but also work together to advance your business.  In the event, you have an Internally Managed Program (IMP) yet do not possess the knowledge to construct balanced policies you should engage a consultant, like Tracz Consulting to assist you in establishing them or evolving the program as needed.  A mature, well-managed program will ensure that each guideline will work in tandem and constructively with the others to make the most sense.  When you look at all contingent workers that will be providing support to your organization, align policies to be realistic and strategic sense for your overall business. In a recent example, an organization trying to establish an overall tenure policy of six months for staff augmentation resources yet allowed an independent contractor to be engaged for 18 months. This organization did not have a defined validation process which prevented them from avoiding worker misclassification issues. While trying to address their risk for co-employment they failed to see the bigger picture in three ways. The first that their staff augmentation workers posed little to no threat for co-employment, the second by realizing that a six-month tenure policy would detract from their ability to find talent for their manager’s needs and staff the projects appropriately. And Finally, that their policy did not address the riskiest population of independent contractors.  


The strength of a successful Contingent Workforce Program begins at the foundation.  When incepting a Contingent Workforce Program, be sure to establish communication guidelines and expectations to develop a strong relationship with your client sponsor and executives. Once the program is in place it is critically important to engage in frequent and ongoing interactions with your stakeholders.  Often a Contingent Workforce Program may be a new initiative for your users. Anything you can do to increase their reliance and confidence in your program will provide significant satisfaction and long-term results and show the value of a program at defined intervals. While some organizations address this through the formalized governance committee, this does not always work for every organization. Instead, sharing the benefits received through the program with your stakeholders such as reduced time to fill, savings metrics, and the number of candidates brought on in a specified time period will provide them with the satisfaction of their decision to support the program.  You can do this by creating an intranet page with a few high-level statistics on the program while also publishing the policies and procedures. Every effort put in to establish a successful program will show a significant return value.


Equally important to a strong Contingent Workforce Program is to establish controls from the outset of the program. Identifying financials in the rate card and or markup for staff augmentation roles will set parameters for benchmarking and the ability to show cost savings throughout the maturity of the program. Take the time during the discovery phase to discuss the review and decide upon the right parameters for the most successful program. Identifying candidate submission SLAs will allow you better adherence and compliance from your suppliers throughout the duration of the program. Providing the rules of engagement for a program at the outset limits issues throughout the program.

Compliance & Classification: 

Critically important to a thriving program is to establish appropriate compliance guidelines and adhere and hold all suppliers and clients accountable. With all components, it is important to set clear objectives and then manage all parties to adhere. IC worker misclassification is a current and serious challenge for a number of companies. Establishing a validation for appropriate classifications can mitigate risk and limit exposure. It will afford a successful program the opportunity to fill positions appropriately with correctly identified candidates be they staff augmentation or SOW needs. Other areas of critical compliance include requiring vendors to align to a background check and drug screening policies as well as utilizing functionality within the vendor management systems will help make efficient work out of tacking this critical component for an organization.

In summation, being methodical when aligning all components will make for a contingent workforce program that supports all of your stakeholders, is able to scale and grow with your organization, and ensures your partners are able to efficiently support your company. Tracz Consulting is committed to simplifying modern workforce solutions for our clients and partners, should you need any assistance please schedule a consultation or contact us

This blog was created through collaboration with Karen Bruns.

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