Twelve Things We Learned About the Non-Employee Workforce in 2015

CPO Rising is counting down the top ten things that the industry learned about the non-employee workforce in 2015. From aspects related to functional prowess (think: collaboration) to advancements in technology and the art of talent engagement, 2015 was an exciting year for a growing, evolving workforce that shows no signs of slowing down in 2016.

  1. The growth of the non-employee workforce has not yet reached its static period. In fact, it is still growing at a rapid rate: with a 10% increase over the past 12 months, 35% of the world’s total workforce is comprised of independent, freelance, and contingent talent. And, with continued utilization of non-employee labor into the years ahead, we could experience an age when 50% of the global workforce is considered contingent by 2018 or 2019.
  2. Worldwide inter-connectivity has revolutionized how talent is found, engaged, and ultimately sourced. The world’s business professionals are interconnected in numerous ways, including via mobile applications, business networks, and social media/networks. While this inter-connectivity has certainly transformed how commerce and business is executed, it has also done wonders for how talent is engaged and sourced. The world of “on-demand talent” is now a reality due to new technologies, platforms, and labor networks and marketplaces. Speaking of which…
  3. Online talent platforms are actively providing businesses with the means for expanding talent pools while managing operational processes. The non-employee workforce industry would not be where it is today without the evolution of technology, software, and solutions. Online talent platforms represent a new way of finding/engaging and ultimately managing independent talent, helping to expand global talent pools while limiting risks related to compliance and spend management (as well as helping to better align, via “talent matching,” workers with projects).
  4. More and more organizations understand the impact of SOW and “complex” contingent labor. While only 28% of businesses today have a strategic program in place to manage “complex” contingent labor, which includes SOW, another 32% are either in the implementation period for doing so or plan to within the next 12-to-18 months. SOW represents the “next frontier” for enterprises as they begin to better understand the intricacies of their contingent workforce, especially the components that are linked to critical business projects and initiatives.
  5. The “future of work” has social, economic, political, business, and personal implications. What is the “future of work”? The concept of addressing any business need, no matter the level of required expertise, with external or independent workers. How does this impact the business world? From several perspectives: 1) social networks become veritable recruitment havens, 2) the economic tide is pushed by the surge of independent workers now in the market, 3) new laws and guidelines are actively being developed to regulate the relationships between employers and external workers, 5) businesses are transforming the way work is done knowing that top-tier talent is available in real-time, and, 6) more and more experienced and talent professionals are eschewing traditional employment models for the flexibility of freelancing or being an independent worker.
  6. 95% of organizations today perceive their contingent workforce as important and vital not only to day-to-day operations, but also to ultimate enterprise success and growth. The vast, vast majority of today’s businesses understand the real impact of non-employee workers and the ultimate value they bring to critical projects, tasks, strategies, and initiatives.

Stay tuned for Part II of our “12 things we learned” list, and be sure to download the new State of Contingent Workforce Management research study, which includes deep discussions of the above items. And, also be on the lookout for a special announcement regarding Ardent’s 2016 contingent workforce management research agenda!

CPO Rising is counting down the top twelve things that the industry learned about the non-employee workforce in 2015. From aspects related to functional prowess (think: collaboration) to advancements in technology and the art of talent engagement, 2015 was an exciting year for a growing, evolving workforce that shows no signs of slowing down in 2016.

  1. “Total workforce management” represents the future of the contingent workforce industry. As the total workforce becomes more “blended” with both traditional and non-traditional talent, businesses will require a centralized program (and a set of integrated solutions) that can effectively drive visibility into total talent, align that talent properly, and have high-quality intelligence fused into long-term talent-based decision-making
  2. Compliance will always be a critical focus for contingent workforce management programs. The new State of Contingent Workforce Management research report highlighted many exciting trends in the CWM industry, including the “balancing act” that today’s businesses face as they manage a growing (and evolving) non-employee workforce. Compliance (to both independent contractor compliance classifications and local, state, federal, and regulatory labor laws) is one of the top focal areas in today’s contingent workforce management programs. With new and emerging sources of talent in heavy rotation in modern businesses, not all workers will be engaged with compliance in mind.
  3. Procurement’s new role in CWM? A conduit of control. Procurement has long been one of the main functions responsible with managing the contingent workforce, especially in the days when it was viewed more as a spend category than the force it is today. As the industry moves away from a “commodity” focus in favor of one that promotes talent and skillsets, procurement will not be left behind; control is a strength of the Chief Procurement Officer and its team, and that control can be applied to aspects such as compliance, visibility, and the status of projects and initiatives that utilized non-employee labor.
  4. Collaboration is the key to long-term success. Speaking of procurement’s new role, collaboration between this function and human resources will provide the real spark for long-term contingent workforce management success. The perfect blend of spend, supplier, talent, and workforce management capabilities can help organizations move closer towards the realm of total workforce management, while also balancing the focus on both costs/budget and ultimate quality/performance of the non-employee workforce.
  5. Longstanding, traditional contingent workforce management solutions, especially Vendor Management System (VMS) platforms, will provide ultimate support in the years ahead. The way today’s external workforce is growing, many organizations consistently require on-demand support and holistic processes for managing the many intricacies of CWM programs. As discovered in the new State of Contingent Workforce Management research report, there is a reason why VMS technology has remained the top solution utilized in this industry: the platform has become a true “nexus” due to its enablement of business intelligence capabilities, talent management/engagement processes, full management of “complex” contingent labor (i.e., SOW!), and spend management competencies. And, with VMS as one of the key solutions in the path to total workforce management, this solution will continue to be impactful.
  6. The non-employee workforce has the potential to forever change how work is done. There will never be a day when non-employee or independent workers completely replace traditional talent; as fast as this industry is growing, very few organizations will ever find themselves with more contingent than traditional workers. However, that does not mean that today’s non-employee workforce is not incredibly transformative: in the on-demand talent realm we live in, the “future of work” dictates that the way work is done will be altered forever as more and more talented, independent professionals continue to bring value to businesses across the world.

If you want to read more about the impact of the non-employee workforce, be sure to download the newState of Contingent Workforce Management research study, which includes deep discussions of the above items. And, also be on the lookout for a special announcement regarding Ardent’s 2016 contingent workforce management research agenda!

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