For more than a decade, VMS solution providers have enabled buyers to track nonemployees who have building and systems access but are not under the management of the existing contingent workforce program. This “resource tracking” functionality typically captures limited data such as start date, proposed end date, name, location and supplier. Typically, accounting transactions like time-keeping or billings associated with this talent are not included.

This VMS functionality can provide positive results such as visibility to workers who are supporting the buyer organization but are not part of the existing staff augmentation or SOW program management policies within the contingent labor program.

But here’s the thing. Resource tracking can be turned on when you implement a VMS. And there are companies that do. Or you can take care of your staff augmentation activity first before turning to the other categories of your nonemployee workforce.

Resource tracking comes with its unique challenges. Trying to bring all your nonemployees within the scope of a program can be daunting. I have heard CW program managers talk about how they went from tracking 150 staff augmentation workers to more than 3,000 across different service categories, many of whom were misclassified. So, look before you leap. Here’s what you can do to prepare.

Identify the Gaps
A good place to start is by synchronizing systems and leveraging key functional area support — such as accounts payable, legal, HR, and security/facilities management teams. These functional areas may not have the same degree of familiarity with contingent labor and the extent to which the company uses it or have the bandwidth to support a project like this fully, but they have access to vital data. For example, a common strategy to identify nonemployee workers is to look at existing badging/security solutions to identify workers who have active access and are not managed by the contingent workforce program.

Procuring this information can be a tedious, manual process for your security team, so a good recommendation is to include that team and others involved in the project in advance of the launch.  Another way to find these hidden workers is to locate and find invoices coming straight from suppliers to accounts payable. Providing a specific policy and action plan when invoices are received from these suppliers will help uncover and add resource workers to your new tool.

Account for Growth
We have spoken with several contingent workforce program managers who have successfully implemented resource tracking applications/modules and have experienced exponential, program activity volume growth in a short period of time. Because of the visibility into hidden staff aug that resource tracking provides, some programs have seen their staff augmentation headcount double within 18 months.

Although doubling the program is not probable, accounting for the possibility is important. Can your program scale, how will you scale and what authority plus change management investments are required to make it happen? For those programs that have implemented SOW, the implementation and execution of resource tracking can also grow and increase SOW program management activity. Again, prepare for the opportunity of uncovering more workers, suppliers and deliverables from implementing resource tracking visibility.

Formulate a Strategy
Be prepared for different eventualities. In the event your resource tracking solution uncovers large numbers of hidden/misclassified workers, how do you communicate these results to your senior leadership? Preparing the possibilities will help provide the answer. To help prevent knee-jerk reactions, be patient and provide a strong strategy specific to change management for this implementation.

Contingent workforce programs and the associated stakeholders should have the authority to absorb and control the growth in the event it occurs. One of the worst things that can happen is growing so quickly that the end user experience suffers; nothing is more damaging to a program than unhappy clients/stakeholders. Don’t sacrifice quality within your program for additional program volume and spend.

As you can see, there are some wonderful possibilities when implementing resource tracking visibility but there are also potential hurdles which should be considered prior to launching a comprehensive resource tracking tool. The view may be frightening if you are not prepared for the growth in CW program activity.