Change can be a scary thing. In our modern world we have the ability to effect and control things that would have seemed like science fiction not that long ago, but two things we have yet to figure out how to control are time and change. They happen whether we want them to or not. Whether it be the seasons, our age, technology, or tradition. Look out the closest window from where you’re reading this; it’s happening right now. Most of us fail to notice daily change and even less find the time to think about the big picture. Tasked daily with the duty to fulfill the needs and requirements of our jobs and busy lives outside of work it’s easy to forget to stop and think about change in the context of the big picture. There’s mortgages, kids, education, retirement, and (hopefully) a little vacation and social activity to worry about as well. However, it’s long term and big picture thinking that keeps us motivated, helps us shape and sharpen the daily decisions of our lives, and give us the ability to remain focused even through short term pain or discomfort (See: that fitness plan). Change, both large and small is a healthy and natural part of our human existence. So, as we’ve continually heard that a business is only as good as the people it employs, and corporations are in fact people under the law, then perhaps it’s time to start applying the rules that work for people, to enterprise.

In an interesting piece on Strategic Sourcing, that is, a specific plan of action regarding the procurement and hiring of top talent, Argentus Talent Acquisition poses the question: Who is better to Effect the Toughest Changes in Strategic Sourcing? Your Permanent Team or Third Party Contractors? (Go here for the full article) They deduce that the contractor/consultation model allows for greater opportunity for change within your organization by allowing for a fresh perspective and minimizing the personal and political hurdles that can stop an organization from moving away from the status quo.

If we apply this same line of thinking to the larger context of Contingent Workforce Management, it may be time to ask: When is the last time your enterprise truly thought about the long term goals regarding your Contingent Workers? And are small steps being taken daily to effectively embrace that strategy? As we’ve already discussed, change is happening, the only variable is how we respond to it.

 

Ardent partners are set to release new research later this month that indicates that Contingent Labour is set to rise 30% over the next three years, a figure that they state “Accurately represents the growing reliance on the non-traditional workforce.” If you follow Contingent Labour, deal with mitigating risk on independent contractor compliance, or Talent Management and Procurement, you know the stats already.  It’s very easy to get lost in them. While effective, they can also over complicate the matter at hand. Enterprise at its core needs to innovate, it needs to be adaptable, and it needs skills present to make those first two things achievable. If the big picture is growth and competitiveness in the marketplace, then it’s a major priority to always make sure the base needs of innovation, adaptability, and skills are constantly being met.  Even if the path to get there requires some short term pain or discomfort.  (See: that fitness plan again) More and more, it is Contingent Labour that is being utilized to meet these needs—and while cost savings is usually the most immediate and alluring statistic in moving an Enterprise into this type of model, it can’t be the only thing. Sure, in the short term, it’s easy to be won over by the idea of utilizing IC’s (independent Contractors) to have flexibility in staffing, or save money on taxes and entitlement & benefit programs, but cost savings needs to be looked upon as daily actions of a larger goal, not the entire plan. Or, as we’ve looked at it previously, the small change that sets up the big change.

Long term change, requires long term strategy. If Contingent Labour, is at the core of your business than it’s time to start putting the plans in place to manage it. Whether it be through an Administration or Payrolling Service for your Contingent Workforce, Managed Services, or through Consulting. Not thinking long term about the inevitable change, management, and caliber of your Contingent Workforce may get you through today, but perhaps it’s time to turn that age old interview question on your own Contingent Workforce Management plan. Where do you see it in 5 years? How about 10?

Amidst a flurry of political and social controversy, the Olympic Games are underway, and for the international firms responsible for staffing the Sochi Games, they hope it’s all downhill from here.

Sochi’s three official staffing Suppliers: Adecco Group, Kelly Services, and Russian firm Exect Business have put three years of work into building the Contingent Workforce for the Olympic Games and the sheer numbers are staggering. The total number of temporary workers for the games may top 150,000 people, and that isn’t counting the roughly 25,000 volunteers that will be lending a hand to make sure the games run smoothly. Among those 150,000 workers 65,000 are skilled workers. These skilled workers were culled from a worldwide recruiting search, offering the opportunity for the organizing committee of the games the chance to hand pick expertise from the very best the world has to offer, as well as the chance for those skilled workers to show off their talents in front of an audience like no other. On paper it’s the perfect trade off, but somewhere along the way things went off the rails. Sochi-2014-Company-Olympics

Vancouver temporary worker Johnnie Balfour’s exposing blog posts and statements about the treatment of himself and his team at the games has been well documented. (Go here to catch up) Even an entire twitter feed, @SochiProblems emerged to document all the issues journalists and athletes alike had encountered upon first arriving in Sochi. Littering news feeds around the world with pictures of brown water and unfinished construction. While these images weren’t exactly the image that the staff and Olympic Committee wished to have us see, the big picture moment of truth for the staffing agencies of the games going forward may not be boiled down to pictures or politics. It may boil down to the larger issues of transparency and control.

For those in the business of the Contingent Workforce this is an issue of risk debated and managed daily, as the decision to either outsource or direct source (hire from within) is weighted against the factors of cost, availability of resources (skills), and time. As the world’s eyes turn to Sochi for the games, administrative/payroll miscues and a lack of communication is not the way to put our (those in the contingent workforce solutions business) best foot forward. In this case, while a pool of extremely talented and eager workers were recruited and gathered for the games, it seems as though when they got there, the communication regarding their income was (at least according to Balfour) left open to interpretation . There is nothing that will turn an IC (independent Contractor) off faster than the notion that they’re not getting paid, and in Balfour’s case, seemed to be the last straw.

As an Employer and a Business you only get one chance to make a first impression with your Contingent Workforce and Independent Contractors. Making sure your T’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted is an absolute must in an industry where word travels fast.  If your goal is to recruit and retain top talent, miscues are simply unacceptable. In the case of Balfour, the simple and affordable option of an IC Compliance and Payroll service could have been made available to figure out payment options and schedules before he even left for Sochi, and in the process, saved the staffing agencies responsible for 150,000 workers the potential firestorm of being made to look as a willing participant in the headache inducing and livelihood threatening payroll practices of the Sochi Games.

There is truly no replacement for transparency and efficiency in this business and the sheer size and publicity of this only goes to remind us that even a small administrative miscue or oversight can become a giant problem.    

If all goes according to plan when the games close on February 23rd, viewers will hopefully be inundated with images of the athletes’ fists in triumph, their tears in defeat, and memorable moments of sportsmanship and diplomacy. Not pictures of brown water, unfinished construction, and the supposed mismanagement of temporary workers. If the stumbles in the weeks leading up to the event are any indication, the staffing agencies may be the ones in the front row cheering the loudest for the athletes to steal back the spotlight.

Jeff Nugent, Managing Director of Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS), answers: What is Direct Sourcing? How does Direct Sourcing benefit organizations?

After a rather flat bill rate for Contingent Workers in 2013, analysts are predicting a sharp rise in the latter half of 2014. According to Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, here are the positions that will see the sharpest rise in salary in 2014

money 1. Mobile applications developer: Experienced mobile applications developers can expect to see the largest increase, 7.8 percent, in starting compensation of any tech position listed in this year’s Salary Guide, with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $144,000.
2. Business intelligence analyst: Skilled business intelligence analysts can anticipate a 7.4 percent boost in starting compensation in 2014, with salaries ranging from $101,250 to $142,250.
3. Information systems security manager: Information systems security managers who can assess and re-mediate vulnerabilities, threats and intrusions are in demand, and are projected to see a 6.8 percent bump in base compensation this year, with average starting salaries between $115,250 and $160,000.
4. User experience designer: User experience designers can expect to see average starting salaries between $78,000 and $120,000, up 7.5 percent from 2013.
5. Mobile designer: Skilled mobile designers can anticipate average starting salaries to increase 6.3 percent in 2014, to the range of $66,000 to $103,000.
6. User experience specialist: User experience specialists can expect to receive base compensation in the range of $79,000 to $118,000, a gain of 5.9 percent over last year.

 

*Source-SIA (Staffing Industry Analysts)

Are you a Vente Soya Latte? How about just a little sugar? Or perhaps you’re a pumpkin flavored specialty coffee type of person? That notion in and of itself when ordering a coffee isn’t ground-breaking (or even news for that matter), but unless you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a goodwill parade chances are you are the only one that really knows how to order your caffeinated beverage of choice. You probably don’t even think about it. BUT, if next time you walked into your favorite establishment they took down the menu, hid the flavor syrups, blanketed the baked goods trays, and just put a small number of choices in front of you chances are this may raise some concerns.  So, the question then is this. When ordering contract talent why would you limit yourself by putting the essential lifeline of an organization, i.e. the attracting and hiring of top talent, in the hands of external firms who you may have never met you and possibly never even set foot inside the doors of your organization?

It’s probably not something you’ve ever even stopped to think about, but in a way this question is quite perplexing. We all inherently know the needs of projects in the workplace. You may not have “recruiting” expertise yourself, but chances are you do understand the requirements of the problem at hand. You know the skills and background of those that are needed on the team and above all, you know the attitude and personality of team members you want to work with. Now, this is not to say that external staffing agencies don’t offer services that can be effective but its perplexing and very limiting to only use staffing firms as your sole option to find resources without checking to see if you or your company can find talent through its own network of referrals, quick posts to a career sites on the internet or social media networks like LinkedIn.  Arguments for using external firms to attract and recruit top talent often include time savings, lack of a recruitment expertise at your location, or the even the old adage that “we have always done it this way”.  Each of these reasons may prove to be legitimate, but with the contingent workforce continuing to grow as a percentage of the workforce and the large mark ups baked into the rates paid to staffing agencies showing signs of going up, it’s important to understand the alternatives and the respective cost of each resourcing alternative to your organization.

As the need for contract workers rises, the sole reliance on a staffing agency and the lack of control of the process could lead to issues (See the following). 

Facing obstacles to hiring top talent and the need to reduce labor costs, many companies are adapting to a Direct Sourcing model (hiring contract workers through their own efforts without the assistance of a staffing firm). In the past this may have seemed counter-intuitive, but with access to sizable pools of contract talent being provided through referrals, by the internet and social networking sites such as LinkedIn it is now extremely easy to connect with and hire contract resources directly.  To complement the direct sourcing model there is a rise in low mark-up contractor compliance and payroll providers that help reduce the administrative effort in processing contracts, timesheets and invoices while also helping to navigate through the complexity of HR and Tax laws issues that may exist.  With examples of direct sourcing being cited to have increased quality of hire, reduced hiring times (averaging less than 5 days), and saved millions of dollars annually in reduced bill rates, companies may find that taking more control over their hiring options is an effective way to access the right people, at the right time, at the right price.  If nothing else, taking control of the process is certainly something to ponder next time you’re handed that decaf tea by mistake.

 

 

 

Last Tuesday, President Obama delivered his administrations’ most recent message to the people of the United States– and for those who’ve grown accustomed to these things, it was the usual banter and pageantry of goals and aspirations to improve the nation. However, among the policy discussions and rounds of applause was one nugget in particular that is relevant to those of us who follow such things. The impending rise of the minimum wage (at least for federal contracts) and its impact to the issues surrounding worker classification(s) and employee/employer relations. President Obama didn’t directly address the situation, but in an online piece for Forbes, columnist Robert Wood, put the issue on the table. “Did President Obama just make independent contractor v employee issues even bigger? Arguably, yes.”  obama_sotu_dann.photoblog600

Wood does play down the notion that every employer in the country is suddenly looking for loopholes or to reduce labor costs in the face of new legislation such as the minimum wage debate or healthcare, but he cautions both employers and employees to take a hard look at their relationship with one another.

In 2010, Department of Labor Secretary Seth Harris quoted a study that suggested up to 30% of employers misclassify workers, whether by simple oversight, or willful negligence, and the Government Accountability office is also quoted in Harris’ address as stating the IRS is losing billions of dollars in revenue.  Harris goes on to suggest that this type of negligence and oversight is hazardous to the economy, and causes the long term effects of a loss in tax revenue, and public funded programs such as Social Security. Even as recently as two weeks ago, online publication Benefitspro suggested that 2014 would be the year lawmakers and regulators firmly crackdown on misclassification. However, what may be the most glaring statements from both the DOL study, Seth Harris, Benefitspro, and Mr. Wood, is that there will be no compromise in terms of how misclassification is treated by organizations like the IRS or the CRA. In other words, it doesn’t matter how it happened. All that matters is that it happened at all.

So, left with this potential crackdown the natural follow up is what’s next? Since every study and report indicates that contingent workforces are not going anywhere anytime soon,  and in fact, will only continue to grow, 6a00d8345675df69e20167686b88a0970b-400wiIndependent Contractors, Employees, and Employers need to have crucial conversations regarding the nature of their relationship. Contracts alone won’t cut it anymore.  For employers looking to navigate the complex worker compliance labyrinth, there are plenty or resources at their disposal, but what is proving to be true as more and more non-compliance issues are raised on both sides is the need for specialists in this field.  With the intricacies of legalese and the monotony of ever changing legislation, oversights can become easier and more common–but beyond all that it really goes back to a simple concept of clear communication and discussion of needs. What does the employer specifically require? What does the potential employee/contractor require? How will this relationship be supervised? Where can we educate ourselves to make sure our relationship will be compliant with the law? In most cases, the proper classification can be quickly deciphered with just a few simple conversations, and for employers looking to navigate the  complex worker compliance labyrinth, there are plenty or resources at their disposal.

While the reasons and needs of a contingent workforce may differ by the industry, there’s seemingly one thing that everyone with stake in the state of the workforce can all agree on.  The no-nonsense and zero tolerance approach of both lawmakers and regulators looms large on all parties involved in 2014, and taking the proper precautions is paramount in the face of liability enforcement policies, changing legislation, and the increased ability of government agencies to share information.

 

*Contingent Share of Workforce courtesy of the SIA

 

Join Jeff Nugent, Founder and Managing Director of Contingent Workforce Solutions, as he presents a free webinar on the topic of Contingent Workforce 2.0: The Rise of Gen Y.  The webinar will take place on January 30th, 2014 at 11:00 AM-12:00 PM EST and is part of HR.com’s Contract Workforce and Talent Exchange Virtual Conference.

Session Details

Date: January 30, 2014

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST

Price: Free

Session Description

Contract and temporary workers are the fastest growing segment of the workforce. Although economic uncertainty has played a part in the growth of this segment, the trend towards the next generation of worker’s demanding a more flexible lifestyle driven employment relationship has accelerated this fundamental shift in the workforce toward contract and temporary work.

By 2025 Gen Y’s also known as Millenials (20-34) will make up 75% of the workforce, leapfrogging the smaller Gen X (35-49). This dominance of the workforce will be similar to the Baby Boom generation; however, that is where the similarities end. Gen Y is perhaps the most unique generation to hit the workforce requiring organizations to change the way they manage this group of talent.

Although traditional opinions have often viewed contract and temporary work as an unstable and last-resort type of work, today’s next generation of workers are increasingly more interested in flexible work arrangements. As a very self-assured and adaptable generation more and more Gen Y’s are turning to self-employment and consulting assignments vs. traditional full time employment. The freedom to work on their own terms, and the ability to gain a variety of experiences while having the opportunity to earn more and pay less tax has become very attractive to this generation that cherishes their fast-paced, technology driven lifestyle.

Join Jeff Nugent, Managing Director of Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS), as he highlights the fundamental demographic shifts that are transforming the workforce and how the changes in today’s workforce is fuelling the next generation of contingent workers. During his session Jeff will also provide practical advice to employers on how the next generation of talent will be managed, including how to attract and engage Gen Yers in an efficient and compliant manner.

Who Should Participate

  • HR Managers/Directors
  • Talent Acquisition & Procurement professionals
  • Talent Acquisition & Talent Management strategists

What You Will Learn

  • The impact of Generation Y on the growth of the contingent workforce
  • Detailed examples of how Gen Y embraces freelance and project based assignments
  • How employers can attract and retain the next generation of Talent.
  • How to engage with contingent workers to drive cost savings and ensure compliance

 

register

 

 

 

Jobvite recently published a free ebook entitled 33 Essential Social Recruiting Stats, and this eye opening collection of information reveals that employers are already stepping up their efforts to recruit through social media sites because this method is, well, effective.

One interesting statistic that Jobvite published is that 73% of surveyed people between the ages of 18 and 34 found their most recent job through social media.  Jobvite also published that 55% of surveyed companies indicated that they would invest more in social media hiring this year. This means that social media hiring is likely to increase in the future.

Most recruiters already pore over social media sites and the internet to find candidates with relevant skills, and, while many large companies are laggards in adopting social media as part of their employment strategy, they are beginning to see the benefits.

One challenge that employers face is that they do not have the in-house knowledge to effectively use social media for employment purposes. Using a third party can help organizations make the most of internet recruiting, as many of these third parties already use social media for recruiting purposes.

SimplicityVMS is one third party VMS system that integrates with social media sites, making it easier for employers to directly hire their contract and temporary workers through social media.

For more information about SimplictyVMS, or to learn about how your business can benefit from a third party, click here, or contact:

Christina Fabugais
Marketing Manager
Contingent Workforce Solutions Inc.
Direct Phone:  416-642-9077
Toll Free:  1-866-837-8630 x9077
Email:  christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca

Organizations cannot afford to approach their contingent workforce management in an ad-hoc, as-needed manner. They must begin to manage their entire workforce, including the contract and temporary segment, efficiently. A third party can assist organizations to create an effective contingent labour management program that gives visibility into the costs, mitigates risk, and provides a record of the worker’s employment with the organization.

Aberdeen research surveyed companies and divided these organizations into best-in-class, industry average, and laggard categories. The best-in-class category consisted of organizations that were in the top 20% performers. They had 87% compliance to federal/state/regulatory labour and tax policies concerning contingent workers, 4.4 contingent worker quality ranking score, and 21% contingent worker spend savings.[1] These organizations have implemented many best practices that organizations should imitate when using a third party or managing contingent labour internally.

There are various third parties that organizations can use that provide different aspects of a successful contingent labour management program.

  • Independent Contractor Engagement Specialists (ICES) work with organizations to manage independent contractors — including high-rate, project-based SOW (Statement of Work) consultants — by acting as an Agent or Employer of Record (EOR) for IRS purposes. ICES will assess the eligibility of a potential contractor for 1099 status. If they are found ineligible, ICES will hire the worker as their own W-2 employee, allowing him/her to work for the client on subcontract. For those that are eligible, ICES will act as the “Agent of Record,” simplifying the process for their clients.[2]
  • Vendor Management Systems, or VMS, are technology solutions that provide visibility into how many contractors a company is using, for how long, and for what. These technology solutions provide visibility into the cost of the overall contingent labour program. The basic systems handle everything from requisition to off-boarding, including hiring approvals and processing time sheets and invoices.[3]
  • An MSP (Managed Service Provider) is an out­sourced service provider who is responsible for procuring and managing contingent workforce needs according to client requirements. MSPs may or may not offer a Vendor Management System (VMS) of their own but they normally combine a VMS technology offering into the programs they run for clients.[4]

All of these third parties can be used in combination or separately. Aberdeen research has found that although all types of third parties are used by best in class organizations, a VMS was the most commonly employed third party by best in class enterprises.[5] Top performing companies were 33% more likely to employ an MSP program than other companies.[6] Best in class organizations were 60% more likely to employ ICEs than other companies, and ICEs have historically shown to increase contract worker compliance by nearly 80%.[7]

For more information about how your organization can benefit from a third party, and to find out more about VMS, MSP, or ICES, Click here or contact:

Christina Fabugais
Marketing Manager
Contingent Workforce Solutions Inc.
Direct Phone:  416-642-9077
Toll Free:  1-866-837-8630 x9077
Email:  christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca

[1] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

[2] The ROI in Enterprise Contract Talent Management. The Human Capital Institute. Sept 2009

[3] Muson, Howard. Treating Contingent Workers as a Strategic Resource. The Conference Board: Trusted Insights for Business Worldwide. Sept 2010

[4] The ROI in Enterprise Contract Talent Management. The Human Capital Institute. Sept 2009

[5] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

[6] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

[7] Dwyer, Christopher J. Contingent Labour Management: Strategies for managing the complexities of the Contingent Labour Umbrella. Aberdeen Group. June 2010

US News reported that since the end of the recession, 54% of new jobs in the USA have been temp work. This statistic comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also indicated that roughly one in every 50 Americans held a temporary or contingent position as of the end of October.

While you may think that these trends are reflective of the uncertain economy, and that employers are hiring temporary labour because they are unsure that they will have the resources to hire full time staff, you may not be seeing the whole picture. The uncertainty in the economy is certainly driving employers to hire temporary or contract workers; however many employers are beginning to see that their contingent workforce allows them to be agile in the marketplace. They can hire highly skilled workers for specific projects, and when the project is over, they are not forced to find other tasks and roles for these individuals. US News reported that a survey issued by the consulting firm McKinsey 58% of employers said that they plan to hire more “part-time, contract, and temporary workers” over the next five years.

Labour market experts are also saying that a fundamental shift is taking place in the workforce, as temporary and contract workers can now be found across all industries and job functions. Before, temporary and contract labour was primarily limited to manufacturing, construction, clerical and other relatively low paid job functions. However, now contract workers can be found in Information Technology, Engineering, Accounting, Health Care and many other industries.

People are turning to contract work for various reasons. Some people have been laid off, and find that temporary and contract work is the best way to gain income while searching for full time work, and many are finding that contract work often leads to full time positions at those companies. Many find that they prefer the freedom and flexibility of contract work. They are able to choose when and how much they work, and they are able to be their own boss. Still others have found that they would like to work after retirement; however they want to be able to choose their own projects and how much they work. Contract work provides the perfect balance for those looking to work after retirement.

Employers that traditionally had 100% full time core workforce are now looking to migrate to an 80% full time, 20% contingent core workforce. The 20% are usually perpetual contractors, with no expectation to move these people back to full time. This gives employers the flexibility to adjust to changing business demands. However, employers need to be wary of the legal and tax risks that come with employing contract workers, especially on a long-term basis. The laws around contingent workers are complex, and many organizations do not have the necessary resources or competencies to manage these workers in house. For that reason, many employers are also using an MSP provider in order to mitigate risk and save money.

For more information about how your organization can employ contract workers and benefit from an MSP, click here or contact:

Christina Fabugais
Marketing Manager
Contingent Workforce Solutions Inc.
Direct Phone:  416-642-9077
Toll Free:  1-866-837-8630 x9077
Email:  christina.fabugais@cwsolutions.ca