Temporary and contract labor makes up 26% of the American workforce (Aberdeen Group, 2012). Furthermore, according to the U.S Department of Labor, the contingent workforce is among the fastest growing segment of workers and the organization predicts a 23% increase by 2020.
These statistics come as no surprise, temporary, contract and contingent workers provide organizations with a great deal of flexibility while minimizing their sunk costs. However, new challenges are introduced such as the engagement, alignment and cultural values of the contingent workforce.
I would argue that many organizations and staffing agencies are ignoring the need to actively engage this ever-growing contingent workforce. Case in point, many organizations do not take the same care in hiring their contingent workforce as they do their full-time employees and instead are moving towards a more commoditized procurement model. They forget about things like corporate branding, employee selection and ongoing development. This can be a very costly mistake leading to high turnover, low employee engagement, loss of productivity and can even become contagious, infecting the performance of full-time staff.
Full-time or contingent, disengaged workers have a detrimental effect on the performance and balance of the workforce. Disengaged employees cost organizations $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary (Gallup 2002).
Staffing agencies also play a role in the engagement of the contingent workforce. To be effective they must partner with organizations to create a process that (1) identifies great employees that fit the culture of their clients, (2) engages them during placement and (3) continues to support their goals and needs. Organizations, MSPS and staffing agencies must all partner together to create processes and procedures that support long-term employee engagement.
As the contingent workforce continues to be a greater percentage of the American workforce, the more important it will become to actively engage and align temporary and contract employees.
Author: George Albert Opitz, President of Brightwing