Collaboration in the Supply Chain

We are hearing more about the evolution of contingent workforce management (CWM) towards an ecosystem approach in which internal stakeholders, external partners, and contingent talent are working in a more collaborative way than ever in the past. Let’s take a look at how these partners are evolving CWM and have begun to transform their supply chain relationships.

As drivers of the CWM relationship, the Enterprise stakeholders who direct spend continue to influence their external partners for more innovative participation in their programs. Their expectations are that VMS partners are constantly evolving and customizing their tools to meet unique program needs for headcount visibility, compliance management and RFP for SOW capture. And they are driving vendors to develop models that support the return of contingent workers who have previously worked at the client in a quicker and more cost effective way. Enterprise is also empowering external vendor partners with a greater visibility into their client culture in a way never done before to improve the attraction and retention of high caliber talent.

 Central to this evolution is the enterprise approach to leverage the contingent workforce strategically and to fill mission critical roles whereas in the past, the contingent workforce was used primarily as "fillers" for seasonal and tactical roles. There is also a new focus on the employment experience of the contingent worker and the unique "fit" specific to generations. Why is this occurring? Contingent workers are now recognized as "Brand Ambassadors" who influence talent attraction. 

 All of these shifts signal the recognition that 35% of the US workforce is choosing to work in contingent relationships and that by 2020 it is expected that 50% of the US workforce will do so. Empowering contribution and supporting innovation along the supply chain in CWM is not just an option - it's demanded to meet business needs.

 Organizations must attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive labor market in which talent has begun to articulate new demands for engagement. There has been a values shift in how, why, and where people choose to work towards engagements that offer opportunities for project based work and skills enhancement. There is also a demand for better work life balance to care for seniors and dependents and allowance for flexible work site arrangements.  Organizations have become increasingly tolerant of flexible work arrangements and are now allowing geography to take a back seat to skills in order to attract the best talent available in the marketplace.

 The influence of legislation on the creation of alternative employment models is already being witnessed. The creation of portable healthcare benefits through the Affordable Care Act has created an environment in which healthcare benefits are now following workers versus being tied to employers. Paid Sick Time policies are already offered in 5 states and 26 U.S. cities and are empowering career mobility by allowing contingent workers to earn paid time off to care for themselves and their dependents.

 Looking ahead and perhaps most importantly to the concept of a more inclusive ecosystem approach towards CWM, it must be ensured that all stakeholders’ perspectives are included in process and policy conversations being developed by enterprise and through regulation. The evolution of CWM is successful only when enterprise stakeholders commit to the value proposition of collaboration with external partners and empowerment of the worker voice to meet the many demands of leveraging the contingent workforce into the total talent management strategy of the organization.