how to engage your contingent workforce: key considerations.

Building talent communities, flexing your employer brand and thinking long term will lead to better results.

With the global labor market growing increasingly complex, your workforce is likely undergoing its own transformation. Specifically, the use of flexible talent – whether it’s the human cloud, traditional temp staffing or independent contractors – is becoming a more strategic contributor in getting work done. But just as you need to build an attractive employer brand to engage with your permanent employee population, it’s more important than ever to make sure you do the same to attract the best contingent talent. 

According to McKinsey, up to 162 million people in Europe and the United States – or as much as 30% of the working-age population – are performing some kind of independent work. Staffing Industry Analysts predicts that the U.S. staffing market will exceed $150 billion this year, a significant increase from just 2017. In Japan, 1 in 3 companies with 100,000 or more workers expect 30% of their workforce to be contingent by next year, according to EY.  

There’s no question that contingent labor usage is growing, spurred on by a number of market dynamics. The rise of the gig economy, the adoption of total talent management models, the widening of the skills gap and the digitalization of business are all leading employers to think about and view talent in a different way. By employing  flexible workers, they can access resources more quickly, become more agile to business needs and reduce overall costs.

Employing flexible workers brings many benefits, but there are unique considerations in how you engage with them. Because they aren’t part of the permanent workforce, contingent talent need more nurturing to ensure they are open to future assignments with your company after completing their current one. Also, consider how your employee value proposition (EVP) needs to be different for a flexible workforce since those sought out by permanent talent might not apply here. But taking the time to understand their preferences and making investments to address their needs will yield a loyal and sustainable pipeline of flexible workers.

To optimize engagement with your flexible talent, focus on these three areas: establishing a talent community, enhancing your contingent talent brand and nurturing long-term relationships. By having an effective strategy for strengthening each of these areas, you are more likely to be an employer of choice for flexible workers.

1. a thriving talent community

Companies around the globe are investing in talent communities today. According to the 2019 Randstad Sourceright Talent Trends survey of human capital leaders in 17 countries, 85% say they are creating specific talent communities and content plans to engage and nurture future pipelines. This was up from 69% the year before. The rising interest is indicative of the pressure employers face to not only quickly find and acquire talent for their current needs but to also build a pipeline for the future.

A robust and well-managed contingent talent community can support a significant portion of your resourcing needs. Whether you require seasonal payrolled workers, statement-of-work contractors or temp staff workers, such a community can also reduce labor costs by enabling you to directly fill roles rather than using an agency or talent supplier. Furthermore, you are assured that community members are familiar and engaged with your business.

What are the key requirements for building one? The most important consideration is demonstrating value to entice workers to join. A talent community isn’t just a pool of pre-identified candidates; rather, they are interested in your company because of your nurturing efforts. Regular communications on company developments and career opportunities are important for maintaining a high level of engagement. Additionally, resources should be available to answer questions and for talent to pose questions to.

download our guide to find out all the things you need to consider to engage your contingent workforce.

download now

sandra ebbers

international concept manager Inhouse

At Randstad I am responsible for the implementation of the Inhouse concept worldwide. With our business concept, we add value to large organizations in workforce optimization and guidance of flexworkers in a cost efficient way of working.