Why contingent workforce program adoption is so important – and how to achieve it

We’ve talked in previous blogs about why program adoption remains low (even though the traditional VMS and managed programs began in 1999) – poor user experience. Only 6% of spend is currently being captured in a Vendor Management System (VMS). According to a recent report, 80% of U.S. corporations plan to increase their use of a flexible workforce in the coming years.

With non-employee labor reaching upwards of 50% of a company’s total workforce, having visibility into that entire population is critical. So, why is adoption of the program that manages, engages, and reports on it often seen as an afterthought?

The industry has been quick to point the finger at managers not wanting to work within the confines of a company-mandated program. We use the phrase “rogue spend” to account for things that organizations can’t see, but most of this is actually unintentional. Hiring managers don’t have visibility across their workforce to know who is available, has the necessary skill sets, or are coming off assignment to be redeployed. It’s not clear to them who should fill a role (be it full-time, contractor, SOW-based worker, freelancer, independent consultant), nor is that their job, so they do what they can to get the job done. 

What’s more, according to Joe McLoone, Project Manager, Contingent Workforce Program Office at BNY Mellon, during a recent podcast, if hiring managers are going around your process, you have to meet them where they’re at. Inclusive Operations need to exist, and program owners need to do away with over-engineered processes and approvals and, instead, adopt technology that allows for flexible, configurable workflows that can change as the business changes. 

You should also invest in innovative partners who consistently bring new ideas to the table. “If you don't change, you don't evolve, things are gonna evolve pretty quickly,” he said, “and you wind up having an outdated or a pretty stale type of service.” For him, ensuring that your partner is constantly thinking, “Hey, what else can we actually do? What can we tinker with? What can we plan to modify in the future,” he said. 

“You can't put processes in place that are going to be business prohibitive,” added Cristin Monnich, program manager contingent workforce at Sephora, stating that self-auditing is key if you want to know what spend isn't accounted for in the big picture. “It's better to just get everyone in the system so that you have that visibility and if you don't have your arms around the specific population, it's important that you're self auditing, that you're looking at your records that you're tying up any loose ends there so that you have a holistic view and that you're not implementing, what you think is the full picture, but it's only 40% of your population.”

Organizations are hurting for talent and are trying to quickly adapt to a changing market and workforce. The business just needs to get work done. Today’s VMS should make it easy for the business to do the right thing and difficult to do the wrong thing. 

With this ever-growing population, technology that manages your extended workforce is critical to doing business. Without enterprise-wide adoption, you’re missing visibility, key rate, spend, skills data, and a scalable way to bring talent into your organization. User experience that involves a simplified, innovative, and flexible approach are just a few ways to improve the process for all involved.

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