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Using data to improve the management of contingent workforces
Wed, 20th Mar 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for a seismic shift in the way people work. As a result, businesses grappling with cost pressures and the need for agility have been increasingly turning to contingent workforces.

It is a trend that transcends mere cost-cutting. It presents a unique opportunity to foster innovation and develop novel solutions through strategic partnerships with skilled professionals outside the traditional employee structure.

For both clients seeking specialised talent and contingent workforce providers striving to deliver exceptional service in this dynamic landscape, success hinges on a key element: a data-driven approach built on a foundation of strong relationships.

Shared success through shared responsibility
The notion of a siloed outsourcing relationship, where clients simply delegate tasks and providers simply execute them, is fading. Today, companies understand the critical role their outsourced teams play.

Just as they invest in the well-being and development of in-house employees, businesses now have a vested interest in ensuring the productivity, efficiency, engagement, and work-life balance of their contingent workforce partners.

Challenges and concerns
Both contingent workforce providers and their clients and have unique challenges in the current, post-pandemic work environment. It is important to understand the key issues facing each side:

Challenges facing contingent workforce providers include:

  • Adapting to the 'new normal': The shift towards hybrid or remote work models necessitates adjustments to talent acquisition, management, and collaboration strategies.
  • Addressing attrition: A highly competitive talent market fuels worker turnover, demanding providers to develop robust employee retention strategies.
  • Achieving work-life balance: Employees increasingly prioritise work-life balance, requiring providers to offer flexible work arrangements and promote a healthy work environment.
  • Strengthening partnerships: A lack of client support and collaboration often hinders deeper partnerships that could benefit both parties.

Meanwhile, the challenges facing clients include:

  • Limited visibility into operations: Traditional outsourcing models often leave clients with limited visibility into the day-to-day operations of their outsourced teams.
  • Hybrid work productivity: The rise of hybrid work arrangements raises concerns about potential drops in worker productivity.
  • Reliance on manual reports: Clients often rely on reports from vendors that may be subjective, inaccurate, or delayed.
  • Unpredictable outcomes: Unforeseen delays and cost issues arise due to lack of project progress visibility, hindering effective project management.
  • Vendor management strain: Understaffed client teams often struggle to effectively manage multiple vendors, leading to inefficiencies.

Embracing a data-driven solution
By adopting a more data-centric approach to workforce management, these challenges can be addressed for both providers and their clients, fostering a more collaborative and productive partnership. Key benefits include:

1. Enhanced visibility:
Traditional outsourcing can leave clients feeling like they're flying blind. An effective partner ecosystem management solution provides real-time operational data to both parties. This allows clients to compare performance across different outsourced teams, identify areas for improvement, and gain a holistic understanding of their overall contingent workforce strategy.

2. Accurate measurement of productivity:
Concerns regarding remote work productivity vanish with workforce analytics software. By tracking time spent in relevant applications, clients can gauge true productivity levels, identify potential workflow bottlenecks, and adjust processes for optimal efficiency. This data can also be used to identify high performers across teams, fostering a culture of recognition and healthy competition.

3. Objective reporting:
Manual reports with potential biases are a relic of the past in a data-driven future. People analytics software automatically logs work in real-time, recording application usage and output for precise performance measurement. This not only eliminates potential fraud and reduces costs but also streamlines outsourcing governance by providing objective insights for both clients and providers.

4. Predictable Outcomes:
Real-time work progress tracking provides clear visibility into team workflows and project statuses. By leveraging these insights, companies can predict project completion timelines with greater accuracy, manage costs proactively, and identify potential roadblocks before they disrupt deadlines or budgets. This fosters trust and strengthens communication between client and provider.

5. Streamlined vendor management:
Automating workforce management tasks reduces the administrative burden on client teams, freeing up resources for more strategic initiatives. With automated time tracking, status updates, and data-driven insights into performance, companies can identify areas for improvement in their vendor partnerships while also gaining valuable data to manage costs and optimise results.

Unlocking the power of data
Making use of accurate, timely data in this way can deliver big benefits for both workforce providers and their clients. By gaining a clear picture of how their outsourced teams work, companies can shift their focus from managing reports to fostering a culture of innovation within their contingent workforce.

The result is a more engaged, productive workforce that can support a business during what will remain challenging times.