Many contingent workforce programs are at a stage where the managed service provider (MSP) successfully delivers against stated requirements. But programs have to continue to evolve or CW professionals could find themselves irrelevant, warned Bryan Peña, VP of contingent workforce strategies and research at Staffing Industry Analysts, in the kickoff keynote for the CWS Summit Europe conference this week in Amsterdam.

“Don’t let MSP success be the end of your innovation,” Peña said.

Staffing buyers have to deal with a complex landscape. Contingent work globally is a £2.37 trillion market. However, many jobs are in danger of being digitized. And temporary workers and consultants represent a growing share of the total workforce that is rapidly increasing and accommodating different worker classifications.

At the same time, 51% of large staffing buyers plan to increase the size of their contingent workforces in the next three to five years, Peña told the audience of contingent workforce managers.

Challenges also abound, and they include an aging workforce, lack of skills in the market and cost control. Adding to the complexity are the emergence of total talent management and freelancer management systems.

But procurement professionals need to go beyond cost savings and be recognized as the industry source for all things labor, Peña said. Problems notwithstanding, the contingent workforce needs to be seen as a strategic competitive advantage.

“We have to transition from the MSP to total talent management,” he said. That is the new frontier. This will give the buyer a seat at the table.

Click image to enlarge.


Peña outlined 10 ways to be strategic and get a seat at the table:

  • Develop acute organizational IQ
  • Drive transformational organizational change
  • Deliver organizational value beyond price reductions and process efficiency
  • Become THE recognized source for market information
  • Develop an eye for identifying risk in advance
  • Design and organize for high performance
    • Surround yourself with “A” players
  • Engage stakeholders where they live
    • Seek “discretionary effort” don’t be happy with “malicious compliance”
  • Develop strategy at the enterprise level and execute
    • Ideate, identify, communicate, execute, maintain
  • Be relevant and visible outside your four walls
  • Pursue innovation and demand same
    • “Best practices” are for the other guys

The conference continued today at the Hotel Okura in Amsterdam.