Talent and Technology: Where is the Contingent Workforce Headed in 2017? | DCR Workforce Blog

Talent and Technology: Where is the Contingent Workforce Headed in 2017?

Ten, even five, years ago, most business executives would not dare dream that we would be living in a world in which 38% of the average organization’s total workforce is considered contract, contingent or non-employee in some manner. However, the workforce landscape evolves and – in an age fueled by the “gig economy” – the old principles of traditional contingent workforce management will no longer serve businesses in 2017.

With every passing year, the very notion of the non-employee workforce seems to progress into new and exciting territory. As stated the 2016-2017 State of Contingent Workforce Management research study: “If 2015 was the tipping point for contingent workforce’s growth and evolution, 2016 is the year when the ‘gig economy’ propelled it to new and fascinating heights.”

There are a variety of aspects fueling the rampant growth and evolution of this industry including:

  • A desire for organizations to find and engage talent in an on-demand and real-time manner.
  • The mantra of finding the best-fit, top-tier talent…no matter the source.
  • The consistent rate of innovation occurring in the industry, from the continued progression of Vendor Management System (VMS) technology to the permeation of online talent platforms and mobile applications.
  • The flexibility of freelancing that talented professionals now crave.

Just because 2016 has ended doesn’t mean that 2017 will be any less…well…exciting. In fact, the non-employee workforce is headed for yet another year of continued progression from talent, technology and economic fronts.

With a new year comes the standard question: “How do I prepare?”

I believe that the four aspects below will help businesses better manage their contingent workforce in 2017:

  1. Enact transformational thinking in the executive suite by embracing the gig economy and alternative talent sources. In 2017, it’s the talent that matters, not from where it’s engaged.
  2. Dig deeper into core contingent workforce technology by leveraging next-gen capabilities and functionality, such as gamification and analytics.
  3. Understand that the concept of the “future of work” transcends talent. All businesses should strive toward a future that embraces innovative workspaces, on-demand talent engagement and mobile work optimization.
  4. Strive for contingent workforce management programs that blend new concepts into traditional principles. Procurement and HR collaboration should be the standard, while aspects such as artificial intelligence and cognitive reporting should be on the radar for the future of the program.

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.
Christopher J. Dwyer is a Research Director at Ardent Partners, a Boston-based supply management research and advisory firm. He is considered a thought leader in the contingent workforce management industry with recognition from HRO Today as an “Analyst and Advisor Superstar” in 2013, 2014, and 2015, as well as from Supply and Demand Chain Executive Magazine (named as a “Pro to Know” in 2013). He is a premier thought leader in this industry, authoring hundreds of research studies and evangelizing the evolution of the non-employee workforce, its technology platforms, and the concept of the “future of work.” He welcomes your comments at cdwyer@ardentpartners.com, on LinkedIn or Twitter (@CJD_Ardent). Visit www.cporising.com to read more of his research.