The necessity to utilize, understand and engage the contingent workforce is an issue that is becoming more and more pertinent to the success of staffing agencies and organizations.
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
April 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm /
I agree with this viewpoint and I am glad that you brought it up. Facts are Facts and if 26% of the workforce is Contingency then that is a significant factor. I have been working in the field for over 20 years and it does seem there is a gap between temp and permanent workers at companies, it’s a fundamental challenge. The idea of temp workers is to fill in vacancies in a company without requiring a full time employee, however this isn’t to say that this job is any less important or valuable to the organization is it?
If it is just as important to the organization and if a full time employee who had done this job in the past was an important part of the company then it only makes sense to continue this mindset regardless of who fills this role. It is still a human being and people are important in a company. The Temp worker typically builds relationships with full time employees. I have seen instances where the organization embraces the temp worker as “one of their own” and also where they are treated as “an outsider”.
I do think it is a fundamental challenge that has many other determining factors involved such as the employee truly is an employee of the Contingent Company and not the organization utilizing their services. This is one of the fundamental flaws that I think needs to be addressed.