Contingent Work: Lifetime Engagement Vs. Lifetime Employment | DCR Workforce Blog

Contingent Work: Lifetime Engagement Vs. Lifetime Employment

No more Lifetime Employment!

Whether you look upon it with equanimity or complete dismay, the fact still remains the same! Today, no one takes a job expecting to keep it for life. Full-time “permanent” employment is giving way to contingent work, with corresponding changes in talent acquisition and management strategies. Companies do not court employees expecting or promising a life-long relationship any more, and almost 40% of all workers in the US are operating on an independent or part-time basis. Many of them are also working remotely or virtually.

As with all change, this shift in talent management methods is met with resistance from some quarters, which are concerned about the lack of:

  • Benefits for contingent workers, which includes health insurance
  • Job security, resulting in no income  between projects
  • Training
  • Real engagement and acceptance at the workplace
  • Stability for the worker as well as the firm, which has few permanent workers

Does this state of affairs indicate, as some people have portrayed, an ‘anti-worker’ ideology? Or, is it just a temporary result of the bleak scenario of economic uncertainties, recessionary pressures and lack of employment? Does temp work mean only insecurity, low wages and uncertainty while the employer enjoys lower costs and better business results? Does the temp industry represent hard-hearted callousness and a chauvinistic approach to workers?

The growing utilization of temporary workforces is not about the so-called ‘expendable employee’ and the drivers behind the growth in temporary workers cannot be attributed to one factor. Further, the notion that, all staffing companies and employers offer low pay and bad working conditions to workers seems to have no basis in fact.

Lifetime engagement is the New Order

Many people accommodate the demands on their personal time by taking on temporary assignments.  According to Staffing Industry Analysts, about 25% of temps would rather not have permanent employment because they love the flexibility, variety, access to new skills and exposure to new cultures offered by each new assignment.

Savvy employees today are investing in their entire workforce, including contingent workers, by using talent management methods like:

  • Providing opportunities to increase their skills
  • Strategizing to attract the best and improve their productivity
  • Soliciting feedback regarding working conditions
  • Encouraging the employers of record (often staffing agencies) to offer benefits, paid holidays, recognition programs and other activities that increase worker loyalty and commitment
  • Offering interesting assignments and rehire opportunities
  • Maintaining contact with them as alumni

Contingent work today is not an instrument of oppression wielded by ruthless employers. Contingent work is about achieving flexibility in costs and work schedules for employers while giving workers greater control over their careers.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.