Procuring Contingent Workers in an Age of Automation | DCR Workforce Blog

Procuring Contingent Workers in an Age of Automation

Workplace automation is advancing inexorably. The increased efficiency and productivity offered by automation and artificial intelligence make them inevitable choices for companies going forward. Jobs may grow in numbers but the million-dollar question which has no real answer at the moment is: Will there be enough qualified people to fill them?

There are many variables. For example, if there’s an increased interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the availability of education which meets the industry’s skill requirements, what are the outcomes? Better education and higher pay seem like desirable ends, but they also require a great deal of preparation and hard work all around.

Among other things, these developments are increasing the need for workers whose skills cannot be matched by machines any time soon. Companies are also witnessing additional growth thanks to the increase in productivity, which is, in turn, driving their hiring needs higher. Automation is actually driving the need for more marketing and sales personnel as well as IT and technical skills which help them manage the machines. Thus we have workers with the right skills turning into freelancers and independent contractors to work many different jobs across locations and companies.

The advent of automation bodes well for companies as their productivity is set to rise higher, and it’s also promising for skilled workers who get paid for running or fixing the machines, while jobs where the workers handled repetitive tasks will likely vanish. Converting existing workers into new roles requiring different sets of skills will require an employer to invest time and money to impart the enhanced skills and help with the transition.

The time has come for companies to include contingent workers in their talent management strategy, and to enjoy the benefits of having access to flexible talent who prefers short-term assignments.

As we transition to the changed workplaces, let’s create processes that help us stay ahead of the game:

  • Gather market information on business issues and imperatives in contingent labor programs and communicate with all the functions (Procurement, IT, HR, Operations, etc.) on items relevant to them.
  • Distribute your procurement efforts between full-time employees (FTEs), contingent workers and independent contractors to use a blended workforce that provides an optimal solution to your talent requirements.
  • Understand contract work to create a role requirement which combines work expectations with flexibility in execution, understand the true cost of a contingent worker against their hourly and billable rates, and manage them without incurring any compliance risk.
  • Analyze the supply chain underlying the talent procurement efforts, evaluate the vendors and seek ways to improve the program and get more value out of it while mitigating risk. Use technology in your efforts to achieve this, such as a Vendor Management System. When picking a suitable VMS to meet your needs, look for one that offers the features best suited to your needs and one that is cleverly designed to make your job easier in managing your contingent work program.
  • Use data-driven intelligence to measure and improve your talent acquisition efforts using actionable insights and predictive tools.

Companies who avoid using a blended workforce are set to face serious disadvantages as workforce trends show that automation progresses quickly and skilled talent will become harder to get. By all accounts, the future lies in increased automation and a more flexible, extended workforce that helps you avoid having open positions unfilled over long periods of time.

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.