Managing the Mix of Contingent Workers and FTEs
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, many organizations are turning to a flexible workforce to meet their needs. This can include a mix of full-time employees (FTEs), part-time employees, and contingent workers.
Getting the mix wrong can have serious consequences. Too many FTEs can lead to high costs and a lack of flexibility. Too few FTEs can lead to missed deadlines, poor customer service, and even legal problems.
Let’s consider how to mitigate some of the challenges of a blended workforce and what to consider for optimizing the experience for all parties.
Addressing Your Workforce Needs
There is no one-size-fits-all answer or magic formula for how to blend contingent workers with your full-time staff. The right mix will vary depending on the specific needs of each organization. However, there are a few things you can do to determine the right mix for your company:
- Analyze your business needs. Take a close look at your current workforce and identify any gaps in skills or experience. What are your peak and off-peak times? What are your seasonal demands? What are your long-term goals? This will help you determine what kind of workers you need to bring on board.
- Consider your budget. How much can you afford to spend on labor? This will help you narrow down your options.
- Evaluate your company culture. What kind of work environment do you want to create? Do you want to create a culture of flexibility and innovation? Or do you prefer a more traditional, stable workforce? This will also impact your decision.
- Gather market research. You’ll likely want to bring in some third-party expertise to understand your needs in context of the local labor market. A workforce solutions or staffing partner can bring current knowledge of the talent available in the area or industry and competitive rates / salaries for specific roles and skillsets.
Shoring up for Success
Bringing your people on board is only the first step. You’ll want to stay in tune with evolving business needs and performance and be prepared to adjust your mix in response to changes and new demands. Consider these factors as part of your ongoing management of your mix of contingent and full-time labor.
- Collaboration with hiring managers, department heads and executives. Seasonal periods and projects require steady collaboration with hiring managers to ensure that the right mix of contingent workers and FTEs is used for each project or need.
- The role of your talent acquisition team. The talent acquisition team plays a key role in managing a flexible workforce even if you outsource screening, recruiting and/or management of contingent workers.
- Using business intelligence and data. Business intelligence and data can be used to identify gaps in the workforce and to identify evolving needs for contingent workers.
- Internal communications strategy and employer brand initiatives. An effective internal communications strategy can help to ensure that FTEs and contingent workers are aware of the organization’s policies and procedures for managing a flexible workforce. Employer brand initiatives can also help to attract and retain top talent, including contingent workers.
- Valuing contingent workers. It is important to value contingent workers and to engage them optimally in projects and creative thinking. Their knowledge and expertise can often be transferred to your internal employees. But it’s important to treat them as more than a disposable resource. Can you provide them with training and development opportunities? Investing in their growth and skill development helps to improve productivity and morale, and often makes them an asset for future projects or internal opportunities.
- Create a welcoming culture with clear guidelines. Give some thought to making sure contingent workers feel their well-being and success is supported. That includes clarity on expectations. Make sure contingent workers know what is expected of them in terms of their work hours, responsibilities, and deadlines.
The Rewards of Getting It Right
Finding the sweet spot of contingent workers and full-timers offers many benefits. Contingent workers can be a cost-effective way to meet short-term or seasonal needs or to fill in for FTEs on leave. A flexible workforce helps business respond quickly to changes in demand and avoid overstaffing during slow times. Contingent workers often bring specialized skills and expertise needed for projects and bring new ideas and perspectives to the table. And, when used effectively, contingent workers can help improve productivity.
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