Contingent workforce management strategy

January 22, 2024

This article was originally published on

6 Strategies for Managing Your Contingent Workforce Successfully

Contingent workers have become a key ingredient for success across industries. In fact, the Ceridian 2023 Executive Survey found that 80% of organizations are currently using contingent workers. Among them, 65% indicated plans to boost their dependence on these workers moving forward.

Whether scaling operations, seeking flexibility, or optimizing resources, we’re exploring the top strategies to streamline your staffing processes and drive business results.

The challenges of leveraging flexible labor effectively

The rise of flexible labor can be attributed to multiple drivers, from a growing demand for specialized skills and cost-effectiveness to boosted organizational scalability and access to a talent pool beyond traditional geographic limitations. Despite the considerable rise in contingent workforces, managers still face challenges in leveraging this labor force.

Hurdles that are common with optimized contingent workforce management include:

  • Finding workers with specific skills, on demand: Organizational leaders often struggle to source specialized talent for projects that require precise expertise; almost half of teams cite difficulties in this regard.
  • Establishing effective communication: While communication across teams is imperative, setting up robust communication channels with temporary staff can prove challenging, due to differences in their schedules and location.
  • Integrating contingent labor into existing workforces: Varying work styles and diverse cultural approaches make it challenging to blend contingent workers with full-time staff. Ceridian’s survey indicates that up to 70% of organizations struggle with integrating flexible talent with their current workforce.
  • Overseeing and evaluating performance: Evaluating contingent talent performance involves monitoring various skill sets and project scopes within flexible schedules and a diverse labor pool. This can be a complex task for managers.
  • Complying with regulations and legal requirements: Using flexible labor introduces more intricate regulations for companies to navigate, and this adds complexity and potential risk.

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6 strategies for more effective contingent workforce management

Let’s take a closer look at key management approaches that can enhance efficiency and engagement:

1. Set clear expectations and establish robust communication channels

Fostering a culture of open dialogue, developing comprehensive onboarding materials, and establishing transparent performance metrics are just a few ways you can ensure flexible talent knows what’s expected of them — and improve outcomes. Research indicates that businesses employing efficient internal communication tools are 3.5 times more likely to see better results.

2. Simplify onboarding processes for contingent labor

Consider creating user-friendly onboarding modules, providing comprehensive resources, and assigning mentors to reduce talent’s time to value. Studies reveal that with effective onboarding processes in place, you can boost new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. By using digital platforms to make an employee’s journey more efficient, you enhance the overall experience for contingent workers.

3. Foster a sense of belonging

Cultivating a feeling of inclusion can lead to greater job satisfaction and performance. Within an organization, this might include offering team-building activities, hosting company-wide events, or providing access to training and development. Recognizing achievements and contributions also adds to a positive sense of belonging.

4. Create avenues for performance recognition and constructive feedback

Performance recognition and constructive feedback are the cornerstones of motivation and continuous improvement, but they can get overlooked with contingent talent. Since regular feedback sessions contribute to professional growth, you can:

  • Institute a structured feedback system based on specified metrics.
  • Publicly recognize the achievements of temporary staff.
  • Provide developmental opportunities based on individual performance.
  • Create a positive and supportive environment overall.

5. Maintain compliance with relevant regulations

Stay on top of ever-evolving compliance requirements by implementing comprehensive training programs and employing digital tools for tracking compliance. Doing so not only reduces your legal risks but also instills confidence in contingent workers — firmly situating your company as a secure and ethical employer.

6. Embrace supportive technology and leverage external resources 

Adopting cutting-edge solutions and working with trusted partners, such as Employbridge, are highly effective strategies to streamline workforce management processes. Equipped with comprehensive technology and industry insight, you can feel confident in maintaining a productive workforce.

The advantages of optimized contingent labor

Leveling up your contingent workforce management procedures can lead to benefits such as:

  • Enhanced efficiency through streamlined processes and greater productivity.
  • Cost savings as teams optimize resource allocation and reduce unnecessary expenses.
  • Adherence to applicable regulations, which can help mitigate long-term legal risks.
  • Increased organizational flexibility, with the structures in place to adapt to changing business demands as they come.
  • Higher morale across the organization as a result of improved systems for recognition and feedback.
  • Greater contingent worker retention, along with a boosted sense of belonging.
  • More strategic decision-making when equipped with data-driven insights.
  • Better payroll management, ensuring the accurate and timely compensation of workers.