Keeping External Workers Engaged and Effective

Today, temporary staffing in the United States is a $128 billion industry, encompassing all job types, experience levels, and verticals—but that certainly wasn’t always the case. Founded in the years after World War II, the earliest staffing agencies sought to add more middle-class women to the workforce, primarily in administrative/clerical and light industrial positions.

The temporary workforce has expanded significantly since then, both in terms of scope and demographics. During that time, temporary employees have played a critical role in putting “external workers” on the map—a group that also includes contract firm workers, contingent workers, freelancers, gig workers, independent contractors, on-call workers, and statement of work service providers, among others.

These nontraditional work arrangements benefit employees and employers alike—catering to modern workers’ desires for greater autonomy and flexibility, and to businesses’ demands for agility and on-demand access to specialized talent. The external workforce now comprises roughly 44% of workforce spending, according to a 2018 report by SAP Fieldglass, and that number is excepted to keep rising.

With the state of employment evolving, businesses need to update—and, in some cases, upend—their existing systems and processes accordingly. From attraction and retention, to timekeeping and compliance, forward-thinking companies are already working to determine how best to manage their expanding external workforces.

This is no easy undertaking. In a recent survey of SHRM members, more than half identified finding and sourcing the right capabilities as a major challenge when utilizing external workers. Determining when to use external vs. internal resources, managing and reducing costs, adhering to relevant employment laws, aligning external workers with company culture, and managing turnover and transitions were also cited frequently among respondents.

While some businesses take on external workforce management internally, a growing number are tapping the expertise of outside resources, like Broadleaf, instead. A range of solutions—managed service programs, vendor management systems, payrolling, recruitment process outsourcing, statement of work management, and independent contractor compliance, to name a few—serve to alleviate the challenges with utilizing external workforces.

Bringing new perspectives and specialized skills, external workers can deliver significant value to organizations in all industries. An effective and engaged external workforce doesn’t just happen on its own, though—and partnering with a firm that specializes in external workforce management can make all the difference.

To learn more about best practices for managing your external workforce, contact the Broadleaf team today.

Broadleaf Director of Business Development Greg Krueger recently participated in a webinar, Closing Talent Gaps with an Effective and Engaged External Workforce, presented by the Human Capital Institute. To view the full webinar on-demand, please visit the Human Capital Institute website here.