In the first part of this series, I discussed three ideas you can explore as you focus on optimizing your CW program in 2023. Here are three more to help you make the most of your program.

Look for untapped talent. The year is starting off with a continued theme of talent demand. Businesses want the best talent and skills, which puts pressure on our contingent workforce programs to deliver. This will require program managers not just to optimize the existing sourcing channels but also to open new pipelines of talent. While supplier diversity initiatives would have been the main focus to address this in the past, programs are realizing the diverse companies don’t always deliver the talent diversity they are looking for. The demand for candidate/resource diversity info is beginning to inform programs looking to get better at building diversity across their workforce as well as their vendor partners.

Recognizing the underrepresented/underemployed populations in your workforce is the first step to building initiatives to diversifying. This goes beyond basic race, religion and ethnicity affirmative action planning and often requires a rethinking of sourcing processes to screen in these populations instead of screening them out. This could open up talent pools of people that tend to be overlooked or underutilized, like disabled individuals or parents. How we engage these individuals makes a difference. While we often try to put all talent through the same core channels, engaging untapped talent requires us to reevaluate the type of workers we consider and build sourcing channels that best accommodate the uniqueness of the workers or their preferences to engage. This means finally getting comfortable with independent contractors as well.

Embrace total talent. While it still feels like a partially underbaked solution, this concept is finally starting to get traction. As programs think more about sourcing channel optimization/diversification and deploy programs like direct sourcing, we are slowly evolving towards this model. The last couple years have put a spotlight on the composure of our workforce and given contingent workforce programs a chance to shine. CW programs have had a real opportunity to show their value during uncertain times, and many succeeded in this initiative. Now it’s time to leverage that success and show your business the strategic potential of a next-generation program. This often means not just optimizing the contingent channels but evaluating how they are utilized as part of a total workforce strategy.

With most organizations historically focusing their strategy on full-time hiring programs, they will rely on savvy CW program managers to provide the insight on how to best weave the contingent workforce into the strategy. With so many complexities in a contingent workforce program, you may find yourself starting and driving conversations around total talent, which will require you to think not just about how your program has been configured in the past but how it will need to be configured to thrive in a total talent model.

Be proactive. Many of us know how easy it is to make a full-time job out of the tactical components of managing a program. Sometimes we get bogged down with maintaining our programs and lose focus on the opportunities to evolve and innovate. Take time to step away from the day-to-day operations and build a strategy. Be prepared to pivot and drive proactive change by recognizing opportunities before they are burning problems.

While this guide may seem overwhelming to tackle in one sitting, remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one footstep. Don’t be afraid to step up to challenging conversations and recognize how valuable your skill set has become. With change brewing, you can be well positioned to thrive in 2023 by being a change advocate and looking for ways to better the talent environment for your organization.