“Ultimately, managing a CW program is about coordinating a company’s contingent workforce and associated staffing partners for the betterment of the company’s operations,” Stephen Clancy, SIA’s senior director of contingent workforce strategies, knowledge and research, wrote in a CWS 3.0 article back in 2015. And while much has changed over the past several years, this statement still rings true.

Everyone in the organization, from the top down, is interested in the “betterment of the company” — especially the executives sitting in the C-suite. However, contingent workforce program managers often struggle to get their firms’ top execs to buy-in to their programs.

So what can be done to bring them into the fold? A good starting point is examining the language and touch points used to garner executives’ attention.

QECR Framework

The SIA QECR Performance Framework for CW program performance management, which focuses on key dimensions that define a program’s overall performance: Quality, efficiency, cost and risk has been much discussed by professionals in the space. These four words also happen to be top-of-mind for those occupying the C-suite.

Quality and efficiency

Globally, across all regions, CEOs and other C-suite executives rank attracting and retaining top talent as their top internal concern, according to The Conference Board’s C-Suite Challenge 2019 survey. The survey also found that developing the next generation of leaders was the third internal concern for CEOs globally.

This presents an opportunity for contingent workforce program managers to tout their programs and the roles they can play in talent acquisition.

“As global competition increases while the pool of available workers decreases, it comes as no surprise that executives cited talent as a top issue in 2019 that’s keeping them up at night,” said Rebecca Ray, a report author and the executive VP of human capital at The Conference Board. “Moreover, they think talent shortages will only intensify beyond 2019, which underscores why organizations should constantly reexamine how they’re attracting and retaining their best and brightest.”

The report is based on a survey of over 800 CEOs and over 600 other C-Suite executives, primarily from the United States, Asia, and Europe.

Cost and risk

Evaluating a contingent workforce program based on QECR can provide metrics that reveal the cost savings and/or ROI attributed to the program, leading to more C-level support. However, security and risk garner much more attention and engagement from company leadership than cost alone.

Depending on their roles, executives’ concerns about risk in their contingent worker programs can range from legal compliance, such as co-employment and independent contractor classification, to security concerns such as data privacy, data security and identification security. For marketing and PR execs, a data breach can present a risk to the brand and its public image, which ultimately negatively affect the firm’s bottom line.

Without executive skin in the game, achieving genuine program maturity can remain a distant dream, rather than an achievable objective, according to Peter Reagan, SIA’s senior director, CWS and research. Reagan will lead a panel on the topic at SIA’s CWS Summit North America, held Sept. 9 to Sept. 12 in San Diego. Contingent workforce program peers will share stories of how they have been able to effectively get the attention and sponsorship from the C-Suite to drive and improve the programs’ strategic value to the organization. More information is available online.

In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss what some programs are doing that could not be done without executive input and sponsorship.