Talent Development and the Contingent Workforce

September 11, 2012 by Wally Bock

“In the last month, I’ve worked for five employers, bid on three projects, been a member of two virtual teams and participated in a conference call in the middle of the night. I am 36 years old and a 21st-century employee.”

That’s how Alexandra Levit begins her New York Times article, “The Rise of the Independent Work Force.” She describes that independent workforce this way.

“A government report in 2006 said that 31 percent of the American work force was independent or contingent, a category that encompasses contractors, temporary workers and the self-employed, among others.”

That’s almost a third of the workforce today, and growing fast. Tammy Erickson quotes Adecco as predicting that the number of contingent workers will grow three to four times faster than traditional workers. The Staffing Industry Analysts Contingent Workforce Estimate of October 2009 says that American businesses are already spending $425 billion per year on contingent workers.

Don’t ignore this. It’s a shadow battleground in the War for Talent.

Connect with the most important contingent workers. To do that you must define the role that contingent workers will play in your company, identify the most important ones, and develop a recruiting strategy.

Contingent workers need onboarding, too. Don’t expect to just plug and play. You’ll get better results if you take the time to familiarize your new contingent worker with the company and his or her role.

Make sure expectations and reporting lines are clear. They can’t do a good job for you if you make them guess what it is.

Develop relationships then put teams together like a movie director. A good director tries to work with people he’s worked with before and the people they recommend.

Don’t leave this to chance. Develop a strategy and the metrics you need, then execute.

For Further Reading

How to make contingent workers feel like family at GigaOm

Contingent Workers at Lawyers.com

Contingent workers might be the ‘new normal’ workforce at the Dallas Morning News

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Talent Management

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